Your browser is out of date.

You are currently using Internet Explorer 7/8/9, which is not supported by our site. For the best experience, please use one of the latest browsers.

Laser Engraving Basics

Laser engraving is a process where a laser beam displaces material from the surface of the part being marked. The removal of material creates depth. How deep your mark will be will depend on your laser settings, the type of material you’re marking, and the number of passes the laser makes during the mark.

For more information on laser engraving or to learn about other kinds of laser marks, check out our Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Laser Marking!

Request Your Free Copy

Laser engraving applications

The best applications for laser engraving is whenever you need to make a durable mark on a part that will experience excessive use or if you are marking a part that will undergo some kind of post-processing. For example, if you are marking anything that is going to experience a lot of wear and tear such as a metal pipe or drill bit, or if you’re going to be painting over the mark, you’ll want to laser engrave the part to get a deeper mark; the deeper the mark, the more visible it will be on a worn-down part and under coats of paint.

Laser engraving settings

When laser engraving or doing any other kind of laser mark with a fiber laser, you typically will need to adjust five settings: power, frequency, speed, hatch angles, and loop count. Understanding how these work together is key in finding the right settings for engraving.


Power is perhaps the simplest setting to understand. It is the power of your laser, usually measured in watts. The higher the wattage, the more powerful the laser. The more powerful the laser, the deeper your mark will be, assuming all your other settings are the same.


To understand frequency, we first need to understand the laser beam in a fiber laser. The laser beam is not a steady stream of energy. Instead, the laser emits light in pulses at regular intervals. Frequency determines the rate of the pulses. As frequency decreases, the number of pulses decreases, but the energy output per pulse increases. As frequency increases, the number of pulses increases, but the energy output per pulse decreases.


The speed setting determines the speed at which the laser moves across the mark. The lower the speed, the more material that is displaced. The higher the speed, the less material that is displaced.

Hatch angles

Hatch angles are the angles at which the laser engraves the mark. Usually, these hatches leave a line pattern in your mark. If you don’t care about the look of your mark, or if those lines are desirable, this may not matter.

Loop count

The last setting is the loop count. The loop count determines how many times the laser will go over your mark. More loops lead to more depth.

You can increase depth by increasing your laser’s power, decreasing the marking speed, lowering the frequency, or some combination of the three. However, doing so generates a lot of heat and can result in a dark, rough mark. You may even deform the material you’re marking.


Are you looking for more laser marking information? Request our Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Laser Marking eBook and you'll get:

  • An overview of the laser marking process
  • A description of the various types of marks a laser can make
  • An explanation of the different types of laser sources
  • A summary of the advantages of laser marking
  • A breakdown of a laser marking machine's basic settings
Request Your Free Copy