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The Beginner’s Guide to Engraving: Materials

Explore popular materials and substrates suitable for engraving.

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There are many choices when it comes to engraving materials and substrates. Most engraving shops offer more than one engraving service, so it’s good to have a reputable and knowledgeable supplier. Some popular material types include:

Plastic Laminates-heat bendable, impact resistant and scratch resistant, these materials are great for generic signage, ADA signage, badges, trophy plates and more. Typically offered in one-ply, two-ply, or three-ply, these materials can be UV-stable for outdoor applications, have micro surfaces for detailed engraving, or even be made from ABS plastic for a more economical choice. Some plastics have been optimized specifically for laser engraving versus rotary-only engraving.

Metallics-metal substrates are nice but can be expensive. Most suppliers manufacture plastic that looks like metal to save time and money for engravers. Metallic plastics also reduce the risk of oxidation.

Metals-not all applications can use plastic. Some popular metal substrates include brass, anodized aluminum, stainless steel, etc. Be aware that these materials can be affected by the environment (such as oxidation).

-Terri Bristow, Gravotech

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Terri Bristow

Terri Bristow was formerly with Gravotech as the Marketing Specialist. She graduated from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania with a BSBA in Marketing. When she's not working, you can usually catch her riding horses or hanging out with Umphrey, her beloved chocolate lab.

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