Top 5 Differences Between Laser Engraving, Etching, and Marking (lisa)

Top 5 Differences Between Laser Engraving, Etching, and Marking (lisa)

Laser marking

Effect on Materials

Understanding how the laser process works and what effect lasers have on your chosen materials based on the methodology you use is the first step to seeing the differences between laser engraving, etching and marking. Therefor Each of these processes has a unique effect on the material to .

And engraving makes a cone-shaped indentation in the surface of the material. etching produces a high contrast marking on the surface of the material by vaporizing just the surface layer of the material. marking creates high-contrast markings without disrupting the material itself using a method called discoloration.

Cut Depth

Under a microscope, it’s easy to distinguish between laser engraving, laser marking and laser etching work. Each of these laser methodologies correlates with a different range of cut depths for the laser.

Laser engraving removes more material and makes deeper cuts than both laser etching and laser marking. The cone-shaped indentations created in the laser engraving process can achieve deep engraving by passing the laser over the same areas several times. The maximum engraving depth depends on the chosen material, as laser engraving machines have a much easier time cutting through a soft material like graphite versus a metal like stainless steel. The maximum engraving depth for metals is typically around 0.020″, while for softer materials it could be around 0.125″ or 1/8 of an inch.

Laser etching makes much shallower cuts in the material, as the laser simply vaporizes the surface layer of the material. The total depth of laser etchings is typically no more than 0.001″ or one thousandth of an inch, and the material at the surface may melts and expands which leaves a raised etching rather than an indentation. Laser marking heats the material and causes the oxidation of sub-surface material which changes the color of the material and leaves a marking. Because it’s leaving the surface intact, so the cut depth is essentially zero.

Laser Power

How do markers and engravers achieve different cut depths and effects using the same laser machines? Laser engraving machines are controlled by special software that allows the users to change the laser settings. Everything from the laser’s speed of movement to the number of passes the laser makes over the chosen material can be customized. To switch between laser engraving, etching and marking, laser experts change the power setting on the laser.

Laser engraving makes the deepest cut and actually vaporizes the material in its way. Effectively laser engraving requires the use of a high-heat laser, and engravers will often dial their laser’s power up to the maximum setting to get the best results, especially when using a robust material like anodized aluminum or stainless steel.

Laser etching also uses high heat to melt the surface of the material, producing a slightly raised etching pattern of your choosing.

Laser marking is achieved by moving a low-powered laser beam slowly across the surface of the material, discoloring the surface of the material and leaving the chosen mark. A low-powered laser generates just enough heat to oxidize the material under the surface and turn it black, creating distinct, high-contrast markings that are easy to identify.


Whether you’re creating an art project for sale or applying a legally required traceability marking to a jet propeller or a life-saving medical device, chances are that you want your laser markings to last for a long time. Frankly that’s just one of the reasons why it’s important to choose a laser marking methodology that matches your intended purpose.

Laser engraving is an ideal method for marking parts and items. If etch a design into some jewelry, it will fade quickly if the piece is touched often because the depth is just 0.001 inches. Laser engraving’s deeper cuts are ideal for creating long-lasting markings on a variety of materials. Therefore we don’t suggest it for safety-critical parts, as the engraving process can damage or structurally compromise the engraved part.

In one word,Laser etched markings are much less durable and mostly appropriate for surfaces.

Which is the most common methodology for making traceability markings on medical devices or aerospace parts. Because the laser marking process simply discolors the surface of the material without melting or vaporizing any of the material.However It preserves the safety and integrity of the parts completely and creates long-lasting, high-contrast markings.


Laser engraving, etching, and marking all have a variety of applications on many different materials.

It’s effective on almost any material of your choosing,. Laser etching affects the surface of materials, altering reflectivity and enhancing contract. The best materials to use with laser etching are bare or anodized aluminum, plated metals, stainless steel, polymers and ceramics. Laser marking is used widely throughout industry to create permanent markings without destroying materials. Lato create UID codes, QR codes, bar codes, and logos for a variety of products.


Laser engraving, etching, and laser marking are all common methods for creating permanent markings. Also there are subtle differences between each of these methodologies that makers and manufacturers should be aware of. Ensuring that they choose the best application for their needs as well as.

Laser engraving creates a cone-shaped indentation in the chosen material using a high-powered laser. The cut depth is typically between 0.020″ and 0.125″. But deeper engravings can achieve by passing the laser over the same area several times. Laser engraving is good for parts that experience wear and tear, but not parts that are critical for safety. Overall, It is excellent for personalizing gifts and keepsake items, and suppor to use on a variety of materials.

However, Laser etching creates shallow markings of 0.001″ . By using a high-powered laser to melt the surface layer of the chosen material. Laser etching is best for low-wear applications, as the shallow markings tend to fade easily over time. Because Hard materials like bare, anodized or plate metal surfaces are the best materials for use in laser etching applications.

Laser marking uses a low-powered and slow-moving laser beam to cause oxidation under the material surface.  And discoloring it and creating a high-contrast marking that is visible on the surface. Normally Laser marking is commonly working for marking parts in the automotive and aerospace industries, as well as medical devices. With long-lasting and don’t compromise the surface of the material when suitable.


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