Laser engraving is so versatile that many different materials that can be used, which is why so many industries rely on this technology for production. There're two lasers used in a wide variety of industries. The most common types work well with poor heat conductors like wood, plastic, or ceramics, while another option is YAG lasers, which are great for metal products. Lasers can work on nearly any material, however, the only drawback is that it cannot engrave color. You'd better use laser engraving in conjunction with other imprint methods. No matter if it's acrylic, glass, metal, or leather, laser engraving can be used on all of them. Let's take a closer look at how this technology is applied to each material:
The plastic material acrylic has many characteristics. It is strong, considerably resistant to scratches as well as stable concerning tolerance and shrinkage. Due to its waterproof properties, it is a great asset in the kitchen or bathrooms. Different industries are already using acrylic, like medical or electronics. This material copes well with laser operations and will deliver a good outcome. There're two distinguished acrylic types: cast acrylic (GS) and extruded acrylic (XT). However, in a laser engraving process, only cast acrylic is recommended, as it produces better results.
Almost every type of glass can be engraved. With this technology, mugs, wine glasses, or bottles, or other items can receive incredible effects. Especially in the wine industry, laser engraving is often used to give the items a more custom look. However, what should be aware of is to use the right glass. That is why it is always helpful to test the type of glass first before the engraving process starts.
Like glass, almost every metal material can be engraved, steel, iron, silver, aluminum, gold, silver are one of the most common ones. While glass engraving is most commonly used for promotional purposes, metal engraving is used for promotional and industrial purposes. Automotive companies work with laser engraving to manufacture certain parts while others engrave barcodes or QR codes onto their parts.
Among plastic, glass and metal, leather is another material that can be laser engraved for a unique and custom look. The following leather materials are most often used: Suede, Alcantra, Natural, Synthetic, and Nubuck. Leather is generally quite hard, which makes laser engraving even more appealing, as it is tricky to create visually appealing designs using other tools.