Laser engraving is done by means of an optically amplified beam of light that delivers energy to the surface of the material being cut. A high percentage of the light energy is converted into heat. The laser uses this high heat to efficiently vaporize portions of the material. Lasers are capable of cutting crisp, sharp lines at very specific depths, and they can even be used to cut intricate shapes in hard materials like sheet metal. Laser engraving is much faster than traditional engraving methods and has a much higher degree of accuracy and fine detail.
Designs are delivered to the laser engraver via computer, so the possibilities are nearly endless. With laser engraving, finer line widths are possible because there are no burs or bits doing the engraving, eliminating the need to replace consumables like burs in rotary engraving.
Laser engravers are probably the most versatile when it comes to the types of materials they can engrave. Fibre lasers can engrave hard materials (such as ceramic and metal). Laser engraving can also be used with certain semi-precious stones and gemstones due to its precision and low risk of damage to the materials.