As you design a monument to use at a burial site, you will have a variety of options for those designs. Two common options are laser etching and engraving.
It is a common misconception that etching and engraving refer to the same process and style of artwork. While they are both methods of cutting a material (at least to a certain extent), the processes are quite different, and there are some noticeably different results. Before making any decisions about how you will design your monument, it is important to understand the differences between the two and which is most likely to be the best choice for the monument design and material you have in mind.
Here’s a quick overview of the differences you should know, as well as some of the benefits of laser etching and engraving.
Etching vs. engraving
While the results from the etching and engraving processes may appear similar, there are some significant differences in those processes themselves.
Engraving results in a cavity being cut into the surface of the material, leaving behind a cavity that will depict either writing or an image that is noticeable both to the eye and to the touch.
Etching takes away a layer of material without actually cutting into it or creating a crevice. The etching machine is less powerful than engraving machines, and does not have the same cutting capabilities.
Some of the advantages of engraving include:
- The process is quick, as the material gets vaporized by the laser
- The processes can be repeated to form deeper marks and indentations in the surface of the material being cut
- The process is ideal to provide speed, cost efficiency, repeatability and durability
The benefits of laser etching include:
- Extreme precision
- The ability to save quite a bit of material
- Versatility for use with a wide range of material types, including materials that are particularly thin or small
Either one of these processes is usable for headstones and monuments. Outside of the differences between the processes, though, you’ll also need to consider the difference in cost.
Cost differences between engraving and etching will depend on the material, the character size and depth and the total production volume.
Harder materials are tough to engrave, which can result in the cost being increased. In this situation, it’s beneficial to go with laser etching.
The more complex the designs, the higher the cost will be, so complexity should be considered along with the material and the volume. For large volumes, etching usually is more cost-effective than engraving, but engraving may be more cost-effective for low volumes. You should make sure to ask questions during an appointment with your chosen monument maker before making any decisions.
If you are interested in learning more about engraving and etching, the differences between them and the options you have when designing a monument or headstone, we encourage you to contact the team at Steedley Monument Works. We are happy to answer any questions you have and will work with you to create a monument to memorialize your loved one with honor.