There are different types of marks you can achieve with laser marking machines.
If you want little to no depth in your marks, you can etch and anneal with a laser. But if you want to get deep laser marks, you’ll want to engrave.
Do you need help getting deep laser marks? Watch our latest SCHMIDT Tip — “Getting Deep With Lasers” to learn why you may need deep laser marks and how to set up your laser to get deeper marks with your laser. If you can’t watch the video, or if you would like to read a summary, continue reading below.
After you finish watching “Getting Deep With Lasers,” learn more about the GeoMARK Pro that was featured in the video, as well as the rest of our line of GeoMARK lasers, accessories, and custom options in our new laser catalog. If you need more information or want to discuss your laser marking application, we’d be happy to speak with you. Click here to find your Regional Manager’s contact info.
Why do you need deep laser marks?
If you’re marking something that will experience a lot of wear and tear, a deep, laser-engraved mark will last much longer than an annealed or etched mark.
Deep marks are also easier to see than shallow marks on parts that are later painted or undergo other kinds of post-processing.
Lastly, the marking requirements for some parts are determined by federal laws and industry regulations. Sometimes, engraving is the only way to make a mark deep enough to meet those requirements.
How do you get deep laser marks?
Now that we know why you might want a deep, laser-engraved mark, let’s talk about how to set up your laser to get one.
To get a deep laser mark, you can use a high-power setting; use a slow speed setting; make multiple loops (or passes) with your laser; or do a combination of all these options.
Each method for increasing depth has its pros and cons. The best one for you will depend on the laser marking machine you’re using and your application. Let’s look at each method one-by one.
Using a high-power setting is the simplest way to increase depth. However, depending on your laser, your highest power setting may not be strong enough to get significant depth in your mark.
For example, a laser capable of producing 100 watts is going to get much more depth than a laser only capable of producing 10 watts.
If you can’t get the depth you want by increasing your power, you can use a slow laser speed setting.
By slowing the speed of your laser, you increase the amount of time the laser spends over each section of the part you’re marking.
This gives your laser more time to displace material, resulting in a deeper mark.
Of course, a slow speed means it will take longer for your mark to finish.
Additionally, the combination of high power and slow speed can generate too much heat, leaving your mark looking burned and rough.
Making multiple loops with your laser creates depth by repeatedly going over the mark, displacing more and more material with each pass.
As with slowing your laser speed, making multiple loops will increase the amount of time it takes to complete your mark.
However, because the laser isn’t spending a long time at any one spot, you’re less likely to get a burnt, rough mark.
What’s the best way to get a deep laser mark?
The best method to increase the depth of your laser engraving will depend on your laser, application, and goals. What is your laser capable of? Does the look of the mark matter? What material are you marking? How quickly do you need to make each mark?
Once you have the answers to these questions, knowing how power, speed, and the number of loops affect the depth of your mark will help you find the best settings for your mark.