Sensitive woods, acrylic, or other synthetic fibers may be cut by any laser engraver. Metal laser engraving, branding, or etching, on the other hand, is a completely other task. For fast and effectively engraving metal, a CO2 laser or laser cutting engraver is recommended. However, most people are unaware that you may mark metals with desktop laser forgers using an unconventional method.
- 1 The Best Budget Metal Laser Engravers
- 2 Laser Etching vs Laser Engraving vs Laser Marking Metal
- 3 Metals Appropriate for Laser Engraving
- 4 Kinds of Laser Engraver Appropriate for Metal
The Best Budget Metal Laser Engravers
1. Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro
- Price: $449
The Laser Master 2 Pro, Ortur’s newest laser cutting equipment for metal, is a freshly improved machine with numerous wonderful features. We were satisfied with the safety changes and other updates on the Pro after testing both the Laser Master 2 and now this Pro version. Although you would not think a non-CO2 or fiber laser would mark metal, various experiments have been conducted and have successfully marked metal with trademarks and other microscopic features. The idea is to coat your metallic coating with mustard before laser branding it, which may seem unusual. Mustard seems to react with metal, making engraving more effective.
For metal engravers, accuracy is paramount, and this machine excels in that department. It has the newest OLM-PRO-V10 board, which allows for very precise engraving and quick engraving speeds while keeping engraving smooth and delicate.
It also runs on the Ortur Laser 1.5 firmware. This improves the motion algorithm and speeds the movement to 10,000 mm/mm. It employs a 2nd FAC laser with a focus point of just 0.08*0.15mm, resulting in strong and smooth metal cutting.
2. Atomstack X7 Pro
- Price: $599-649
- Metal laser power: 10W
The Atomstack X7 Pro’s strong 10W laser comfortably cuts through 20mm-thick wood and 15mm acrylic, making it a more luxury workstation laser engraver. This capability also allows it to imprint light signatures or logos on metals, as well as offer traceability to items via barcodes or number plates.
The large 410 × 400 mm engraving surface is more than ample, especially because most hobbyist metal laser cutting projects are modest, but it can be expanded to 850 x 410 mm with the X7 Pro extender kit (an additional $129). With Atomstack’s R3 rotary component for specialty curved metal marking, you may add a fourth axis for an additional $109.
If you’re going to use this or the Ortur to laser engrave metal, keep your expectations in check. These less powered metal lasers will etch more softly and take longer than more robust metal lasers engravers.
Though it’s a terrific value for homemakers or smaller companies at $599, it’s not a metal laser cutter; rather, it’s a metal engraving machine. With a comfortable touchscreen, offline etching choices if your workshop doesn’t have WiFi, and an updated laser that’s more steady and has a more condensed laser spot (0.06mm) for clearer details than ever before, it’s simple to use.
3. Snapmaker 2.0 3-in-1
- Price: $1,100+
- Laser power: 10W with add-on
The Snapmaker 2.0 Modular 3-in-1 is not just a laser engraver, but also a laser printer and CNC carving machine, making it the most unusual machine on our list. Starting with the laser engraving, this machine includes a superb focusing feature that employs the appropriate laser height without requiring you to test for the focal point again.
However, the normal 1.6W laser toolhead has trouble engraving metal, though an online maker has succeeded in making it work, so we suggest having the high-power laser insert for stronger materials. Makers have used the Snapmaker 2.0 to create metal business cards in the style of Steve Wozniak, as well as a number of other projects. The 4-axis rotary module was also put to the test for 360-degree embossing.
Snapmaker is perfect for novices since it focuses on making things simple and accessible. Their Snapmaker Luban software, together with the Snapmaker’s powerful and intelligent software, auto-calibrates, evaluates material depth and area (saving you time and effort), and employs camera capture to speed up laser engraving preparation.
As a 3-in-1 machine, however, it falls short of a standalone laser engraver. It does, however, 3D print. This machine is a jack-of-all-trades that can also perform light metal engraving and CNC carves to a high quality, so if you’re searching for a jack-of-all-trades that can also do lightweight materials engraving, this is the machine for you. The Snapmaker 2.0 Modular 3-in-1 has auto-leveling, material runout restoration, and power loss recovery for 3D printing.
With a repeatability of 0.005mm, this machine is incredibly well made and sturdy, producing consistent results whether you’re engraving metal, 3d printers, or CNC carving. The Snapmaker Luban technology is appropriate for all three techniques, and the equipment and software are both adaptable, allowing you to alter them as needed.
4. Ten-High Fiber Laser Engraving Machine for Metal
- Price: $4,200
- Laser power: 20W
This is a high-powered aluminum laser engraver that is ideal for professional metal craftsmen. The Ten-High Fiber Laser Engraving Equipment may be used on a number of metals, including stainless steel. It may also be used with non-metallic materials such as aluminum oxide, industrial ceramics and electroplating material.
This metal laser cutter is also useful for dealing with silver, gold, copper, and aluminum, thanks to the high-grade fiber laser with an optical insulator. Working with metals may be controlled by frequency and energy. This metal laser engraving equipment is incredibly accurate. Its marking speed is 3-5 times that of traditional YAG and DP semiconductor engravers. You may also alter the depth of the marking for better precision.
The marking is distinct, solid, and long-lasting. Because the spot diameter may be as small as 0.1mm, it can be utilized for micro paintings, bar codes, and copyright promotion. This machine is pleasant to work with because of the operating table and integrated design structure, which allows for efficient and relaxing operation. The laser’s optical path incorporates a novel sealing technology to prevent optical pollution.
5. LYXC Hybrid Metal Laser Cutter & Engraver
- Price: $15,199
The LYXC hybrid laser cutter is well worth a look if you’re searching for a rubbed bronze laser engraving that can handle high volume output while retaining good quality. Because it features a 180W RECI W8 head for laser cutting and an 80W RECI W2 head for laser engraving, it’s a hybrid machine that can handle a variety of jobs.
This laser cutter and engraver is capable of etching stainless steel plates up to 1.5 inches thick. It may also be used to work with non-metallic materials like as wood, Plexiglas, reeds, crystal, leather, and ceramic. These, and also carbon fiber sheets, may be cut to a thickness of 1.8mm.
Laser Etching vs Laser Engraving vs Laser Marking Metal
Metal Laser Etching
Laser etching alters the color of a metal’s surface by creating a very small surface depth change — often less than 0.02mm. The laser melts or interacts with a very little quantity of the material surface, leaving an elevated region that contrasted with the undisturbed material.
Laser etching is often used on metals such as stainless steel, copper, and copper. CerMark marking solution, for example, is a laser etching spray intended specifically for making black markings on alloys that contrast for barcodes, serial numbers, logos, and other purposes.
Laser etching metals may also be used to create precious metal jewelry. For amateur home laser engravers, etching is the simplest metal laser engraving method, and creators have discovered ways to erode using mustard, mustard, and other home solutions.
Metal Laser Marking
To render the marked regions black and contrasted with the rest of the metal, laser marking entails oxidizing material beneath the material’s surface. While cutting and etching alter the surface of the material, laser marking only affects below-surface regions, leaving the texture intact. Laser marking is utilized for logos, just like etching, but it’s also employed for medical items and the automobile sector.
Metal Laser Engraving
Engraving metals often entails manually carving a 0.125″ deep hole as during engraving process. This is the sharpest cut of the 3 methods, and it produces a striking design that is ideal for logos and identification. Industrial premises laser engravers are faster than pointers or etchers and are frequently used to produce stainless steel items, as well as alloys and other materials.
Metals Appropriate for Laser Engraving
Aluminum may be engraved and etched with clean results utilizing CO2 or fiber engraving equipment. The laser reveals the material’s brilliant substrate, with black anodized metal generating the most striking effects. Aluminum is utilized in personalized business products such as branded pens, flasks, metal cards, and more, as well as crankcases, chassis covers, and automotive cosmetic body pieces.
Stainless steel may be laser etched as well as laser marked, creating great contrasts. The most prevalent stainless steel varieties are 316 and 306 stainless steel. Aesthetic components, gasoline tanks, railings, and dampers all feature stainless steel engraving. A monochrome laser tagging equipment can even make color marks on stainless steel.
Steel may also be laser etched, albeit its hardness makes it more challenging and necessitates longer engraving durations to provide sufficient surface contrast. However, sacrificing engraving color/contrast might result in higher engraving speeds. Higher engraving rates produce white markings, whereas slower speeds produce black marks.
Brass and Copper
Brass and copper fiber lasers can mark and carve on these metals, which are used in music, jewelry, pipes, tubing and pipelines, nuts and bolts, and a variety of electronics. Aluminium is a metal that easily transfers heat and is easy to engrave. Because of its low melting point and great thermal and electric conductivity, brass may be etched and dark imprints can be created.
Titanium may be etched, engraved, and marked. Ti2Titanium’s laser engraving service, for example, allows you to engrave a moniker, date, fingerprint, symbol, or any other emotional design onto jewelry using metal laser engraving.
Silver and Gold
Yes, even gold can be laser engraved. In physical gold engraving for jewels, such as gold, platinum, or silver, laser engraving has emotional benefits. This designer has even laser carved a QR code in gold that leads to their YouTube channel.
Kinds of Laser Engraver Appropriate for Metal
CO2 metal laser etching devices create a laser beam from a gaseous mixture of CO2 that has been electrically treated. These devices engrave non-metal materials including wood, plastics, suede, and more with a CO2 laser beam frequency of around 10.6 microns.
The wavelength of fiber laser engraving equipment is 1.06 microns. They’re typically considered quicker than CO2 lasers, and they can enhance the laser beam’s strength with fibre optic cable cables for more efficient use of their power. The tremendous power, short wavelengths, and tiny focal diameters of fiber lasers make them ideal for engraving metal.
Crystal / Diode Lasers
Crystal lasers are comparable to fiber lasers in that they are both solid-state lasers. They’re used in low-cost laser sculptors like the Ortur Laser Master series, and they’re good for plastics, woods, pottery, and metal if they’re coated. They etch using diodes, and their tiny size and low weight make them suitable for desk engraving.