What materials work best for laser metals and plastics?

Besides the obvious, the main difference between metal and plastic is that the metal material is about five times thinner and would slip out of name plate holders if not for the inclusion of Lexan Sliders. Metal plates and tags are also a bit heavier because they are denser than the plastic.

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Plastic name tags
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Metal name tags

Beyond consideration of whether to use metal or plastic, what else do you need to know?

It’s lucky that some of the best performing colors for plastic and metal are also our most popular. Brushed Aluminum/Black and European Gold/Black for plastic work well because the top layer to be engraved through is thinner, which allows for a crisper etching on the surface.

There’s a special formulation on Satin Silver/Smoke Grey and Satin Gold/Black on metal that allows for a better imprint because it is caused by a reaction with the heat on the material instead of etching it away. Black/Silver and Black/Gold also perform well and are popular for metals.

The laser simply works better when it isn’t burning away too much material. Colors such as Claret/White for plastic or Mirror Blue/Silver on metal need to be engraved twice because of residue left by the more vibrant colors in the engraving. Most of the time it’s not too much of an issue, but when trying for fine detail in logos or certain texts it can be problematic to get a good imprint. We will work with them to make them turn out as good as possible, but they are more likely to work better on one of the better performing materials.

We hope this guide is helpful when deciding on which material to use. These are only guidelines, but we want you to have the best product possible.

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