Metal Laser Engraving: A 5-Step Guide

Metal Laser Engraving: A 5-Step Guide

Laser engraving systems can be of great value to small businesses and hobbyists who produce parts for their customers on a regular basis. Systems such as these are capable of working with a wide range of materials, fulfilling vital functions.

If you’re wondering how to use a laser engraver and what goes into the process, you’re not alone. The good news is that laser engraving is fairly simple to operate with the right training. No matter what you need to mark or engrave on your products, you’ll be able to do it in no time.

Let’s take a look at how to use a laser engraving machine, specifically what you need to know when laser marking on metal.

1. Decide Which Material To Work With

It is possible to use laser engraving on a wide variety of materials, particularly metals. The following metals can be engraved using laser engraving:

  • Various grades of steel
  • Stainless steel
  • High-speed steels
  • Alloyed steels
  • Aluminum
  • Anodized aluminum
  • Titanium
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Hardened metals
  • Carbides
  • Coated metals
  • Nickel-plated materials
  • Galvanized materials
  • Precious metals such as gold and silver

You can see, an efficient laser engraver can deliver whatever you need for your metal laser engraving.

2. Decide What Applications You Want Laser Engraving For

Different companies use laser engraving systems for different purposes. It’s worthwhile to consider all the things you can do with a laser engraving system even if you’ve already chosen your purpose for a given piece.

You will be able to engrave:

  • Bar codes
  • Serial numbers/codes
  • 2D matrix codes
  • UDI medical markings
  • Product information/product names
  • Branding
  • Graphics and designs
  • Pictures
  • Logos
  • Personalization

The above could all be placed on a single part, or on numerous parts of a product that has many components. You can select what suits the needs of any given product with complete flexibility.

Traditional Engraving vs. Laser Engraving

3. Assess Whether The Part Needs To Be Engraved Radially

In many cases, parts have flat surfaces that are perfect for engraving, since the laser beam can move across the surface evenly without causing distortions to the letters, numbers, or images being engraved.

If a metal part is curved, cylindrical, or spherical, you may want to laser engrave it. A special component will be necessary in these cases to enable laser engraving in a radial direction.

To help you fulfill such needs, our MR65 rotary accessory facilitates 360° radial laser marking and engraving. Select this part if you think you may need to perform radial engraving in the future.

4. Configure The Engraving System

Having gathered your parts and determined what you need engraved, you will need to gather the materials you need for the actual engraving. Whether you need to engrave simple text or numbers or you want a stylistic design, you can program any of these features in a laser engraver’s software.

LaserGear systems use the TYKMA Electrox Minilase Pro SE programming software, which is compatible with Windows XP, 7, and 8 Professional 64-bit. This software includes customization options and an intuitive user interface.

5. Follow The Proper Safety Procedures And Begin Engraving

When you have everything in place, you are ready to begin your metal laser engraving, but it is important that you take steps to ensure the safety of yourself and anyone else in your facility.

Remember the laser classifications and their key characteristics:

  • Class 1 – The lasers are either low powered or high powered, but are enclosed within a safe container for operation. Laser engravers from BOQX are class 1 systems enclosed in a cabinet.
  • Class 4 – The laser in these systems is exposed in an open environment or as part of an integrated production line, requiring a higher level of caution and strict adherence to safety protocols. We offer Class 4 systems, the QUBE 20W and QUBE60W.