Laser engraving material properties

Laser engravers are used to create detailed surface designs on almost any material. These images have a very high resolution and can have very fine properties. One of the fastest-growing uses is in creating memories by engraving photos on permanent surfaces such as stone tiles. You can search more information about 3d laser crystal engraving through crystal sensations.

Laser engraving material properties

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Apart from the flexibility of the laser, different materials react differently to the engraving process.

Wood and paper

One of the first uses of laser engraving was to burn patterns onto wood surfaces. The wood is flammable and therefore can be engraved with a low power laser. Hardwoods such as oak or mahogany are best. Softer trees can create conflicting etching depths and are known to light up during etching. The use of the lowest power laser is recommended for this project.


Acrylic is one of the most commonly used plastics in laser engravers. It holds up the engraving well and creates a stunning finish.

Softer plastics like styrene tend to melt around engravings, resulting in a softer appearance or even deforming. This material can contain silicates, which help prevent laser heat from melting excess material, or it can be coated so that a colored coating shows underneath when the surface is scratched.


Standard metal requires a special shortwave laser and therefore will not work with most laser engravings. However, plated metal works quite well because, instead of vaporizing the metal, the laser vaporizes the coating to expose the metal underneath. Common examples are painted brass and anodized aluminum.