Since the late 1960s, laser marking has been employed in industry. A lot has changed in the previous fifty years: small businesses and creative workshops now regularly use this type of machining in addition to large-scale production facilities. In any case, what do we know about it? In order to better understand laser marking on metal, let’s examine the various marker kinds, their attributes, applications, and other relevant information.

See this leather engraving page to learn more about how different materials, including leather, react to lasers.

Laser Engraving Metal Technology

deep engraving metal

To comprehend laser engravers and their technological features, one must grasp the engraving process.

The process affects the chemical composition and colour of a specific area of the metal surface by focussing the laser beam on it.

Laser Engravers for Metal Utilizing in Metalworking

Metal Laser Marking

The aforementioned kind of metalworking is robust and resistant to wear. It entails heating a metal surface with a concentrated laser beam, which alters the material’s color and darkening in addition to causing structural changes.

Colour Laser Metal Marking

color engraving metal

This method is only applicable to oxidizing materials like 

  • brass, 
  • nickel, 
  • zinc, 
  • aluminum, 
  • stainless steel.

An oxide coating forms on the surface layer as a result of the laser’s heating effect. Because oxidizing metals have distinct colors of their own, contact with them alters the surface’s color and initiates the marking process. The oxidation coating thickness, exposure duration, and heating temperature all affect the color of the material.

Laser Engraving Metal

laser engraving knife

These are extremely long-lasting markings. A part of the substance evaporates, leaving the image or information securely embedded. It works really well for marking coated metals, including anodized aluminum. It does away with the requirement for the consumables used in ink coding and the manufacturing waste that results from routing.

The final product’s appearance and the purpose for which you need it to be manufactured will determine your decision.

Advantages of Using Laser Engravers for Metal

phone case engraving

The following benefits come with marking metal with a fiber laser engraver:

  • Excellent marking with a lot of complexity and gloss.
  • Affordable: Fast operation boosts output and efficiency, both of which are critical in big industrial operations.
  • Resilience, durability, and workability in the face of material forces from the environment, such as heat and acid.
  • Safety and Health: There are no harmful vapors or industrial wastes to breathe in when marking.
  • Numerous substrates, such as cardboard, paper, leather, metal, wood, plastic, and anodized aluminum.
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It should be apparent that the variety of laser markers can be advantageous for a broad range of jobs, workloads, and financial efforts.

Classification of Laser Engravers for Metal

Machines designed specifically with engraving in mind are called engraving machines. The most prevalent kinds are listed below:

laser marking machine head
  • CO2 laser engraving machines for metal:

Using a CO2 beam exposure for marking is a little out of date. But these lasers don’t require any consumables, are very inexpensive to use, and run at a minimal cost. They work better with eloxated metals and organic materials. This type of equipment is not appropriate for etching uncoated metals.

  • Fibre laser engraving machines for metal:

Compared to CO2 tubes, fiber laser tubes have a substantially longer service life. These fiber lasers are excellent for engraving metal and plastic.

  • Equipment for engraving metal using crystal-style lasers:

They work similarly to fiber lasers in producing solid-state light. Compared to fiber optics, they do, however, feature more expensive and easily broken components.

The most widely applied method is fiber-optic labeling. Their effectiveness, speed, and affordability have been demonstrated.

To learn more about the various kinds of lasers, read more about laser cutting machines.

Metal Laser Markers don’t require any additional technical equipment because they are self-contained. The rotating unit, cooler, lens, and voltage stabilizer are optional and can be installed by the user.

wattsan laser markers

Factors to Select a Laser Engraver for Metal?

It’s important to first comprehend why you’re utilizing a laser marker on metal. What purpose will you give it?

The following specifications should be taken into account, depending on the application:

Metal marking using a laser and its output power

This is the most crucial factor for selection because the laser’s power is influenced by the filling’s uniformity, speed, capacity to etch volumetric pictures, and general quality. Because reflecting materials produce better and more uniform laser beams, it is imperative to take the metals you plan to mark into account as well.

Below is a list of the most well-known laser brand names:

laser engraving machine for metal

IPG Photonics is a name linked to cutting edge technology, with production sites situated in the USA, Russia, and Germany. Materials like titanium and stainless steel can be color marked with the use of broad-band lasers. Moreover, this company’s lasers have excellent emission properties that guarantee precise and quick operation. The only drawback is that these lasers are more expensive than those made by competitors.

A less expensive alternative to IPG is the Chinese Raycus light source, which has a high power and steady beam and can perform more complicated jobs.

Although Max Photonics is also a Chinese manufacturer, the quality of their goods is not on par with those of the manufacturers listed before. Still, this is a great choice if you’re looking for an inexpensive solution to finish a straightforward marking assignment. Applying logos, dates, serial numbers, identity plates, name plates, and many other things can be done with it.

Area of operation and lens of a metal engraving laser

The lens being used determines the marking field’s dimensions. There are three common sizes: 200×200, 100×100, and 300×300 mm. It is preferable to use a lens with a smaller field of vision when engraving small products. As a result, the product is of greater quality and the beam is thinner.

Operator of a metal laser engraver

A good controller is essential because it houses the board that manages and processes the emitter and scanner.

Scanner for Laser Engravers for Metal

lens of laser marking machine

The laser beam passes across this area. The laser beam is focused onto a certain lens inside the equipment, and then it is directed onto the material’s surface by two moving mirrors.

You may find all of these parts on websites such as Aliexpress, but be aware that the items listed there are not nearly as reliable, strong, or efficient as you might think. Thus, don’t skimp on quality if you want equipment that will last.

Laser Engraver for Metal

There are numerous fiber laser markers available from Wattsan; one of them will work for you.

All sizes can fit into the FL TT. If necessary, the scanner can be fastened to the ceiling using the detachable tripod.

Laser power 30 W
Laser source JPT (MOPA)
Work area 200 x 200 mm
Marker type Table type

The FL LT variant’s improved compactness makes it easier to work with smaller material sizes. In addition, the integrated foot pedal expedites the processing speed.

The FL ST is the metal laser marker of choice for large production facilities. In this version, the workspace is essentially occupied by a fixed table for the operator.

Laser power 20-50 W
Work area 100 x 100 mm
Marker type Stand
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Applications of a Laser Engraver for Metal

laser engraving metal

Fiber laser engraving is a widely used technique for marking metal that can be used on small or large-scale objects. This explains why a wide range of manufacturing sectors employ them, including those that require barcoding, release dates, batch numbers, etc.

  • Marking business cards, key chains, stationery, and mementos as a means of advertising
  • Designing or customizing jewelry;
  • Medical facilities: identifying surgical tools, implants, further medical supplies;
  • Labeling components, devices, and other items for the automotive, aerospace, marine, and aviation sectors.
engraving on thermo mag

In these industries, the following metal kinds are most frequently used:

Ferrous metals, such as 

  • mild or stainless steel;

non-ferrous metals include 

  • copper, 
  • zinc, 
  • nickel, 
  • brass, 
  • aluminum, 
  • titanium, 
  • nickel;

precious metals include 

  • gold, 
  • platinum, 
  • silver.

Because of their versatility, metal marking lasers can be used in a wide range of applications. They perform better than other kinds of engraving equipment in many aspects. Although it may appear expensive, the trouble-free, long-lasting service they offer justifies the price. It’s crucial to choose the best metal laser marker for your production requirements.

Furthermore, a wide range of sectors can benefit from the numerous options and implementation methods that laser processing offers.

Please read our article about laser paper cutters for more details.

Laser power 20-50 W
Work area 100 x 100 mm
Marker type Handheld
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