What Is the Difference Between Laser Cutting and Etching?

Visually it is very simple to recognize a laser cut part from a laser etched one. A laser beam is like a super-powered cutting tool so picture using it on stainless steel or perhaps polyimide or other materials. If you hold the beam steady and let it burn for a while, you’ll cut a clean hole right through – that’s laser cutting. Laser etching, on the other hand, is more like using a fine-tipped pen to draw on the surface. The laser beam moves quickly and focuses its heat on a very small area, vaporizing just a thin layer of the material. This creates a visible mark or image, but it doesn’t go all the way through. It’s like toasting the top layer of bread without burning it. One will be a single part or component, while the other will alter the surface leaving a mark. Laser cutting and laser etching sometimes will go together during precision laser services manufacturing. There are times for example that the cut parts need to be marked with a lot or part number. This information is helpful in any future necessary maintenance or repairs by allowing identical parts to be used. Laser etching is not a process that involves any additive inks or coloring. The mark is the ablated surface and will vary in contrast per the material being etched. A good example of this is laser etching anodized aluminum. The anodized coating when ablated, will result in a very contrast color of white […]