A comparison of laser engraving and mechanical engraving
When is which engraving process better suited?
Laser engraving and mechanical engraving - a comparison of two technologies
The most common methods for engraving materials are through mechanical engraving and laser engraving. Each technology has its advantages. For example, the primary focus of laser engraving is precision and detail, while mechanical engraving is advantageous in its relief effect. Continue reading to discover a comparison of both engraving methods focusing on their individual advantages and disadvantages.
In the mechanical engraving process, a milling cutter moves over the surface of the clamped workpiece. The rotary motion of the milling cutter removes the surface of the material. For example, letters or patterns are milled out of a material. Plastic layered materials can also be engraved in this way. Metal surfaces offer a particular advantage in mechanical engraving: The deep machined lettering or decorations can be designed with color to increase the contrast.
Advantages of mechanical engraving.
- Deep engraving possible with metals.
- Metals can also be drilled and cut.
Disadvantages of mechanical engraving.
The following limits apply to mechanical engraving:
- Limited level of detail: Small details, in particular, are difficult to process.
- Wear and tear: The milling head wears down and needs to be changed regularly.
- Clamping required: For mechanical engraving, the workpiece must be clamped. The time required for this is a hindrance in the production of series.
- Not suitable for many materials: Fine engraving or marking of paper or leather are not possible. Mechanical engraving is not suitable for roughening the surface of acrylic.
Examples of paper engraving and photo engraving on acrylic using the laser
How laser engraving works
Within a laser engraving machine, light bounces off of mirrors and lenses, focusing on the surface of the workpiece. The axis system allows the beam to glide over the surface. Depending on the length of the exposure, the strong heat of the laser beam marks burns or evaporates the surface of the workpiece. Thus creating an engraving.
Advantages of laser engraving
- Suitable for lots of materials (wood, glass, textiles, paper, metal, plastics, etc.)
- Material doesn't need to be clamped. Non-contact processing.
- No tool wear
- Very high precision
- Economical for individual pieces and series
Overview of the advantages of both engraving methods:
|Laser engraving||Mechanical engraving|
|Engraving small details and logos||✔||⚫|
|Cutting material||✔ |
Clean cutting edge
|Durability of the engraving||✔||✔|
|User friendliness||✔ |
Easy to use
|Tool wear||✔ |
Milling head, possibly external coolant
|Cutting and drilling metals||⚫||✔|
Speedy laser engraving machines
For laser engraving we offer you a wide range of laser machines. They are optionally equipped with a CO2 laser, fiber laser or the combined flexx system. Our Speedy laser engravers are equally suitable for engraving and cutting.