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Laser Engraving and How it WorksUpdated 2 years ago

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Printing Categories used for Quadra Products

All the Products in the Quadra App's catalog have different styles of printing. If you would like to see what type of printing will be used on the product you would like to launch, first select the product from the product catalog. Selecting the product will bring you to the product details page. Located under the product name is the print type. Image A-2 shows an example.

All the printing is done automatically for you and there is no way to change print styles on each product, but if you would like to know more about the way your products will be printed we invite you to read our articles regarding the different printing processes. This article will cover Laser Engraving.A-2

What is Laser Engraving?

A laser engraver is a machine that uses a CO2 laser to cut through and etch into materials such as wood and some metals. Depending on the intensity and focus of the laser its beam can cut through materials or simply etch designs into them.

How does Laser Engraving work?

The CO2 laser was invented in 1964 by Kumar Patel and is the most powerful and useful laser that has ever been invented. The laser is made up of a molecular gas that contains many elements, one of which is carbon dioxide, for which the laser was named.

The CO2 laser works by directing a laser at a material, the intense heat of the beam incinerates the materials as the laser comes into contact with them. There are different settings that you can use to change the way the laser will cut. These settings change with every material you decide to use but the principals are the same. For shallow etching the laser is going to be  put on a lower power. The exact power setting used depends on how hard the material you are cutting is. In addition to etching designs, the laser can also cut through the material, this will naturally require a higher power setting to achieve.

The last setting that can be changed is the focus of the beam. The laser is focused by directing the beam through a lens that will narrow and refine the beam to fit the width of the cut you would like. As the beam gets less focused the cut is going to be wider, while the more focused the beam the narrower the cut. These changes are important because many designs have varying amounts of detail. You can see the level of detail that can be attained in image A-3.

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What Materials can be Laser Engraved?

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Cut through:

  • wood
  • paper
  • cork
  • some kinds of plastics
  • metal

Engraving:

  • wood
  • cardboard
  • aluminum
  • stainless steel
  • plastic
  • marble
  • stone
  • tile
  • glass
  • etc.


Raster vs Vector Engraving

There are two different ways that the laser engraver will engrave your design into the material. The first is raster engraving. Raster engraving means that the engraver will start in the top left corner of the material and start engraving the design one row at a time similar to the way a jet printer will print ink on a paper. Raster engraving takes longer than vector engraving but the difference is relatively minimal. If you would like to see an example of a raster engraved design check out the first video down below.

The second etching method is vector engraving. Vector designs are based on shape instead of location. Vector engraving uses geometry to cut out first one shape and then the next until the design is completed. This means that, instead of engraving the design from top to bottom one line at a time, the vector engraving style will engrave one shape at a time. If you would like to see an example of a vector engraved design check out the second video down below.




If you would like to see laser engraving in action check out these videos!

This is an example of raster engraving:



This is an example of vector engraving:






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