Engraving and Etching
These terms are used interchangeably at times but they do something a little different.
A subset of engraving, etching is the process of melting the surface of the material to enhance the contrast. We use this application when working with metals, such as anodized aluminum, or when we apply a coating to our stainless steel tumblers. The heat from the laser alters the surface and you can clearly see a change in the material.
Something about etching a whiskey bottle feels so right.
On the flip side, engraving actually removes a portion of the surface from the material. This is more evident with wood products as you can feel and see depth in the material after the laser is done working. This also works with acrylic but depending on the acrylic color, you may not be able to see the difference. There are some plastics that have two layers of color, such as red on top and white underneath. When we engrave these, a great contrast is seen and you get your artwork clearly applied to the material, such as the picture below.
Clean engraving on wood makes this cutting board look sharp.