3 Popular Laser Engraving Techniques

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Laser engraver can be used in a variety of ways – leaving permanent tattoos or some 3D graphic artwork on wood, acrylic, aluminum and more. However, given the large number of different engraving solutions - choosing the right one for yourself or your business can be a daunting task.

Laser engraver can be used in a variety of ways – leaving permanent tattoos or some 3D graphic artwork on wood, acrylic, aluminum and more. However, given the large number of different engraving solutions - choosing the right one for yourself or your business can be a daunting task.

laser master 10w

To save you time and trouble, HTPOW has put together a short, comprehensive guide to help you understand the most popular engraving solutions...and...help you choose the one that will give you the perfect result! Choose the most suitable laser engraving and cutting machine for you, of course the most recommended is Ortur Laser Master 3.

Preview Summary

The engraving industry has come a long way in the past few decades of our time.

Most engraving methods today fall into two broad categories: CNC rotary engraving and laser engraving. However, one is not suitable for brittle or soft materials, and the other can cause dangerous, life-threatening situations. Therefore, the two machines can be used interchangeably in many applications. So now more and more people choose to use laser engraving technology, and laser engraving machine companies such as OrturxTool and LaserPecker have achieved very rapid development in recent years.

1. CNC rotary engraving

CNC rotary engraving is very similar to traditional - the ancient technique of hand engraving. There is only one difference between this milling machine and traditional engraving, which is very suitable for highly detailed engraving.
Rotary machines are designed to produce ideal copies of works with rich detail in a well-polished, precise and short-term manner.
A CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) mill has a 3-axis tool that follows and interprets certain paths (lines) that the designer has pre-drawn in the CAD software.
G-code - is the language that tells a rotary machine to cut material or cut (engrav) to a certain depth. It also reads in-line, out-of-line and online cutting commands.
3 axis

  1. X axis - from left to right
  2. Y axis - from top to bottom
  3. Z axis - for zero and process


CNC rotary machines are capable of performing deep cuts in a variety of materials from plastic to aluminum. Routers are computer-controlled drills that can carve shapes and patterns of all sizes and brands.

Flat slot engraving

  1. Flat groove engraving is a milling technique that removes material leaving a flat area on the bottom of the sign face.
  2. The cutting depth can be customized according to individual needs.
  3. The great advantage of flat slot engraving is that custom signs can be drawn quickly and easily.
  4. Cast acrylic flat channel engraving with white matte finish.
  5. Cast acrylic flat channel engraving with matte finish.
  6. Plane wood sign engraving sample
  7. Wooden - flat groove - lettering

V-groove engraving

This technology is widely used in the signage production industry, mainly for making doorplates, desktop lobby signs, decorations, etc.
Unlike flat groove engraving, V-groove has thin lines with a cusp - both are ideal for graphics and lettering. The final engraved text can be painted or gilded.
V-groove works great on wood, plywood, MDF and other composites, plastics and more.

2. CNC laser engraving

Laser engraving sends laser pulses to cut – burn or cut through large volumes of material.
The laser head runs back and forth to produce sharp cuts and highly detailed engravings.
Amazing materials for laser engraving are acrylic, wood, Lexan and more.

Depending on the final effect, we can control the direction, speed, depth and size of fine carving on different surface properties.
This computerized machine must have illustrator files in order to laser cut a certain thickness and a certain line.
Different laser machines offer various depths to personalize and tailor the right material. For example, dense materials can handle engravings up to 0.020 deep.


A laser beam removes selected areas of the subject material, creating the desired effect or mark. There are two types of such markings.

There is a slight difference between etching and marking since engraving is a generic term for both.

Laser Marking

Laser marking is an umbrella term - it includes a whole range of laser applications. Markings create discolorations and patterns (often darker than the actual material) on the surface, changing the appearance and properties of the material.
Again, no ink is used - laser marking is permanent and environmentally friendly.
Materials such as wood and leather are ideal for marking – the desired effect only depends on the intensity of the laser beam.

Laser Etching

Etching is a subset of laser marking, between laser marking and engraving.
Laser etching deforms the material, leaving a permanent message that raises the surface higher than the rest. Unlike engraving, which can cut as deep as 0.125", it only has a depth of 0.001".

3. 3D engraving

CNC milling creates 3D signs at the push of a button. The milling machine can carve graphics and decorations into a fine work of art.
The 3D design process takes place on materials like wood (of course), acrylic, and even metal.
Multi-axis milling machines use an extensive array of CNC tools to create wavy curves, much like hand carving - but in less time and with less labor to complete.
But not only that.


3d engraving on a CNC router is similar to bright cut engraving with a V-point engraving tool. The G-code language (the encrypted dialect of the CNC router) interprets vector and raster images from the results obtained by the software. The V point can be changed 360 degrees. These tools mimic the cutting and texturing motion of hand tools such as roulettes and polishers by removing material as the workpiece rotates through 360 degrees


  • There are two types of 3D engraving: surface 3D engraving and subsurface internal engraving.
  • 3D Sculpting - Surface and Subsurface Sculpting
  • Surface 3D Mill Engraving
  • Surface 3D sculpting is a broad term and is often referred to as 3D sculpting. In fact, it's computer polished, so it's perfect for unique, high-quality graphics and artwork.
  • Rotary machines can create 2D and of course 3D shapes, 3D contours, etc.

3D-Miller Door Engraving

  • Subsurface 3D Laser Engraving
  • Have you ever wondered how they create 3D images inside acrylic signs?
  • Also known as Vitrography, it's pretty effective no matter what you think.
  • But how do they get images of the inside of glass-like materials?
  • Well, you see, a laser engraving system has a lens that focuses the beam of light to a tightly focused spot.
  • So, due to the optically transparent properties of acrylic, this point can actually be inside the material. Thus, the laser beam creates internal microcracks with a spot size of 40-80 microns (microns),
  • with the added benefit of not damaging the surface.

In Conclusion

Engraved signs have a wide variety of uses, from trade show displays to room numbers, informational signs, office nameplates, directions and more.