A laser machine for glass engraving is a modern, high-tech piece of equipment that can be used to create unique items. For example, you can apply drawings to glasses, turning serial dishes into works of art.

etching vine glasses

However, in order to get the expected result, it is important to choose a machine that is most suitable for glass. Such work requires a certain power and availability of additional devices. If you do not take into account all the nuances, you can at best not get the desired effect, and at worst – destroy the glass item.

Laser engraving on glass

Glass objects can be decorated in different ways: by mechanical action, chemical etching, sandblasting and other methods. However, each of these options has its own disadvantages. 

The main disadvantage is the relatively low accuracy of the pattern, as well as the requirement to rigidly fix the workpiece. Clamps can damage the glass surface and even ruin the product.

A laser machine for glass engraving helps to get only pluses and realize the most complex tasks. Today it is the most advanced technique that allows you to create durable images on glass with high accuracy.

The pattern is cut out with a focused laser beam: a stream of light beams of a specific wavelength. The size of the spot of light that forms on the surface of the workpiece is 0.01 millimeters. This makes it possible to draw the thinnest lines and make tiny dots, creating the desired pattern.

how to engrave glass

If you examine such a point under a microscope, you can see a small notch in the glass, around which there are microcracks. The cracks are only where the laser beam passes and cannot be seen with the naked eye. The rest of the glass removes smooth. 

If you touch the engraving with your finger, you can feel the surface roughness. Under magnification, you can also see that the laser-treated glass takes on a slightly whitish hue.

An important advantage of this method is the absence of stresses in the glass. The probability that it will crack and collapse in the process and after engraving is reduced to almost zero.

There are simply no impossible tasks for a laser glass engraving machine. The complexity of the image can be any: the laser is capable of conveying the smallest details. The effect is comparable to a good photo; the accuracy and detail of the picture is as high.

What is laser engraving on glass?

Since the laser head that produces the light beam does not touch the workpiece, this method is non-contact. The laser cuts out drawings by thermal influence: the surface layer of the material is burnt off in the right places, and the image is created.

The movement and intensity of the laser beam is controlled by a machine control system, in the memory of which the future drawing is loaded in the form of a graphic image. 

engraving glass on cnc machine

It is, in its turn, prepared in a special graphic editor; i.e. beam parameters such as trajectory, glass burning depth, radiation power, etc. are set.

A laser machine for glass engraving can work wonders, turning an ordinary glass or other object into a work of art or an interesting interior item. 

However, the technology is not applicable to all types of glass.

It is not possible to decorate objects made of glass containing lead. Laser engraving is used for glass without the presence of any metals such as crystal and quartz.

Images are applied to the glass in different ways. Accordingly, three types of laser engraving are distinguished.

  • A flat pattern on the glass surface is obtained using CO2 lasers. In this case, the front side of the product is treated with a beam.
  • An internal pattern is created on the inside of the glass. The picture looks volumetric and seems to float inside the glass layer. Such images are created using CO2 engravers, for example, WATTSAN 6040.
  • 3D-engraving is a method of creating three-dimensional objects inside a layer of glass, for example, in a glass ball. In this case, Nd:YAG solid-state laser glass engraving machines are used, which form two beams of light. They intersect inside the glass, and a microburst occurs at that point. A ball of cracks is produced. The equipment allows you to change the depth of laser penetration to create three-dimensional images of any shape.

Scopes of application

Laser machines for engraving on glass help to perform different tasks, such as making patterns and inscriptions, figures and even entire paintings. You can engrave on cylindrical objects, such as vases, glasses, bottles. 

bottle engraving

To rotate the product during laser processing, the machine can be equipped with a rotary device. It holds the workpiece in midair and rotates it at the desired speed.

Laser engravers are used to decorate various objects. The technology is in demand in the production of cups and other awards, photos on the glass surface, doors, souvenirs, precious and semi-precious stones, tableware, gifts, commemorative plaques, promotional products, panels and other products.

Top 5 laser machines for engraving glass

There are several models of Wattsan laser machines for glass engraving. 

Wattsan 0503

0503
Work area 500 x 300 mm
Tube power 60W
Max engraving speed 700 mm
Dimensions 650 mm * 1040 mm * 575 mm
More

The medium-format CO2 model for engraving non-metallic objects, including glass, ceramics, and stone. Thanks to the frame construction, the glass engraving machine does not swing during operation. 

Combined with the use of a three-phase motor and ¼ belt gearboxes, this increases the accuracy of the image by reducing the machine’s pitch. Cutting accuracy is also increased due to the reduced nozzle cross-sectional area. 

With a compact size of the machine (1020x650x580 mm), the size of the working area is 500 by 300 millimeters, which is quite enough for decorating glasses and other cylindrical objects.

Universal laser tube mounts increase the efficiency of alignment. Application of Fotek inductive sensors excludes collisions of mechanical elements of the machine gantry. Due to the increased thickness of the metal body (2.9 mm or more), the equipment serves longer.

Wattsan 6090 LT

6090
LT
Work area 900 x 600 mm
Tube power 100-120W
Max engraving speed 700 mm
Dimensions 1030 mm * 1490 mm * 670 mm + 315 mm (if on its wheels)
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laser cutter engraver wattsan

The CO2 machine for glass engraving is characterized by high accuracy of material processing and ease of operation.

The size of the working area is 900 by 600 mm. The frame design and the thickness of the metal body from 2.9 millimeters ensure the absence of vibration when processing workpieces. Three-phase motor and ¼-belt gearbox allows you to reduce the pitch. 

All this increases the accuracy of the cut and allows you to make small parts. Maximum cutting fineness is ensured by the installation of a nozzle with reduced cross section. An autofocus laser head is available on request.

The optimal price-quality ratio makes this machine an excellent choice for large-volume engraving on glass.

Wattsan 1290 LT

1290
LT
Work area 1200 x 900 mm
Tube power 100-120W
Max engraving speed 700 mm
Dimensions 1410 mm * 1790 mm * 670 mm + 315 mm (if on its wheels)
More
laser engraving machine

The CO2 glass engraving machine with a working area of ​​1200 by 900 mm provides positioning accuracy up to 0.03 mm.

Due to the universal size of the working area, the machine can be used not only for glasses, but also for processing larger products, such as cutting plywood.

Engraving accuracy is increased due to the absence of vibrations of the machine during operation, which is ensured by the frame structure and the increased thickness of the body metal (from 2.9 millimeters). A three-phase motor and a ¼-belt gearbox also contribute to higher accuracy of glass engraving, thereby reducing the pitch. And the reduced cross section of the nozzle allows you to engrave the smallest elements.

Wattsan 1610 LT

1610
LT
Work area 1600 x 1000 mm
Tube power 100-120W
Max engraving speed 700 mm
Dimensions 1410 mm * 1790 mm * 670 mm + 315 mm (if on its wheels)
More
laser cutting and engraving machine wattsan

This model is characterized by the significant size of the working area – 1600 by1000 mm. The power of the laser tube is 100-120 W. This machine for glass engraving works with a positioning accuracy of 0.03 mm.

The advantages of the model include the increased accuracy of the cut and easy alignment. The standard equipment can be supplemented with an autofocus laser head.

How to start your business on glass engraving

If you are planning on starting your own business for the production of exclusive glasses, the first thing you will need is a glass engraving machine. The choice of equipment is determined by what operations you intend to perform.

For engraving with a rotary device, experts recommend buying a Wattsan 0503 machine. This model is ideal for engraving on glass due to its short-focus lens and wide nozzle. 

engraving vine glasses

There is also an additional advantage: the same machine can be used to make packaging for the glass, for example, from cardboard or wood. The model can be used for cutting these materials. The spectacular design of the products will help to present them in a favorable light to a potential buyer and will make it possible to increase the average check for the purchase.

If you already have a machine for engraving glass with a rotary device, and you use it to manufacture products in addition to the main product, experts recommend choosing medium-format models such as Wattsan 6090, 1290 and 1610.

Choosing a rotary device for glass engraving

Without a rotary device, it is impossible to engrave a wine glass, a glass, a flute, a shot glass, a thermos, and other cylindrical items. There are two types of such devices on sale with a rear and a front chuck.

rotary device for laser machine

It is better to choose a rotary device with a clamping nut as it will allow you to securely fix an object of any configuration.

Installing a rotary device for engraving machine

When mounting the rotary device for the glass engraving machine, it is important that it is parallel to the X-axis and fits in height, width, and length. Another significant point is the matching of the motors of the device and the machine: they must both be either two- or three-phase.

Before connecting the rotary device, you first need to power up the machine and set up RdWorks. You can do this in the “user” tab by going to the “Read” sub-item and going to the “Rotating” section. Then the number of laser beam pulses per rotation is set: Circle Pulses.

rotary device for glass engraving

When using direct transmission from the motor shaft to the rotator, the number of pulses is the same as on the motor driver. The value list can be found on the motor driver’s shield.

If a gear-driven rotary device is selected, note that the number of pulses will be smaller by the gear ratio of the rotary device. This requires the Circle Pulses to be adjusted to the gear coefficient. Therefore, with a value on the driver of 2000 and a gearbox of ½, you will need to specify 4000 RPM.

The next step is to measure the length of the workpiece with a caliper. The resulting number is entered into RdWorks, and the value is saved by clicking on the “Write”.

Different manufacturers’ laser engraving machines for glasses have their own peculiarities of installation. With Wattsan models, this process is easy. Once RdWorks is set up, you need to turn off the machine and then lower the table down to the limit.

Then the Y-axis is disconnected and a rotary device is connected instead and placed in the machine parallel to the X-axis. The absence of a switch from the C-axis on the Wattsan machines simplifies this task. The workpiece is placed in the machine so that the surface to be decorated is parallel to the X-axis.

“Wet” and “dry” glass engraving

Laser machines for glass engraving allow different types of engraving. 

wet glass engraving

“Wet” engraving involves the use of a soapy solution. In the first version, the glass is wetted with it. In the second, a soapy cloth is put on the glass, and the engraving is done through it. 

The advantage of this method is the greater accuracy of the image and less roughness of the machined glass surface than with “dry” engraving (with no soap solution).

Conclusion  

If your goal is to create high-quality engravings on items made of glass or crystal, Wattsan laser machines can complete the task at a relatively low cost.

High cutting precision and reduced pitch allows you to perform drawings of any complexity. Well-designed frame construction ensures a long service life of the equipment. 

FAQ

Is it possible to engrave glass?

Yes, it is possible to engrave on glass items. Different methods can be used for this: sandblasting, mechanical engraving, and others

What type of glass can be engraved on a laser machine?

With the help of a laser, you can process glass that does not contain metal, usually silicate, crystal, quartz.

How to prepare glass for engraving?

The glass surface must be cleaned of any dirt and degreased.

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