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Dark granite and laser engraving: creating everlasting memorials

August 26, 2010

What is laser engraving?

Laser engraving is a method of marking an object using a laser. Essentially, this technique uses a computer system to control the movements of a laser beam. Laser engraving allows very precise and detailed engravings to be done. Laser engraving engraves without coming into contact with the surface to be engraved. This eliminates the need to replace bit heads.

What is a laser engraver?  

A laser engraver is primarily composed of two parts: a laser and a controller. Add to this, a surface which needs to be engraved and you are ready to laser engrave! The laser is essentially a light beam that is powerful enough to chip away at the surface to be engraved. The controller is generally a computer system that is responsible for controlling the precise and steady movements required when laser engraving.

Precise control and depth

In order to ensure that the depth of the engraved design is precise and consistent, the laser beam is precisely regulated to ensure a consistent removal depth of material from the surface being engraved. The controller avoids criss-cross patterns to guarantee that the entire etched surface is only exposed to the laser beam once. The controller controls the direction, intensity, speed of movement and the width of the laser beam according to the design to be engraved.

Moving laser beam or surface?

Depending on the laser engraver, the controller either moves the laser beam according to the design that has been programmed in the computer or the controller moves the surface into the correct position for the laser.  The most common type of laser engraving is where the surface to be engraved remains stationary and the controller moves the laser around in X and Y directions. There are also instances where the surface to be engraved moves along the Y axis and the laser moves along the X axis.  

The laser beam’s focal point

The area where the laser comes into contact with the surface to be engraved is referred to as the focal point. Often less than a millimetre, this area and only this area, is drastically impacted when the laser beam passes over the surface. The energy delivered by the laser modifies the surface of the material under the focal point. The laser beam may either heat up the surface thus vaporizing the material in question, or the material may fracture and flake off. The material being removed from the surface of the material creates the desired image or lettering.  

A controller, a laser beam, and a beautiful surface, such as a piece of dark granite, coupled with your design allow us to provide you with a unique and everlasting memorial monument. Contact us at Granite McCutcheon, we can show you the endless possibilities that laser engraving allow us to accomplish.