Laser engraving is the removal of material from the top surface down to a specified depth. (See Figure 1 below.)
The material type and laser power level determine the maximum engraving depth and speed of engraving. Typically shallow laser engraving is a faster process than deep laser engraving. Additionally, lower density materials engrave faster than higher density materials. Increasing laser power level generally improves laser engraving speed.
CO2 lasers with 10.6 micron wavelength are primarily used for material removal to engrave non-metal materials.
CO2 lasers are not typically used for metal engraving because most of the laser energy is reflected. However, fiber lasers with 1.06 micron wavelength can be used for shallow engraving into metal.
Learn more about why laser technology is an ideal tool for meeting tight tolerance specifications when used as a laser cutter and how laser technology enables distinctive design characteristics when used as a laser engraver or laser marker.