Ask A Designer – Laser Engraving Vs. Printing

Written by
Kyle Sherman
Published on
February 19, 2022 8:00:00 AM PST February 19, 2022 8:00:00 AM PSTth, February 19, 2022 8:00:00 AM PST

Customer: What’s the difference between laser engraving and printing?

PlaqueMaker Designer: Laser engraving is a modern take on traditional engraving. We use four processes for laser engraving at PlaqueMaker:


1. We laser fuse the image to the surface of the material. This applies to brass, copper, bronze, stainless steel and titanium.


2. We frost the image onto the back of the material. This applies to glass and clear acrylic.


3. We engrave directly into the material; it is a very shallow surface engraving. This applies to solid cherry, bamboo, granite and marble.


4. We laser off the top layer of material to reveal a different color underneath. This applies to plastic and laser metal.


We use two processes for printing at PlaqueMaker:


1. Sublimation is a printing process that heat-presses ink permanently into the material. These products are made for indoor use only and will fade in direct sunlight.


2. UV Color Printing uses the same type UV-stable ink as the auto industry. The printing has a textured, raised effect with vivid color. Designed for indoor and outdoor use, the printing will last for up to two years. Color printing can be used to print full color photos.