Laser crystal engraving is the process of using high-precision lasers to mark materials, including natural and synthetic crystal. Many shapes and types of material can be engraved, leading to many uses for laser crystal engraving on different types of crystals. Without changing the surface, a laser can create an image inside of a work piece. For instance, pictures can be recreated within a crystal to make a three-dimensional (3D) image.
Methods of engraving crystal tend to rely on high-precision lasers that can penetrate the material and produce energy at a certain location. Using specific coordinates, the laser produces enough energy to melt or create small cracks, which make small spots inside the crystal. Depending on the complexity of the design being produced and the capabilities of the laser engraving machine, there might be thousands of these spots that eventually add up to create the full design. High-definition designs are possible, with the quality usually depending on the amount and size of the spots produced.
Various materials can be used for laser crystal engraving, including natural crystals and synthetics. Some crystals might work better than others, depending on their molecular structure and surface characteristics. Highly reflective or rough crystal, for instance, is often more difficult to engrave than clear, flat crystal. The price and design quality is often dependent on the type of material being engraved. With high-quality laser engraving machines, it is often possible to create designs inside virtually any shape crystal, which allows for many different engraved products.
Engraved crystal is often considered to be visually appealing, so there are many applications for laser crystal engraving. Products can include key chains, paperweights and wine stoppers, among others. Professional engraving applications include award plaques and name plates. Souvenir laser engraving also is popular, because crystals can often be engraved on the spot in a short amount of time.
This increases the potential for laser crystal engraving to be used in high-traffic areas such as tourist attractions. Custom engraving is often used to create keepsakes or souvenirs, so many companies exist to create various engraved crystal products. One feature that makes laser crystal engraving popular for souvenirs is the ability to turn a photograph into a crystal keepsake. An image is usually scanned by a computer, prepared by a technician and then recreated inside a crystal. This process is often so effective that three-dimensional images can be created from the photos.