Color Laser Engraving: Enhance Your Creativity and Business

by Winnie Li on September 18, 2022

Aren’t you bored of getting the same black color after engraving and cutting? Wouldn’t it be exciting to have some vivid colors?

Color engraving is possible, and it allows you to get various colors that make your object more appealing. It can boost your business by enhancing your creativity. However, it cannot be done on all materials.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about color laser engraving. We will explain how it is done, which materials can be color engraved, and which machine is the best for this purpose. You will get the answer to all your questions.

What is Color Laser Engraving?

When you engrave wood or anything else with a laser machine, the engraved parts appear to be black or gray. They are not colorful at all; you can’t get a blue or yellow color after engraving a material.

Color laser engraving is just the opposite of that. It means that the surface of the material that you engraved offers you vivid colors. It could be blue, green, pink, yellow, or anything else rather than the traditional and natural color of laser engraving.

color laser engraving

It makes the material or objects more appealing and attractive. It is a new concept and is getting more popular day by day because it makes laser engraving more productive and allows the user to be more creative. It opens a massive opportunity for business owners to create more attractive and unique products using a laser engraving machine.

How Does Color Laser Engraving Work?

Color laser engraving works on different methods and principles, depending on the material. But there are two basic principles. Either the color engraving is achieved naturally with the help of oxidation, or you need a coloring agent to get the desired color.

Usually, you can color engrave metals and plastics, so we will talk about these only.

How Does Color Engraving Work on Metals?

Color metal engraving is quite popular because you can see vibrant colors naturally after using a powerful laser on the metal surface. You don’t need to use any coloring agent or anything else; it is completely natural.

But keep in mind that you won’t see vivid colors with all laser engraving and cutting machines when you engrave a metal. It depends on the power of the laser as well as the metal. 

There are mainly two methods of metal engraving. Although there are several more methods, we will stick to these two as they are mostly used, and they do not have limitations.

In the first method, the surface of the metal is turned into a molten form using a very powerful laser. During the melting process, oxidation also occurs. The surface of the metal oxidizes due to the high temperature and reaction with oxygen. 

The melted material solidifies again, but due to oxidation, a special-colored layer is created on the metal, which looks like colored engraving. Therefore, you see vivid colors on the engraved surface rather than the normal engraving color.

The second method is known as the Grating method. In this method, the color does not appear naturally; instead, a colored oxide layer is added to the surface. When the laser beams fall on the metal, it starts to melt, and the applied oxide layer also gets dissolved. As a result, it gives exciting colors. This method is quite useful for those metals that do not naturally offer color after using a laser machine. 

How Does Color Engraving Work on Plastics?

Now, let’s talk about plastic. Unfortunately, there is no way to get color engraving naturally from plastics. But still, you can do the color engraving in two ways.

Firstly, you can use colored plastic for engraving. It will offer a different contrast than usual. Secondly, an artificial colored agent can be applied to plastic. It gets combined with molten plastic after the reaction of laser beams. After that, you see the desired colors. The best part about this is that you can select the desired color agent to get the desired color. With that being said, the result is phenomenal and of your choice.

What Materials You Can Add Color to Engraving

We have already discussed that you can add color to metals and plastic during engraving. Let’s have a look at what metals and plastics are suitable for this and what method you need to pick for their color engraving.

Color Engraving on Metal 

You can engrave aluminum, steel, stainless steel, titanium, and other metals. These can be colored engraved directly without the need for a coloring agent.

Mostly, fiber lasers are used for engraving metals because they are specially made for metal marking. But you can also use a powerful diode laser for color engraving.

Keep in mind not all diode lasers are powerful enough to engrave or mark a metal; there are only a few available.

You only need to put the metal under the laser machine and start engraving like you normally do. The laser machine will engrave the material, and the color will appear on the engraved part automatically. The color also depends on the power of the laser machine.

Color Engraving on Plastic

ABS and polyethylene are the common types of plastic that are color engraved; however, there are more materials as well.

As we already discussed, you need a coloring agent for color engraving. You need to apply it to the surface of the material. You can pick the desired color according to the project.

After applying the agent, you can engrave the material similar to other materials you engrave. You will see the color instantly after the laser beams touch the surface of the material.

Color engraving on plastic can be done using a diode laser, CO2 laser, and special fiber laser. The laser only melts the plastic; there is no vaporization of the material.

The Best Color Laser Engraving Machine: xTool D1 Pro 20W

For color laser engraving, we would recommend xTool D1 Pro 20W. It is a very powerful, compact, affordable, and fast laser engraving and cutting machine.

The 20W module of the machine is the world’s most powerful diode laser module. It contains four 5W diode laser sources, and the laser beams from them are combined to achieve incredible power.

Due to the immense power of the laser module, it can color engrave metals. It is able to bring a certain color to the engraving through the oxidation of the metallic surface. It can offer 340+ vivid colors that you can’t find anywhere else. With that being said, you can be more creative and make extraordinary metal products.

The machine is ideal for small businesses, professionals, artists, and DIYers. It is packed with tons of features that make it the best choice for engraving and cutting. Firstly, it has got an incredible speed of 400mm/s. It can boost your productivity as you can make more products in less time. The best part is that even at such an exemplary speed, it offers an incredible movement precision of 0.01mm. 

You can also have the rotary attachment with the machine that will allow you to engrave 90% of the spherical and cylindrical objects. It is a combination of four types of rotary attachments that enhance your product range. Therefore, you can color engrave metal rings, balls, tumblers, and a lot of other things.

Due to the robust design, the machine will last for a long time. It has a strong metal structure that gives it the utmost support. It also has metal shafts and wheels that increase the life of the machine to three times.

The machine is beginner-friendly, and you can use it on your own. It also has dedicated beginner-friendly software that makes laser engraving and cutting easier than ever before. Plus, it has safety features to prevent fire and other accidents.

There are limit switches in the machine to ensure the correct positioning of the laser module. Moreover, you can adjust the focus of the laser module within a few seconds through its innovative lever. The machine can be used for a wide range of materials, including wood, acrylic, metals, glass, etc. 

It is an ideal machine to go with as it has incredible features. The most important thing about the machine is that you can upgrade it with the latest accessories and attachments, so it will never go outdated.

Conclusion

Color engraving can take your business to the next level. It allows you to be more creative and make unique and extraordinary products. You can color engrave on metals and plastic, and we have discussed the whole process behind it. It is good to have a laser machine that can color engrave items, and we recommend xTool D1 Pro. Its power laser module offers 340+ colors in metal engraving and allows you to cut and engrave a wide range of other materials as well. It is an incredible machine for beginners, small businesses, professionals, and almost everyone who wants a compact laser machine.

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