Rotary versus laser technology

The Beginner’s Guide to Engraving: Rotary versus laser

Terri Bristow has been with Gravotech for about two and a half years and is currently the Marketing Specialist. She graduated from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania with a BSBA in Marketing. When she’s not workin,g you can usually catch her riding horses or hanging out with Umphrey, her beloved chocolate lab.

An engraving shop can handle various specializations such as general signage, industrial engraving, corporate awards, or personalization. So, when you’re making a decision as to what equipment to purchase, always ask yourself, what will I be engraving? This helps you make the first important decision of whether to go with a rotary engraver or a laser engraver.

A few different features of each include:

Rotary Engravers

  • ADA Braille sign fabrication
  • Routing, engraving and cutting of materials, including metal and PVC
  • Engraving on uneven surfaces
  • Elegant and ornate engraving of jewelry and awards with faceted tool marks
  • Efficient engraving process for large filled text
  • Deep engraving into metal for industrial rating plates and part marking
  • 2.5D and 3D routing options for sign elements, molds and dies
  • Printed media cut-out of substrates including metal and PVC
  • Wood routing, engraving and cutting
  • Applications where a beveled edge is desirable (name badges, small signs, ADA tactile)
  • Does not require exhaust or filtration
  • Complements the abilities of a laser engraver

Laser Engravers

  • Ability to engrave and cut fine characters, details and profiles
  • Raster image processing
  • Photographic image processing on high-definition materials
  • Engrave and cut fabric and paper products
  • Wood etching and profile cutting
  • Rubber stamps and stencils
  • Printed media cut-out
  • 2.5D and 3D engraving abilities
  • Flame polished cut edges on acrylic
  • Finishes ADA tactile elements without the need to clean chips after processing
  • QR, UDI and Barcode processing
  • Ability to produce black markings on metal when marking compounds are applied 
  • Fewer consumable items
  • Complements the abilities of a rotary engraver

—Terri Bristow, Gravotech