Glass Marking & Engraving


What is glass marking? Glass marking and engraving are processes that are used to create a pattern or mark on various types of glass. Glass CO2 marking is an external process that removes the reflective surface off of the glass. Engraving changes the surface of the material, itself. Glass marking and engraving are largely decorative processes, although these processes are used to mark automotive glass as well.


How does glass marking work? During the glass marking process, a layer of the glass is removed at a high-frequency to create a frost effect. Engraving, on the other hand, involves the removal of material from the surface of an object. The energy of an engraving laser is typically pretty high because it, essentially, vaporizes material. The depth of the engraving marks will depend on the material that you’re engraving. Glass marking is commonly performed with a CO2 laser. But UV lasers induce less stress into the material. Depending on the type of glass that you’re marking or engraving, one laser might perform better than the other. Essentially, operating a CO2 laser is like using a knife. And a UV laser would be like working with a scalpel when working with glass because the UV laser has a much finer delivery of detail.


What is the process for glass marking? During the laser marking and engraving process, lasers are aimed at various locations of a material, and pulsed in order to create divots, grooves, or holes. In the same way that you’d use a digital file to create a pattern for 3D engraving, you create a template for glass marking and engraving that can be used with a laser. Once your file is complete, it can be sent to the marking or engraving laser in order to deliver visible designs. And the energy at the tip of your laser is what causes the change to a material. Both laser marking and engraving deliver a high level of precision.

While making the glass, it’s important to consider factors like thermal shock, which can cause fractures that propagate 10 minutes after you’ve finished. The type of glass that you’re working with is extremely important. For instance, if you attempt to mark
tempered glass, and it becomes overheated with a CO2 laser, the glass can shatter into thousands of pieces like a windshield.