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Laser Engraving vs CNC Engraving for Metal – What’s the Difference

Laser Engraving vs CNC Engraving for Metal

If you’re looking to engrave metals, you have two main options: laser engraving or CNC engraving. Both methods have their advantages, but some key differences between them can help you decide which is best for your needs. Let’s explore the differences between laser engraving and CNC engraving of metals.

Laser Engraving

Laser engraving involves using a focused beam of light to create an image on a metal surface. It is a non-contact process that is accurate, fast, and relatively low-cost compared to other metal engraving processes. It also produces very fine details in the engraved image that can be difficult to achieve with other methods. However, it is limited by its ability to only work on flat surfaces, so if you need to engrave curved or angled surfaces, then laser engraving may not be suitable.

CNC Engraving

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, and it involves using a computer-controlled machine tool to cut into the surface of the metal. This process is more versatile than laser engraving because it can be used on flat and curved surfaces and complex shapes like 3D objects. In addition, CNC machines can also produce much deeper cuts than laser machines, allowing them to create more intricate designs and patterns in metals. However, CNC machines are slower than laser machines and require more setup time before each job. They also tend to be more expensive than their laser counterparts due to the complexity of their machinery.

Difference Between Laser Engraving and CNC Engraving for Metal

  • Laser engraving is a process that uses a laser to etch a design onto a surface.
  • CNC engraving is a process that uses a computer-controlled router to etch a design onto a surface.
  • Laser engraving is more precise than CNC engraving.
  • CNC engraving is faster than laser engraving.
  • Laser engraving can be used on a wider range of materials than CNC engraving.
  • CNC engraving is less expensive than laser engraving.


When deciding between laser engraving vs CNC engraving for metals, it’s important to consider the specific requirements of your project. Laser engravings are typically faster and less expensive than CNC machining, but they cannot produce deep cuts or complex shapes like CNC machining can. On the other hand, CNC machining requires more setup time and costs more money, but it allows for greater design flexibility and complexity when working with metals. By determining which features are most important for your project, you will be able to choose an appropriate method for getting the job done right!

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