Best Metal Laser Engraver

Laser engraving is the art of using a powerful beam of light through optical magnification to leave stunning marks on hard surfaces, including ceramics, wood, and metal. The technique involves firing a high-energy beam of light at a targeted area to vaporize material and leave a permanently visible mark. Color changes can also be due to chemical reactions between the material and heat from the laser beam, foaming, charring or ablation.

The type of laser treatment depends on the material. On harder surfaces, such as titanium, the laser beam will ablate the surface. This means removing microscopic debris from the surface. By contrast, the beam burns through soft materials like wood and rubber.

Atomstack A10 Pro
The engraver is sold with five main components, packed in a small box. All the electronics are usually in one enclosure; you just need to unpack and reassemble the frame and connect the wires, power and data cables. Unless you’ve built a machine before, it takes about 45 minutes to read through the how-to manual and actually set it up. And because every wire and part is unique in design, you can’t interchange connections or parts.

The frame and rods are made of high-quality steel, which is resistant to warping.

The machine runs on two quiet stepper motors. One is for the x-axis and the other is for moving the laser head along the y-axis. Focusing guides on the head move it along the Z axis, i.e. up and down according to the thickness of the material.

The A10 has two diode emitters instead of the one we often see in many atomstack laser engravers. The main diode points directly at the material. The other emitter is perpendicular to the main emitter, but as the beam bounces, the composite lens is tilted at a 45 degree angle. This bends the beam through a 90 degree angle, connecting the beam from the main diode. The result is a doubly powerful router.

atomstack a10 pro black

With a 10W beam illuminating the surface, heat buildup is unavoidable. Luckily, a fan on top of the unit cools the area down.

The engraving machine is compatible with LightBurn and customized LaserBox Basics software, which receives data via USB data cable, Wi-Fi or TF card.

The Atomstack A5 Pro is a standard desktop engraver with a working surface area of approximately 252 square inches, a 5W module and a compression point. The compression spot houses several crystal-clear lenses that compress the coarse, weaker laser beam into a narrower but more intense beam. A more focused laser can easily tear through 0.5″ thick wood. If you want a generous work area, the extension kit effortlessly extends the length from 21 inches to 33.5 inches.

In addition, the high-performance lightweight aluminum structure consisting of one-piece lead-screws flexibly forms the guide rail of the laser module. On a smooth pole, the laser module can cover 430 inches per minute. This impressive speed is useful when working on complex designs and time is not on your side.

The UV filtering acrylic on the laser module filters out up to 97% of UV rays making it safe for your eyes and skin. This feature also allows you to have a clear 180 degree view of what the machine is doing from above.

Finally, the Atomstack A5 is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems and software. You can use the free LaserGRB software or pay for an advanced design software called LightBurn. After coming up with a unique design, you can convert it to NC, BMP, JPG, PNG or DXF files. The machine has no problem with either of them.

Top choice for creativity: Atomstack laser engraver can engrave a variety of materials such as metal, wood, bamboo, plastic, leather PCB boards, aluminum oxide, lacquered metal, and more. You can make your own carvings according to your preferences, use your imagination
Excellent laser engraving technology: A5 Pro laser cutting machine has 5~5.5w output power, 0.16mm ultra-fine compressed laser focus area, engraving accuracy reaches 0.01mm, making the engraving process more fine, easy to cut wood and acrylic
180° Panoramic Viewing: The UV-resistant acrylic on the laser module can filter 97% of ultraviolet rays, protecting your eyes and the people around you. The specially designed 180° panoramic viewing area allows you to appreciate your work
High-performance structural design: Atomstack A5 40W machine design, integrated screw rod, the fastest running speed can reach 11000/min, more stable and flexible when engraving complex patterns, allowing you to obtain better results more easily.

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Laser Cut Design

Laser Cut Design
Craftsmen, designers and creators can use atomstack laser cutting files to cut or etch/engrav designs, shapes, text or patterns on a variety of materials. It also involves cutting these materials into smaller pieces, often assembled into larger handmade objects. Laser cutters are newer in the craft and hobby world but have been around for years in other settings and can add an exciting dimension to your crafting projects.

Laser cutting materials and advantages
While etching and engraving can be used on almost any surface, cutting is limited due to its high mechanical strength. Some of the more commonly used cutting materials include cork, various woods, acrylic, paper, and leather. While the materials used were somewhat limited, the project certainly wasn’t! Using a laser SVG file on your laser cutter can essentially replace the process of manually carving out blocks of material to create artwork, a tedious and error-prone task.

However, with the right laser engraver, the process is cleaner and the end product neater. Fine, intricate and repetitive details can also be easily created with an laser engraver. With the right settings, such as power and speed, artisans can produce any design they want in seconds, depending on the complexity of the laser-cut design. There are files specifically for cutting paper or plastic, wood, etc., in every possible pattern and design you can imagine. Be sure to check out our selection of free laser cutting files!

Inspire your creativity with laser cutting
Craftsmen and designers looking to spark their creativity with a laser cutter will definitely want to check out the Atomstack Carved Cork Tripod Tutorial. Don’t miss this incredible video that shows you how to carve recipes on a cutting board. For some big food fun, this carving on pumpkin pie tutorial is pretty cool!

If you work in manufacturing and are considering laser cutting for your next project, you may be wondering what the benefits are. Is laser cutting really better than traditional cutting methods like dies, punches and similar tools?

We’ve compiled a list of several benefits of laser cutting to help you learn more about it and why it’s so convenient.

Cutting accuracy and precision
Laser cutting uses a highly compact, high-intensity laser to deliver an incredibly focused beam of light to the material being cut with extreme precision.

In most cases, the intense lasers melt and vaporize materials with unparalleled precision. Plasma cutters, on the other hand, typically have tolerances of around 0.02mm, while some die cutting equipment have tolerances of 1-3mm or more.

Laser-cut wood panels are often the best solution when high precision is required. This is one of the reasons why laser cutting is so common in the aircraft industry where tolerances are very tight.

Short lead times reduce costs by eliminating the need to change or modify tooling.
One of the most notable advantages of laser cutting machines is the cost-effectiveness of laser cutting, especially for small projects. Atomstack a5 m40 laser cutter does not require any special or custom tools to complete your task. It also doesn’t have a body cutting surface that would wear out.

atomstack a5 m40 laser engraving machine

All that is needed to make a component or part with a laser cutter is the material to be cut, the laser cutter, and a plan that can be loaded into a computer. Even for low-volume projects, this can result in overall cost savings, especially compared to traditional tooling and fabrication.

Cedar live edge rustic cabins can be made using laser tools that also have fewer mechanical moving parts, reducing maintenance and operating expenses and helping to reduce the cost of using a laser cutting company.

Able to handle jobs of varying complexity
There is no job that a laser cutter can’t handle. High powered lasers can work on brittle sections of material where the area being cut has slight bends or deformations.

Laser cutting machines can be used to quickly and efficiently fabricate the most complex geometries and cut them with unrivaled precision and good tolerance levels with correct schematics.

Increase paper utilization and reduce waste
Another advantage of the precision and accuracy of laser cutting is that it can work with a large proportion of the sheet. Atomstack p9 m50 laser cutters can efficiently maximize the number of valuable components and parts in any given sheet of material through nested cuts.

P9 M50 laser cutter and engraver

Again, this reduces the overall project cost and speeds up the completion date. Less time is required to change out new material slabs, and less raw material is wasted by machining and cutting operations.

While lasers are generally not suitable for particularly thick metals, with waterjet or plasma cutters preferred, the versatility of laser cutting makes it an important aspect of modern machining.

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Can you laser engrave stainless steel?

The short answer is yes, stainless steel can be laser engraved. It is a misconception that engraving is never suitable for stainless steel. Feasibility will depend on the application, environment and available laser engraving equipment.

atomstack p9 m40

The process of laser engraving stainless steel involves the physical removal of the surface layer of the metal by an intense laser beam to create the engraving of the desired design.

A method called deep is also commonly used to mark stainless steel. It is similar to engraving, but the material is processed multiple times. This means calibrating your machine to emit relatively low power at slower speeds, then repeating the process multiple times. When using this process on stainless steel, more material is removed to produce a cleaner engraved design.

muse 3d laser cutter P9 M40

What is the best way to mark stainless steel?
When deciding to laser engrave stainless steel, there are several ways to go about it. CO2 lasers can engrave pretreated stainless steel, or fiber lasers can engrave or etch stainless steel. Stainless steel is also suitable for laser annealing.

atomstack p7 m40

Deep laser engraving is often used to mark stainless steel. In order to obtain deeper engraving, the marking speed of the laser needs to be reduced, and the power needs to be increased. After multiple passes through the stainless steel at different angles, a clean design will result.

Another way to mark stainless steel is to anneal it. Annealing is a less invasive type of laser marking. Annealing is characterized by low power applications for extended periods of time. When you anneal stainless steel, you melt it, but you don’t remove any material. This means that the chromium oxide layer remains intact and continues to prevent stainless steel from rusting or corroding.

By annealing stainless steel, you expose it to relatively low heat for extended periods of time. This process melts the material or substrate without removing the layers that protect it from oxidation or rust.

What kind of laser is needed to engrave stainless steel?
Fiber laser engravers are ideal for engraving stainless steel. A CO2 laser can also be used, but a marking solution must be applied to the surface beforehand. Many laser engraving contractors offer two laser options to achieve the customer’s desired look.

atomstack a5 m40

Let’s take a closer look at these two laser engraving techniques and how they perform on stainless steel.

A CO2 laser is a gas laser. Its core usually uses carbon dioxide or helium-neon gas. The older of the two methods, CO2 laser engraving is still commonly used, but operates less efficiently than fiber lasers.

CO2 laser cutters can engrave wood, plastic and metal, including stainless steel. However, CO2 lasers cannot directly engrave metal because the laser beam reflects off the surface. In order to engrave stainless steel, the material must first be pretreated with a marking solution such as CerMark or LaserBond.

This engraving style is ideal for light surface etching, including engraving stainless steel jewelry and other personalised items, as well as plaques and trophies.

Fiber laser machines are the latest development in the industry and are more efficient than CO2 lasers. Today, this is the preferred option for engraving or marking stainless steel.

Fiber lasers are more stable and very precise than CO2 lasers. Its power ranges from 4kW to 15kW or even 20kW, well above the threshold for CO2 lasers. For this reason, fiber lasers are more commonly used in industrial applications and large production runs where efficiency and speed are critical.

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Laser Engraving Materials

A laser tool can etch or cut material, these are its main functional processes. Therefore, common materials used for laser engraving include:

Glass: It is one of the top laser engraving materials. Laser work can be done on all eyeglasses for aesthetically pleasing results. It could be wine glasses, bottles, vases and cups.

Wood: It is a popular carving material because it is cheap and readily available. Other than that, you can laser engrave and cut any type of wood for different effects. The most common wood types used for carving include plywood, MDF, solid wood/solid wood, natural wood, particleboard, HDF, and veneer.

Glass etching

Marble and granite: These materials are mainly used for engraving photographs, this is because marble and granite are very effective in sculpting contrast. For a better aesthetic, use dark materials.

Bricks and Stones: They are great for carving items that will be exposed to different weather elements. This makes them ideal for engraving pieces for memorial sites and outdoor patios.

Leather: This material, like fabric, can be customized by engraving. Engraved leather is in high demand and the most common engraving materials include natural leather, suede, synthetic leather and suede.

Metals: All types of metals can be engraved, but the most common include: stainless steel, iron, steel, brass, aluminum, and silver.

Acrylic: It is a durable, reliable and lightweight alternative to glass. There are two types of acrylic sheets, extruded and cast. Therefore, they respond differently to the engraving process. Cast acrylic sheets often produce a frosted white appearance compared to the original material. Extruded acrylic, on the other hand, usually stays clear because it doesn’t create as much contrast.

What machine settings are included with the laser engraver?
The laser settings determine the output of the cutter. For example, a faster speed usually indicates that the machine will have less exposure time to your material, and vice versa. The four main types of machine setups include:

1. Power
The power setting controls the energy level in the laser device. It is worth noting that as the power increases, the energy levels in the laser also increase. In general, the energy required to penetrate a material generally varies by type and thickness. Deeper cuts and vertical walls require more energy than thin tapers because more energy is required to remove more material.

NOTE: Extremely high energy levels can cause burnt edges and smoke. Overall, lower power results in straighter edges and shallower cuts. At the same time, more power results in wider edges and deeper cuts.

2. Speed
Speed ​​affects how fast the laser carriage moves. There is a direct relationship between speed and power (energy). To do this, you need to understand that the longer the exposure to an area, the more energy that area receives. Therefore, we can conclude that velocity can be used to control the duration of energy concentration at a point.

atomstack a5 pro

Lower speeds result in slower cuts but deeper cuts, while higher speeds result in faster cuts but shallower cuts because less energy is concentrated at one point in this case. Understand that your designs may end up with bad edges if you are extremely slow or too fast.

3. Frequency
Frequency settings for laser engravers are usually measured in Hertz (HZ). This decisive parameter represents the number of laser pulses generated in one second. For example, CO2 lasers have a frequency range of 1,000 Hz – 60,000 Hz.

In some cases, frequency may also be referred to as pulses per inch (PPI). It gives you ultimate control over how many times the pulse can be highlighted within a given object distance during an engraving or cutting process. Note that the higher the frequency, the more output pulses are generated. This eventually causes the pulses to overlap, resulting in a smoother cut.

However, higher frequency values ​​mean more heat is generated during the cutting process, which can cause some materials to char or melt. At the same time, the lower frequency means fewer pulses are generated in a spaced manner, which often results in perforated lines.

atomstack a10 pro

4. Key points
Focus is important to provide the best cutting results for different material thicknesses. Laser beams are required to facilitate engraving or cutting by ”focusing” the light on a specific area.

To adjust the focus of the laser engraver, you will need to adjust the Z axis down depending on the thickness of the material you are using. Just measure the thickness of the material you want to engrave, and adjust the engraver’s backup based on the thickness level achieved. you can focus

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Laser Cut Acrylic Plexiglass

There’s no denying that working with some laser-cut materials is a lot of fun for both novice and experienced cutters. Our laser cutting experts at Vector & Raster agree that acrylic is one of the most satisfying materials in and out of the studio. The flame polished edges created during the acrylic laser cutting process look great, just flip your design over and you can choose a glossy or matte finish for your laser cut acrylic parts in the Pastel range over make acrylic a use A wide range of materials for a variety of production jobs.

Custom Laser Cut Acrylic Production
Acrylic, also known as plexiglass, is a thick plastic that can be produced with glossy finish, matte finish, mirror finish, glitter finish and many other amazing effects. We usually use acrylic sheets of different thicknesses, available anywhere from 1mm to 10mm thick.

acrylic laser cutter

The large number of acrylic sheets used by our laser cutting experts at Vector & Raster are typically around 3mm thick as they are available in a wide range of colours and finishes, including burst pastels that can be used to create attractive and eye-catching signs, in countless other commercial or consumer products.

Using laser cutting technology to cut larger acrylic sheets, our laser cutting experts are able to create high quality acrylic signs, 3 dimensional 2 dimensional signs, and provide our customers with a final product that looks good in the end.

In today’s blog post, we’ll take a closer look at acrylic’s potential for producing a variety of laser-cut products, including corporate signage or logos, and consumer products. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at one of our latest projects involving laser cut acrylic in one of our favorite pastel colors.

Our Custom Laser Cut Acrylic Projects
For this particular project, the client attempted to create a series of whimsical designs for custom products, inspired by a selection of beloved Pokemon, which was a lot of fun for our laser cutting technicians. The plexiglass used to complete this project is pale yellow and 3mm thick. Customers choose to use the matte finish of acrylic on their smooth surface, so our laser cutting experts make sure the acrylic is flipped over to its preferred side to ensure the finished product is to the customer’s liking.

Using precision cutting and engraving techniques, our laser cutting technicians are able to produce clear designs with all the details needed to meet customer specifications.

These atomstack laser-cut acrylic panels are also finished to ensure high-quality flame-polished edges so the final product looks smooth from any angle and catches light when viewed from the side. The ability of this acrylic part to work with natural or artificial light also makes acrylic signage more visible than alternative laser-cut materials like wood or paper.

As you can see in the photo of one of the laser cut panels of the final product, the results of this project really speak for themselves. Both our laser cutting specialists and the client are very pleased with the results of this project, and the client may produce acrylic products in many other designs.

What can laser cut acrylic be used for?
In addition to being a valuable material for the production of laser-cut signs, laser-cut acrylic can be used in a wide range of other commercial and consumer products, including jewelry, accessories like earrings, ornaments like Christmas tree ornaments, and even cards or anything else you’d like to see Wedding invitations that stand the test of time.

The flexibility to choose a glossy or matte finish makes laser-cut acrylic a very popular material for makers of fancy jewelry or small boutiques looking to expand their original wares. Laser engraving directly on acrylic is also a very popular method for adding text or designs to logos or signage as well as smaller consumer products such as jewelry.

Essentially, laser cut acrylic is a versatile laser cut material that small business owners, independent manufacturers and large corporations can use to produce higher quality products and even as signage for their business premises, detail or decoration.

Why Laser Cut Acrylic with Vector & Raster?
With over 20 years of experience producing custom templates, designs and countless other laser cutting products for a range of independent and corporate clients, our laser cutting experts can bring your wildest project ideas to life. Our studio spaces are packed with rafters with laser cutting tools and techniques and an abundance of high quality laser cut materials to ensure all their finished products shine right at the source.

But of course it’s not just tools that make a good carpenter. All of our laser cutting experts have all the right industry knowledge and experience to deliver the best possible finished product at the end of every project they undertake.

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What is the difference between laser marking and engraving metal?

Laser technology has been around for a long time, enabling manufacturers to develop new ways to assemble and track their products. From welding plastics to engraving metal, lasers have a place in every industry. If you’re relatively new to the technology, you might be wondering what’s the difference between laser marking and laser engraving – but more importantly, which process is right for you.

Laser engraver

Laser processing method of metal
The term laser marking is often used as a word to describe a set of processes. This can range from surface marking to deep engraving, both of which leave ”marks”. Below are the industry standard terms we use to describe the types of tagging methods.

atomstack a5 20w

ablation. The terms laser engraving and laser etching are subtypes of this process, which differ by the depth of the cavity and the way light is reflected to show contrast. Laser engraving is an umbrella term for this method.

atomstack a5 20w settings
annealing. This is the surface level change of the metal to provide contrast for legibility. Laser marking is used to describe this method more generally.
Although these terms are often used interchangeably, there are differences between laser marking, laser engraving, and laser etching.

atomstack a5 pro

What is laser engraving/ablation?
Laser engraving, or ablation, is a process that involves high laser power and high-speed movement of the laser beam to rapidly vaporize material, revealing an image at eye level. This creates durable cavities in the material and is usually done before the powder coating process. Ablation can also be used to remove thin layers of materials such as paint, anodizing, and plastic films. The process called laser cleaning is a form of ablation used to remove contaminants such as rust and oil from metal, as well as to clean molds used in injection molding.

There are two main subtypes of ablation, called engraving and etching. Etching is similar to engraving, but is identified by raised edges that reflect light differently and have a shallower depth.

Engraving depths up to 0.02″ and above
Etch depth typically not more than 0.001″

Sample A was engraved using an ultrafast picosecond fiber laser. The edges are clean and the surrounding material is not affected by the heat of the laser. This is called the heat affected zone (HAZ). We discussed this topic in our previous article on the unique processing capabilities of ultrafast lasers.

atomstack r3

What is laser marking/annealing?
Laser marking or annealing is the process of modifying the surface properties of a material through an oxidation process to produce contrasting marks. This oxidation is accomplished by slowly heating the material at low power to attract carbon to the surface, creating a clear mark. This process works on steel and most plastics that contain carbon molecules. When annealed, material is not removed from the surface, resulting in a smooth finish.

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Tips for Laser Engraving Wood

Wood in nature has a very different fate. Some low-quality wood was simply used as fuel and quickly disappeared without a trace. Some have been transformed into various furniture or tools to provide convenience for people’s lives. However, there are other woods that can be loved and cherished. This wood is never pure wood, but a work of art or craft engraved by a laser machine.

best laser cutter for wood

Laser engraving technology taps the potential value of wood. A rough or even messy piece of wood is worthless until it is carved. However, laser engraving technology is not as easy as we say. Why? This article aims to give you some explanation with 6 tips on how to laser engrave wood.

1. Low-viscosity masking tape

Before carving the wood, cover the surface of the wood with low-tack tape. In this case, there will be no brown or grey spots on the surface of the wood caused by smoke. When you’re done, remove the tape and you’ll find it’s cleaner than usual. This method can be time consuming if you are working on some very detailed projects. A paint scraper can then be used to speed things up.

atomstack a5 pro

2. Denatured alcohol

After the engraving work, prepare a bottle of denatured alcohol and a white cloth to clean the burn marks. Two things to note here – you must spray the alcohol evenly to protect the engraving, and you should use a colorless cloth (such as white) to wipe the burn marks without getting smudged by the dye.

3. Burn at 1200 DPI

Higher engraving resolutions can be achieved by adding more dots per inch (DPI). More DPI usually means more laser shots. Therefore, if this method is used, the wood can be burned deeper, so two carvings may be required. Therefore, you should strike a balance between sculpting resolution and time spent.

atomstack s10 pro

4. Take back your attention 0.2″

Do not set the focus of the laser automatically, but manually. You can use a digital caliper to lower the laser bed by 0.2 inches, which reduces mess and smoke. This way, not only will the carved plank surface be cleaner than ever, but you’ll spend less time cleaning the plank surface. This method is especially recommended when sculpting very detailed projects.

5. Use real hardwood for large carvings

Our past sculpting experience has taught us that plywood doesn’t work as well as we thought. Then we chose hardwood for large carvings for 3 reasons. First of all, the texture of the wood surface is consistent and beautiful. The second is that hardwood is heavier than plywood, which can guarantee higher carving quality. The last one is that the hardwood surface can be completely controlled.

6. Do some woodcut experiments

Although we don’t machine plywood very well compared to hardwood, we do think you can carve plywood perfectly with skilled craftsmanship and an advanced carver. It is recommended to do more engraving experiments on different kinds of wood to find a better laser solution.

atomstack r3

Laser engraving wood is a common technology in the laser engraving industry, but further mining the great value of wood is the eternal mission of laser engraving technology and machines. Therefore, we still have a long way to go in improving laser technology and processes.

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