At Book Worm Laser & Design, my goal is to add beauty, distinction, and creativity to the everyday items in your life. The objects you carry with you should reflect your personality. The decorations in your home, work place, vehicle, etc should be beautiful. The gifts you give should be one-of-a-kind, expressing your love and friendship to the recipient. You deserve the best.
Utilizing a CO2 laser engraver, there are objects and surfaces that can be etched, marked, and cut and there are some that can’t. Here is a short list of what will work and what won’t and a basic definition of etching, marking, and cutting (Read this article on how a laser engraver works):
Etching or Engraving – An often deep mark, removing excess material, resulting in a three dimensional texture in the surface. You may have seen engraving on jewelry that is typically created with a mechanical engraver. CO2 lasers are capable of etching and engraving softer or less dense surface such as wood, Delrin, Acrylic, paper, anodized aluminum, etc. Depending on the settings, the etching or engraving can be deep or shallow.
Marking – A shallow or chemically bonded mark on surfaces that are typically very hard or reflective. Laser marking can be used with stainless steel and other metals (utilizing a marking compound), granite, and other very hard surfaces.
Cutting – Often what can be etched or engraved can also be cut. Utilizing the laser, custom shapes can be created out of wood, paper, Delrin, Corian, Acrylic, etc. The result is a smooth, accurate shape that can be used in a variety of applications
What etches well
Glass – A great surface that etches well. Wine bottles, glasses, mirrors, and other applications of glass make fine gift items. When etched, the glass has a frosted appearance. Basic images and text work best for glass. Glass can not be cut, but can be etched or scored for those who want specific shapes for that special stained glass project.
Wood – Few surfaces match the beauty of wood. Since every piece of wood is unique, it provides a one-of-a-kind object from the mundane name tag to the picture frame that hold the picture of your first child. Wood etches excellently, cuts well and due to it’s nature, a three dimensional effect can be created utilizing the laser. By far, wood is my favorite surface for it’s beauty and unique appearance.
Acrylic – Many objects are created using acrylic. It etches well, cuts cleanly, and often can resemble glass. It makes great Christmas ornaments, project enclosures, pocket totems, and a wide variety of other items.
Paper – Made from wood or similar materials, paper can be etched, marked, and cut. Due to the thickness, cutting is the most common. Depending on the settings, the laser can also perforate the paper, resulting in objects that stay together but can be easily separated.
Rubber – Not the most common of materials, rubber is used in a variety of items, specifically ink stamps. If you are into scrap booking or want a specialized stamp for your business, the accuracy of a laser creates a unique, useful stamp whatever you need.
Cloth & Fabric - Taking many forms, cloth and fabric marks and cuts very well with a laser. Cutting complex quilting patterns, etching microfiber pillows, and even personalizing denim jeans are some interesting applications.
Marble & Granite – Hard surfaces are not easily etched with a CO2 laser but marble and granite, as well as other materials, respond well to laser marking. These materials appear white where laser marked. Pictures do well on marble and granite provided that there is enough contrast (especially when the picture is converted to grey scale) and makes a beautiful object that will last forever.
There are many more surfaces and materials that can be etched, engraved, and marked with a laser that are not listed here. If you have a question, please let me know at email@example.com
What won’t be etched
PVC- There are many substances that, when burned, are toxic. One of those is PVC (Polyvinyl chloride). When etched, marked, or cut with a laser, PVC is transformed into Hydrogen Chloride gas which is toxic. Even with proper fume extraction, the gas is corrosive to the equipment. PVC or any product containing PVC will not be etched, marked, or cut with the laser.
Teflon – Often found as the white tape used in plumbing, Teflon is a solid material that is very slippery (low coefficient of friction). When burned, it is transformed into Hydrofluoric acid which dissolves glass. Glass is an intrigal part of laser etching equipment (lenses and mirrors) and may be damaged by the acid. Teflon or any product containing Teflon will not be etched, marked, or cut with the laser.