Laser engraving is performed when lasers are used to engrave numbers, letters, even pictures on various objects. Originally, engraving on an object would require contact with the service you are engraving and continuously replacing the tool bit once it has worn out. The laser engraving technique does not require the use of tool bits, but there are various ways to mark or engrave an object. In this article we will discuss laser etching and two different types of Micromachining.

Laser Etching

Most laser etching machines are comprised of three main components Laser engraver for metal the laser, the controller, and the surface. The laser uses a beam, as small as a pencil tip to trace and etch patterns onto various surfaces. A computer generated program guides the controller, with precision, to create intricate patterns and details.

The controller manipulates the direction, speed of movement, intensity and even the width of the beam itself. This is how companies that offer laser etching can produce custom designs for just about any “laserable” material. The surface is carefully matched with the product being etched and how the laser will react to it.

There are three different types of etching machines that are used to produce various results. The X-Y table etching machine is the most common for all etching devices. In most cases, the surface or work piece is stationary, while the laser will draw vectors on the object by moving in the X-Y directions. There are also etching machines in which the surface moves and the laser are stationary as well.

The second type of etching device is used for surfaces that are cylinder shaped or flat surfaces mounted on cylindrical objects. The third method involves the use of galvo mirrors. This is unique because both the laser and the surface are stationary, but the mirrors move across the surface.


Unlike laser etching, micromachining is a different process, but in some aspects they are the same. Both laser etching and micromachining perform a method of etching, however, the later uses two different processes to produce marks on selected materials.

The first method is surface micromachining. This method uses a series of thin film depositions or layers and etching to create structures that sit atop of a substrate. Just as with laser etching, the angled and dimensions will be detailed and defined.

The other method mentioned is bulk micromachining. Just as with the other method, bulk micromachining can be done with wet or dry etching. Anisotropic wet etch is the most commonly used in most businesses today.

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