Laser Engraving Stone
If you're looking for ideas, tips, and the best settings on laser engraving stone then this page should prove a valuable resource. The ability to laser engrave, mark, or etch stone as a hobbyist or as a high end product to customers opens up a wide array of possibilities. To personalize or customize a stone on top of its solid and heavy feel can translate into a higher perceived value. The great news is that quality designs and artwork transfer beautifully with surprising clarity to most stone surfaces.
In addition customers who buy a laser etched stone momento, souvenir, award and especially a memorial marker instinctively sense the item as having a durable, permanent almost timeless quality that will be referenced and enjoyed for many years to come. All of this translates into great value.
So, for these reasons laser engraving the following stone materials can dictate a higher price tag compared to other common laserable applications. Each stone reacts differently to the laser so it's best to prototype each prior to processing. The finished engraving usually provides a white finish making a good contrast against darker stones. For practical purposes unless you have a higher watt laser cutter it's not economical or efficient to laser cut stones.
The following stone materials have proven to be CO2 laserable:
- - Slate
- - Granite
- - Marble
- - Corian
- - Quartz
- - Soapstone
- - Onyx
- - Basalt
- - Beach Pebbles
- - Stone tile
- - Ceramics
- - Porcelain
- - Travertine
- - Limestone
- - Bricks
- - Natural stone
WHICH STONES ARE BEST FOR LASER ETCHING?
It depends on the result you're looking for. Since each stone varies in quality, hardness, texture, and color you're better off testing different stones and vary the laser power and speed settings.
Having said that laser processing dark granite and marble are very popular as the etching produces a marked contrast against the dark substrate. Due to its fine texture marble is used for lasering detailed photographs, images, logos, and fine text. Slate and ceramic also leave a clean contrasting finish.
You can further enhance the contrast by applying a color fill. However, a shallow etching typically produces the most clarity and most permanent mark.
APPLICATIONS FOR LASER ENGRAVING STONE
Laser marking memorial or tombstones often command top dollar. Most gravestones are made from granite due to durability but even sandstone, slate and natural flagstone have been used and when laser etched produce a unique contrasting finish. Customizing or personalizing brick, pebbles, tile, stone, or any other natural (organic) solid surface can and is used by companies, builders, architects, gardeners, retail shops, and DIY makers as a unique way to add perceived value to their art piece.
SETTINGS FOR CO2 LASER RASTERING STONE
We get a lot of questions about what power and speed settings are best for different materials - brick, stone, and tile included. The answer of course is relative to how much power and speed your laser has. We get a lot of questions about what power and speed settings are best for stone. That of course is relative to how much power and speed your laser has. With a Boss Laser 100 watt you can start at around 30% power at 300 mm/sec. You don't want to engrave with much depth. The best clarity comes when you merely etch the stone surface.
Rocks and stones typically have a lot surface variance making detailed image clarity very difficult. If this is the case keep your raster images between 240 and 350 dpi.
LASER ETCHING STONE TIPS
If the plaque or stone your engraving will be a permanent fixture outside then granite (versus marble) will be a good choice. On the hardness scale granite comes in at a 7 of 10 (compared to marble at only 3) thus it is less likely to chip and more likely to endure the elements. In fact, most cemetery tomb or headstones are made of granite due to their durability. Also, it's a great material for laser engraving detailed images.
For better clarity select marble or granite with as little veining or grain as possible. This allows better clarity for the laser etched photograph. The more homogeneous (versus heterogeneous), consistent and fine-grained, the better clarity and contrast your etching. This is the reason why black granite is so often selected for laser applications.
If you have a unique stone application that you would like to test on our laser cutting machines feel free to visit our facility here in Sanford, FL. You can also call us for help. In most cases we typically have already laser processed the material in question and can either send you a sample or you can send us a sample for us to process for you.