Laser Stone Engraving: The Complete Guide
Before the introduction of laser engravers, engraving stones was a pretty complicated and time-consuming process. Plus, there was always a probability of damaging the object.
But laser machines have made engraving stones easier than ever before. Without prior experience or knowledge, the engraving can be done with perfection.
Stone is a tough material, which is why engraving it using a laser is doubtful for some people. We will clear all your doubts and explain why it is the best way compared to the methods. Let’s see how laser stone engraving works.
In This Article
- Can You Laser Engrave Stone?
- What Can You Do with Stone Laser Engraving?
- Best Laser Engraver for Stone
Can You Laser Engrave Stone?
Yes, you can laser engrave stone using a laser machine. The laser beams are powerful enough to engrave ceramics, stone, and similar materials.
The laser beams increase the temperature of the surface of the stone in no time. Due to the abrupt changes in the temperature and increasing to a very high point, the stone is engraved. The color on the surface of the material changes, or some particles from the surface are removed.
If the color is only changed, you only see the marking with almost no deep cuts. If the power is too high, some material from the surface is removed, but it is still minimal. You need to adjust the power and speed of the laser according to your needs.
Also, you need to select the right type of laser for this purpose.
A CO2 laser is a preferred option for engraving stones. Due to its immense power, it can easily engrave stones and similar materials.
How Many CO2 Laser Watt to Engrave Stone
The commonly available CO2 lasers have an optical power of 30W or more. This power is more than enough to engrave stone. Without using 100% power, you can engrave the material at an excellent speed.
There is no exact setting for any laser machine for a specific material. The settings depend on the type of laser, optical power, and other variables. , there is only one pass needed to engrave stone.
The best way is to run a power and speed test and figure out the best settings according to your needs. However, for a rough idea, we can still give you an example. A 40W CO2 laser can engrave stone at 30% power and 320mm/s. At this speed and power, there is only one pass needed to engrave stone.
If you get lighter results after engraving, you can increase the power or decrease the speed. Increasing power is a more suitable option as it will finish engraving quickly.
A CO2 laser will cost you around $3,500 to $5,000. They have a much higher cost compared to diode lasers, but they are still cost-effective when compared with fiber lasers. They can engrave a wide range of materials, such as stone, wood, acrylic, paper, metal, glass, ceramics, leather, etc.
Can a Diode Laser Engrave Stone
Yes, a diode laser engraver can also engrave stone. People usually prefer CO2 lasers for this purpose because of their immense power, but a diode laser can also engrave stone, and it is a more cost-effective option.
The commonly available diode lasers have a blue light and an optical power of 5-10W. However, you can also find 20W diode lasers from some companies. With these machines, you can easily engrave stones. But if you need better, faster, and darker engraving, you can go for the 20W laser.
Again, there are no exact settings; you need to do a power-speed test. But usually, a 10W laser machine can easily raster engrave at 30% power and 50mm/s and vector engrave at 60% power and 50mm/s. A 20W diode laser will require less power and can engrave stones at a higher speed.
If you are looking for an affordable option, then a diode could be a perfect choice. You can easily buy a diode laser for $700 to $1,200, depending on the optical power and features.
With minimal investment, you can start a laser engraving business and engrave stone, metal, acrylic, wood, and a few other materials.
Can a Fiber Laser Engrave Stone
Fiber lasers are very powerful, and they can even cut and engrave metals. They are mostly preferred for metals, but they can also engrave and cut other materials, including stone.
A fiber laser can easily engrave stones, and you get deeper marks at an incredible speed due to the immense power of the laser. But keep in mind that fiber laser machines are quite expensive. Depending on the optical power, they can cost $5,000 to $20,000 or even more.
If you are looking for an option for a small business, a fiber laser is not the right option. It is very expensive, and you won’t be able to recover your investment soon. Therefore, for small businesses, hobbyists, and artists, diode and CO2 lasers are the best.
Advantages of Engraving Stone Using Laser Over Other Technologies
There are other ways of engraving a stone, such as drilling and some traditional methods. However, a laser engraver is the best option for stone engraving. Let’s discuss why.
a. No Wear and Tear
The first benefit of laser engraving is no wear and tear. Engraving with drills and chisels is quite difficult, and mostly, people end up damaging the object.
If you are doing it with your hand, it is quite difficult to control the force. There can be cracks and other wear and tear on the object. Even if you are using a CNC drilling machine, there are chances of wear & tear because there is physical contact.
When you engrave a stone with a laser machine, there is no physical contact made between the machine and the object. Therefore, there is no wear and tear on the object. You get perfect and fine results every time without any hassle.
b. Quick Results
Laser engraving machines are very fast. They engrave stones in no time, and most importantly, you get the best results.
If you are using a powerful machine, then the speed can be more than 100mm/s or more, depending on the type of the machine and the optical power. The engraving can be done in one only pass without any pre and post treatments.
c. Incredible Accuracy
The accuracy of laser engraving machines is phenomenal. It does not matter how fine the details are; the machines are very accurate. Their sturdy design, positioning sensors, and accurate motors keep the engraving as accurate as possible.
With some laser machines, the accuracy can be up to 0.0004 inches, which means you won’t see any errors or defects. Even if you are doing vector engraving, the repositioning accuracy can be up to 0.0007 inches. Therefore, the laser returns to the same point if needed, and there won’t be any noticeable error.
d. Intricate Designs
Using CNC drills and traditional methods, you cannot engrave very intricate designs. Due to the physical contact, the object can be damaged if the design is too small and intricate.
However, with a laser machine, you can engrave without any worries. You can engrave any type of design, irrespective of its complexity and size. The laser machine will offer perfect results.
The laser spot of the machines is usually smaller than 0.10 x 0.10mm. Thus, you can engrave fine details using the machine.
e. Waste-free Process
There is almost no or very little waste when you engrave stone using a laser. Mostly, the laser marks stones and does not remove the material. But even if it removes some material, it will be very minimal. Therefore, there is no waste in the process. You won’t be covered with dust and particles of the object.
What Can You Do with Stone Laser Engraving?
You can engrave a wide range of objects that are made from stone, marble, and ceramic. But there are some favorite items you can try as they are hot-selling and profitable.
Engrave a Photo on Marble Stone
You can easily engrave your photo or any picture you like on marble stones. The engraving can be done in only one pass. There is no pretreatment needed; place the marble under the machine and start engraving.
People like to have engraved photos, so engraving on marble stone is an excellent idea. It is an excellent gift item for an anniversary, wedding, or engagement.
It does not matter how detailed the picture is; the laser machine can engrave the tiniest details in no time. You will get excellent results.
Laser Engraved Slate Coaster
Slate coasters are one of the most demanded products on the market. People love to have personalized and engraved slate coasters in their homes. It is also excellent for parties as it can astonish visitors.
These coasters are available on the market, so you only need to engrave them using your laser machine. It is a perfect idea for beginners.
You can engrave your photo, quote, logo, or anything you like. The most important thing is the contrast of the engraving; it looks phenomenal.
You can sell these coasters online or give them as a gift to your loved ones. Other than that, it is also an excellent decor item.
Customized Ceramic Mug
Drinking tea or coffee in a personalized mug is a worthy experience. Therefore, people have their special and personalized mugs.
You can also make personalized mugs using a laser engraving machine. You can engrave whatever you like, but keep in mind that you need a rotary attachment to rotate the mug while engraving. Otherwise, the picture or graphics will be skewed.
Best Laser Engraver for Stone
xTool D1 Pro is an affordable, compact, and powerful laser engraving and cutting machine that you can use to engrave stones. Whether you are an artist, hobbyist, DIY lover, or want to run a small laser business from home, it is an ideal option.
The machine comes in three variants. You can get the 5W, 10W or 20W machine, but if you need both, you can purchase the laser module separately as well.
The 20W laser module is quite powerful, and it is the world’s most powerful diode laser. So, it can engrave stone without any hassle. You get dark and visible results in less time and only one pass.
The 10W machine is also excellent, and it is preferred for fine engraving because its laser spot measures only 0.08 x 0.06mm. You can choose any of them or both according to your requirements.
If you are using the 10W machine, you can set the power between 30-60W and the speed at 50mm/s to get the best results. You can do both vector and raster engraving, but for raster engraving, the power will be less.
For instance, 30W and 50mm/sec for raster engraving and 60W and 50mm/sec for vector engraving. These are only the practical values that work most of the time. But you can do a speed and power test to determine the best settings according to your machine and material. The 20W machine can do the job faster and at low power settings as well.
xTool D1 Pro has tons of extraordinary features. Its sturdy structure, powerful motors, and mechanism offer optimal accuracy that can reach 0.01mm. You get perfect and accurate results.
It is built to last for a long time, so it is quite suitable for small businesses. Even if you are a beginner, you can easily use the machine as it is beginner friendly and comes with special and simple software.
The best part is the accessories. You can use the rotary attachment to rotate mugs, stones, and other objects. You can engrave almost any cylindrical or spherical object with perfection.
Moreover, the engraving area of the machine is 430 x 390mm, which is large and suitable for a wide range of objects. Furthermore, you can double the area using the extension.
The machine is completely safe to use. It has built-in safety features, such as fire detection and automatic turn-off. You can use it in your home, garage, small shop, or anywhere else without any worries. It is a perfect machine that can work on various materials, including stone, ceramics, wood, acrylic, and metal, so you can engrave and create different products.
Using a laser engraving and cutting machine, you can easily engrave stones, ceramics, and marbles. It offers incredible results in no time.
You can use CO2 or Diode laser machines for engraving stones. Diode laser machines are quite affordable and suitable for small businesses and homes. You can grab a suitable machine and start engraving stones and other materials.
We have discussed xTool D1 Pro, which is a diode laser machine. It offers high accuracy, excellent speed, and fine results. It is equipped with extraordinary features and is ideal for engraving stones, ceramics, tiles, wood, acrylic, glass, metals, and some other materials.