Etching and Engraving

We now offer etching/engraving services on mild steel, stainless, copper, brass, aluminum (in-stock), and titanium, silver and gold (special order).

We've included everything you need to know to get started etching and engraving. If you have questions, please contact us.

Single-Line vs Filled-Area

We offer filled-area etching and single-line etching and engraving. These are two different methods done on different machines.

File Formats

 

We only accept vector files for etching and engraving. We currently accept AI, and .eps for filled engraving. SVG files are sometimes acceptable if scale and accuracy isn’t critical.

 

If your design doesn't have any fill (outlines only), a dxf or dwg file is acceptable.

Only have a raster file?

Don’t worry, we have tutorials to help you convert your art to vector in Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape. You can also contact us and we'll convert it for you for a small fee.

File Set-Up


Use Colors

Define what areas are to be etched by using a different color than you do for the cut areas. In the example above, the gray area defines what is to be cut and the red area defines what is to be etched.

Use Layers

If your software allows it, place areas to be engraved on a separate layer from areas to be cut.

Make sure your art is scaled 1:1, in inches. In other words, your art should be sent to us at the exact size you want it cut and etched.

File Requirements

We'll help you every step of the way in setting up your parts for engraving. Follow the guidelines below to ensure your file is ready to go.

Maximum Size

For etching with filled areas and intricate designs, the maximum part size is 24"x24” (all metals)

For simple outline-only etching in mild and stainless steel, maximum part size is 47"x119”

Spacing and Bleed


Keep etching at least .125" away from all perimeters, unless you intend for it to bleed off the edges.Also, allow wiggle-room. Design so that your cut and etch can have up to .020” of misalignment.

Things to Note

Etching is created with heat. We change the color of the base metal using precise pulses of heat from the laser, therefore the “depth” of the etching is minimal, perhaps .001” of an inch. We can “deep etch” or laser-engrave too, which is a more time consuming process. Depending on the material, we can achieve .005” - .015” of depth. Deep etching is available on materials .125” thick or greater.

Heat is generated in large filled areas, so thin metals will tend to warp. If you have a lot of “fill” use materials .125” or thicker.

Examples

Filled-Area Etch in Aluminum

Single-Line Etch in Copper

Filled-Area Etch in Brass

Filled-Area Etch in Stainless and Hot Rolled Steel

Filled-Area Etch in Brass

Filled-Area Etch in Aluminum