Laser engraving uses a high-energy laser to remove layers of material and create permanent marks on the workpiece surface. In general, Atomstack deep laser engraving lasts the entire life of the workpiece, while shallow laser engraving has a relatively short life and is prone to scratches, especially in abrasive conditions.
Laser engraving is an exciting way to add value to an item by engraving intricate designs or even photographs.
These engravings are permanent because they won’t rub off when washed underwater and rubbed with a soft fabric.
However, the durability of the engraving depends on the depth of the engraving and the type of material on which it was engraved.
Based on engraving depth
Engraving depth is the amount of material removed by the laser to produce the desired design or pattern.
As the engraving depth increases, so does the chance that the engraving will last.
Therefore, laser engraving lasts longer than laser etching and laser marking.
Increasing the engraving depth beyond a certain limit will make the workpiece weak and prone to breakage.
Generally, the maximum engraving depth that does not affect the structural integrity of the workpiece is about 1/8 of the thickness of the workpiece.
However, the maximum engraving depth may vary depending on the strength of the material.
In addition to engraving depth, the material used for engraving also plays a vital role in producing a lasting engraving.
Engravings made on hard materials like titanium and stone have a higher chance of lasting longer than engravings on soft materials like gold and paper.
Materials with high strength and scratch resistance can withstand extreme conditions without major damage to the engraving.
Environmental conditions are one of the most critical factors in determining whether an engraving will last.
Items subjected to high friction and wear conditions are less likely to have a lasting engraving effect.
Gold rings have similar engravings on the outer and inner surfaces.
The engraving on the inner surface of the ring may last longer than the outer surface because the inner surface is subject to relatively less wear conditions.
Therefore, for engraving subjected to harsh conditions, it is recommended to perform deep engraving on tough materials that can withstand abrasive conditions and prevent the engraving from being damaged.
Things to Consider When Making Long-lasting Engravings
Regardless of material type, engraving depth and environmental conditions, there are certain things to keep in mind to increase the life of your engraving.
Depending on the type of material, different lasers have different engraving capabilities.
CO2 lasers are best for engraving non-metals such as wood, plastic, stone, fabric, etc.
Fiber lasers, on the other hand, produce the best results when engraving metal surfaces.
While high power CO2 lasers can be used to cut metal, they are not recommended for engraving metal.
On the other hand, powerful diode lasers such as the xTool D1 Pro can be used for laser engraving on various materials such as paper, wood, plastic, metal, etc.
Choosing the right laser will result in a good engraving that lasts a long time.
Optimum parameters for engraving ensure dark engravings with the best quality and surface finish.
However, the optimal sculpting parameters for one material may not produce the desired output on other materials.
For example, setting the optimal laser parameters for laser engraving denim and then using the same parameters to engrave a cotton t-shirt can produce dark engravings, but not for long.
T-shirts have finer fibers than denim and require less laser power.
Engraving T-shirts with high laser power produces dark engravings, but weakens the fibers, causing the engraving to tear when subjected to tension.
Therefore, it is always recommended to do a trial run and find the best parameters for the material before engraving the actual workpiece.
Proper maintenance of the optics of a laser engraver ensures quality results.
Dust and debris buildup on the focusing lens can diffuse the laser and produce low-quality engravings even after optimal parameters are set.
This affects the quality by producing a low contrast engraving and reduces the material removal capability of the laser, which affects the durability of the engraving.
Therefore, it is very important to regularly clean the mirrors and lenses of the laser engraver for the best engraving results.