Etching, Engraving & Cutting

What can you do with a Trotec laser machine?

Published on: 07/18/2018 Author: Suraya Diamond-Coorey

There are so many amazing things you can do with Trotec laser machines. Many people choose laser technology over traditional solutions purely based on their broad system capabilities – they hold so many advantages. Trotec is no exception to this rule. Using the two most common laser types – CO2 and Fiber – you can etch, engrave or cut just about anything!

CO2 Lasers

CO2 lasers can cut and engrave the widest range of materials, including plastics, wood, paper, fabric, acrylic, rubber and cardboard. They can also engrave glass, ceramic, stone and coated materials like anodised aluminium. It works by vaporising the material as it goes, leaving a slight indentation. CO2 lasers do have some issues when it comes to marking or etching materials, like industrial plastic and hard metals. But that’s where the Fiber laser comes in handy…

Engraving Machines Cutting Machines

Fiber Lasers

A Fiber laser basically does all the things that a CO2 laser cannot. It is used for marking and engraving bare metals as well as industrial plastics. They are optimally suited for metal marking methods, like annealing and engraving. They can even create highly-contrasted and quality markings on metals, and with the right settings and skills, can change the colour of stainless steel and anodised aluminium.

Marking Machines More About the Laser Types


What’s the difference between etching, engraving and cutting?

In addition to the wide range of materials you can process with a Trotec laser machine, there are also multiple different ways you can process these materials…

Engraving

Laser engraving is a vaporisation process, where some of the base material is removed with a cone-shaped indentation. The depth of the engraving depends entirely on your laser machine and its available power. Materials that are perfect for engraving include wood, leather, rubber and acrylic, just to name a few. Machines from the Trotec Speedy Series are considered great laser engravers.

Etching / Marking

When laser etching, the cover layer of your material is vaporised, but little-to-no depth is created. Instead, a highly contrasted marking is produced. This process is like cutting, except only the top layer of material is being affected. Laser etching works particularly well on materials that have two or more layers, like coated metals, anodised aluminium and industrial marking plastics. Trotec machines from the SpeedMarker and ProMarker series are best suited for laser etching and marking.

Cutting

Laser cutting is the result of very high power being applied at very low speeds. It will completely vaporise your chosen material until there is nothing left where the beam was focused. The more flammable the material, the better it will cut. For example, polyester fabric cuts exceptionally well because the laser physically melts the material as it cuts it, ensuring the fabric will not fray. The Trotec SP lasers are perfect laser cutters.

Fusing

Fusing is the act of adding a layer of material to something, usually by utilising a ceramic powder or paste. This is usually done on the surface of metals, ceramics and glass. It acts as an effective, semi-permanent marking solution. This process is accomplished by using products like CerMark or MarkSolid, which are both available from the Trotec webshop.