To engrave is to personalize, to imbue objects with an unique imprint. Many things can be purposefully engraved, such as a baseball bat bearing the name of its owner, a gunstock with hand-designed checkering, or a minimalist desk with engraved partitioned ingoing and outgoing “boxes.” Engraving is also great for adding sentimental value- on picture frames, brass cups, or award plaques.

Using a burning laser is a fun and advantageous method of engraving. Using high-energy light to mark material means that there is no physical contact between the material and the source of heat, which allows for greater fluidity without the physical pressure. It also means that the tool will not need to be replaced nearly as frequently; with no scraping or gouging, nothing is being worn down aside from the occasional battery.

There are a great variety of materials that can be engraved using a burning laser, each with their own considerations. Wood generally works well, depending on the type- harder woods are reliably less prone to damage than soft woods, which simply burn too well for the purposes of engraving. This is not to say it can’t be done, only that care must be taken. Another thing to keep in mind is that burn marks will be left on the sides of the engraving path. This can be prevented by masking the area to be engraved.

Leather also does very well with laser engraving, giving you more freedom than awls and stamps will, and many similar fabrics produce comparable results, such as synthetic leather or other polyesters. Additionally, burning lasers are excellent for cutting certain difficult fabrics that would otherwise fray at the edges, leaving a crisp cut with the maximum of material retained. A fabric excellent for engraving, surprisingly, is cotton, provided it is not too loose.

Lasers cannot easily engrave metal, but that fact is made irrelevant by the volume of objects in everyday life that are made from one kind of coated metal or other. By burning away the coating, there can be a stunning contrast of colors that fully accentuate creative designs. Brass is a good metal to use in this way, as long as there is a layer of lacquer beneath the finish coating to protect the metal from oxidizing.

Plastics are engraved in much the same way, but experimentation must be done to ascertain how a certain plastic will respond to engraving. And of course, safety precautions must be taken with all types of engraving, especially with the potential for noxious fumes emitted as byproducts. But the advantages speak for themselves, and Nitrox offers high-quality burning lasers that are capable of handling the wide range of materials demanding to be engraved.