Engraving Awards: Laser Engraving vs Sand Etching

An excellent employee deserves an award that exudes elegance and can last a lifetime. Glass and crystal awards meet that criteria and can be laser engraved (etched) or sand (deep) etched with the message or logo of your choice. Let’s look at the difference between laser engraving and sand etching to help you determine which technique you prefer for your recognition awards.

Laser Engraving

Laser engraving requires the use of a laser to mark or etch the surface of an award. Laser engraving is required for acrylic awards, but it can also be used on glass, leather, marble, metal, plastic, stone, and other natural materials and has numerous advantages. Laser engraving can be completed quickly and leaves behind a clean, crisp, and permanent mark that is easy to see. To the touch it is almost impossible to feel the depth of the etching. It is ideal for photos, graphics, and logos because it is highly accurate and has the ability to engrave more than 1000 dots per inch.

Pros and Cons of Laser Engraving

  1. Precision and Detail: Laser engraving is known for its high precision. It can create highly detailed and consistent designs, including tiny text and intricate patterns, which might be less feasible with sandblasting.
  2. Speed and Efficiency: Laser engraving is generally faster and more efficient, making it suitable for large batches and quicker turnaround times.
  3. Material Limitations: While laser engraving works well on various materials, it can sometimes need help with certain types of glass or crystal, potentially leading to inconsistent results.
  4. Depth and Texture: Laser engraving typically creates a less deep or textured etch than sandblasting. This can impact the aesthetic and tactile feel of the final product.
  5. Environmental and Safety Concerns: Lasers require electricity, light, and heat, necessitating proper safety measures and ventilation.

Sand Etching

Sand etching, also referred to as sandblasting, requires a mask (stencil) to be made of your message and can also be used on onyx, marble, and wood. The stencil is applied to the crystal, glass, or other material. Using the compressed air found in an airbrush, sand flows through the lines blasting the open area of the stencil. This erodes or roughens the surface, leaving behind a somewhat frosted look that has a depth to it when touched. It is possible to use etching to create logos, designs, and photos on a surface. If not done correctly, sand etching can cut through a piece of glass.

Pros and Cons of Sand Etching

  1. Detail and Texture: Sandblast etching is known for its ability to create deep, textured cuts in the material. This gives a more pronounced and tactile feel, which is appealing. However, it might need to be more precise for more intricate designs or small text.
  2. Versatility: This method works well on various materials, especially glass and crystal. However, its effectiveness can vary with different surfaces and materials, which may limit its use in some applications.
  3. Labor Intensive: Sandblast etching typically requires more manual labor and skill, making the process slower and potentially more expensive than laser engraving.
  4. Safety and Equipment: The process involves using abrasive materials and requires safety measures and specialized equipment, which can add to the operational costs.

Awards.com is proud to provide personalization on our awards, trophies, and plaques at no extra cost. Whether you are awarding a high achieving employee for a job well done or presenting years of service awards to loyal employees, you want to ensure they receive a high quality award that maintains it appearance for decades to come.

When you are ready to order employee awards, trophies, and plaques, Awards.com has a wide selection to choose from. If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-4-Awards (1-800-429-2737).