Laser Engraving

Laser engraving the process of removing material from a surface using laser light, either through ablation or vaporisation. Suitable for many different metals and coated metals, plastics, timber, glass and a wide range of other substrates.

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Laser Etching

Is more or less the same as laser engraving, however usually refers to glass or lithographic plates. Is also sometimes incorrectly used to describe the application of thermal marking compound (cermark®, thermark ® etc) to metal by laser (laser etched black). If there is any difference to engraving, it would be depth, etching being generally perceived as more shallow.

Laser Marking

Laser Marking involves using laser light to change the surface appearance of a substrate, either through burning or altering the chemical composition of the substrate. Also using third party agents and compounds in conjunction with the laser (thermal marking compounds like cermark®, thermark ® etc). Usually used for part marking, inventory control etc. Generally only suitable for some plastics and stainless steel, however exceptions apply. Laser marking sometimes also refers to pre or post-processed items – eg. oxidised brass. Note – some engravers claim to be engraving metal whey they are really marking metal.

Laser Blackening (also known as Laser Annealing, Surgical Blackening, Carbon Migration Annealing)

Laser Blackening is a process similar to laser marking where very little/no material is removed but the surface colour is changed through extreme heat exchange in a very small area. Laser annealing leaves a rainbow/grey or black  mark. Suitable for stainless steel and some other carboniferous metals it is usually used in the marking of sensitive instruments where an unblemished & smooth surface is essential or where a high contrast mark is required.


Can be confusing because of interchanged terms. Involves using an oxidising agent to change the colour of metal. In engraving terms, oxidising is used to alter the colour of either the engraving or the metal, usually for contrast. We successfully engrave and oxidise a wide range of metals including brass, pewter, aluminium and many more. Oxidising is just method of blackening. performs all of these services for a wide range of  clients. For more info, please request a quote or drop us an email –