What Materials Can Be Laser Marked?
Laser Marking is the process for creating a permanent mark on to the surface of an object. There are many other terminologies used for Laser Marking but in this guide we focus on the type material which reacts well to this process and creates a nice, permanent mark (and the ones you can’t).
An Overview of Laser Marking
We call it Laser Marking – you may know it as Laser Engraving or Laser Etching – this process is the most versatile for marking a huge variety of materials. Our laser suite is one of our busiest departments and houses 6 machines (and counting) – all suited to different materials and applications. From marking our in house manufactured nameplates and plaques, to the marking of customer supplied free issue parts both flat and 3D.
Laser marking permanently marks the surface of many materials with precise accuracy and detail. Its speed, permanency and versatility makes it the most popular marking process we offer. Below is a guide to give you more information on the materials we can mark and what to expect from laser marking.
Which Materials Can Be Laser Marked?
Our most popular metal marking process due to its permanency without altering the surface of the material.
- Aluminium – milled | brushed | anodised
Achieve both light and dark marks on milled and brushed | laser away just the coating of anodised to reveal the natural Aluminium underneath
- Stainless Steel – mild | annealed | brushed | mirror | coated
Achieve both light and dark marks on milled and brushed | laser away just the coating to reveal the natural Stainless underneath | create a dark matt finish on mirror
- Brass – milled | polished | brushed
Achieves a dark mark only to all finishes – colouration will depend on the quality and spec of the brass
- Copper – milled | polished | brushed
Achieves a dark mark only – may not always be the best process depending on the colouration of the copper
Not all plastic can be laser marked due to the composition and potential toxicity when heated. Most safe laser receptive plastics are layered coloured sheets to enable the top layer to be lasered away to show another colour underneath, commonly known as laser laminate or Traffolyte.
- Acrylic – clear | opaque | frosted
Clear acrylic can be lasered to achieve a frosted effect | frosted and opaque colours will leave a shallow depth engraving in the same colour
- Laminate – black & white | metallic | coloured
Specifically made for the lasers this is available in many layered colours and large sizes, ideal for text heavy signs and detailed designs. Achieving a deep engraving with contrasting colours
- All other plastics – a test sample will need to be carried out – please enquire
Laser marking will always create a deep mark when applied to ‘natural’ materials due to the soft density of them. Manmade versions always need to be tested due to potential plastic content, which can cause adverse effects when laser marked. Most natural products will leave a very dark mark due to the reaction with the heat.
- Wood – manmade | natural
Creates a deep surface mark and can achieve small detail – deep upstanding designs can also be achieved
- Wood – synthetic including MDF | Veneer
Deep engraving can be achieved on MDF | creates a shallow surface mark to veneer
- Leather – natural | manmade
Creates a shallow mark – colour dependent on material – not ideal on dark hides
- Stone – marble | slate
Creates a light mark to slate with very little surface alteration | marble can be lasered at depth achieving same mark colour as base material
Industrial Customer Supplied Parts:
One of our most popular applications – we laser mark hundreds of customer supplied free issue parts every week due to the versatility of being able to mark almost any shape including cylindrical with our rotary laser engraving.
We cater regularly for an array in industries including;
Promotional Customer Supplied Parts:
As popular as the industrial application, we receive many items for branding, personalisation and promotional items. The added benefit to laser marking these items is the option to include variable data which can include names, numbers, varying logos etc, and with minimal set up, this can keep costs down for larger orders which contain variable data.
Suitable applications include:
- Promotional Items
- Corporate Branding
- Personalised Products
Please note : due to the industrial nature of the business we have a minimum order charge for one offs.
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