Can laser engraving be colored?

Color laser marking, or color laser engraving, as it is also known, is the process of adding color to an object being marked. Color laser engraving is a laser engraving technology that adds color to engraved objects. This is usually achieved by heating the surface of the material to form an oxide layer after which visible light can be reflected on it. It is this light that creates the appearance of color.

In some cases, a color dye powder is spread on the object and then melted into the engraving with an engraving machine. The best and most popular way to perform color engraving or color marking is by using a MOPA fiber laser. The principle of laser engraving on metals is the removal of the surface of the material with UV rays. The size of the slot obtained at the local heating point depends on the focus of the lens and the radiation power.

A side effect of the interaction of the laser with some metals is a physical and chemical reaction called the thermal tint effect, which results in the change of the color of the metal surface. A high-power laser is used to heat the metal surface and oxidize it without vaporizing the material. This method does not produce engravings with high contrast and therefore cannot be used for complex engravings. This results in a color mark on the surface of the workpiece without removing the material and is often referred to as color laser marking.

Whether you want to add a little vibrancy to your company logo or print an eye-catching image on your wedding rings, you can make it possible by laser engraving in color. In this technique, when re-solidified, each laser pulse creates an equivalent molten pool that results in a diffractive surface of the molten bath. This precise control allows the amount of energy absorbed by the metal to be altered, which in turn produces engravings of different colors. However, the ability of color laser engraving to withstand abrasive conditions depends on the depth of the engraving.

Color laser engraving changes the outer layer of the metal and introduces a range of colors to the engraved parts. For this reason, the overlay method of color engraving is not suitable for engraving thin surfaces. The relationship between color change and laser energy in stainless steel color laser marking. Stainless steel is capable of producing the most colors with different laser engraving parameters, making it the ideal metal for color engraving applications.

Depending on the engraving pattern, laser power and color addition technique, there are different methods for producing color laser engravings on metals. MOPA lasers provide independent control over pulse width and frequency parameters, allowing them to produce different colors when engraving or marking certain materials such as stainless steel and titanium. In this method, the laser head follows a continuous path that does not intersect or overlap at any point of the engraving. MOPA, which is an acronym for Master Oscillator Power Amplifier, is a type of laser fiber used in color engraving projects.

Shana Lall
Shana Lall

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