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Rotary versus laser technology

The Beginner’s Guide to Engraving: Rotary versus laser

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