Which Engraving Technique Should You Choose?

Engraving is one way to decorate or customise your glass items, signage and buildings among other hard surfaces. However, the success of your engraving process depends on the engraving methods you use. There are a variety of these methods to choose from so finding the best for your engraving needs will require some extensive evaluation of the techniques. To help you make an informed decision, here are pros and cons of some of the common engraving techniques.

Laser Engraving

Laser engraving involves the use of lasers or laser beams to engrave objects. One advantage of laser engraving is that it does not involve contact with the tools. This eliminates or reduces wear and tear on your items. In addition, the non-contact means the technique leaves very clear marks on your items. Since electricity is used in the process, laser engraving is extremely fast, which makes it cost-effective, especially if your engraver is charging at an hourly rate. Laser engraving also allows for broader application. This technique is applicable to multiple metal as well as non-metal materials. Since laser beams are often computer controlled, there is a high processing efficiency and accuracy with this technique.

Laser engraving has some limitations, though. First, safety shielding is required because the beams used can emit certain radiations. Fire hazards are also common with laser engraving, especially because of the high electric voltages present in the laser electronic systems.

Scratch Engraving

This method of engraving, also known as diamond-drag engraving, involves driving a non-rotating tool with a diamond tip through items. The first advantage of this method is consistency. The width of the stroke is consistent throughout the material being engraved. This creates a visually appealing impression of the engraving. It is also extremely fast. Scratch engraving also produces less noise. Compared to other techniques, scratch engraving is relatively cheap.

However, while it can be used to engrave a variety of objects, the method is often recommended for use on soft metals such as gold, aluminium and silver. In addition, it cannot be used for extremely soft materials such as plastic.

Rotary Engraving

This method involves rotating fluted cutting tools through an object to remove material. Rotary engraving leaves permanent marks. It can also be used to make both two- and three-dimensional engravings. Besides, unlike scratch engraving, it can be used to engrave soft materials such as wood and plastics. Unfortunately, to use this method, you need extra cutting tools, engraving motors and rotary spindles, which can add to the costs.