Finding The Best Engraving Machine For Your Application

If your engraving demands include speed and possibility of automation, manual machines or handmade are no option. That means you need an engraving machine. Which one to choose?

Traditional CNC Machine

CNC – an automatized rotary engraving tool - was initially the first rescue from hours spent on one job with manual methods. Now a time-proven reliable technology, CNC can carve letters, forms, cut 3D shapes on almost any engravable material. The new generation machines at HeatSign handle metal, stone, wood, resin, wax, glass, foam, and plastic.

CNC processing is traditionally used in fields like:

  • metal working
  • furniture carving and interior design
  • architecture
  • ADA signs producing
  • Advertising



Laser Enhancements And Limitations

When laser technology was introduced, it opened the new range of engraving possibilities. Even the smallest detail-precise, fast and able to add color shades.  It has come a short way from a trend to a universal tool for marking materials.

Still, don’t be too convinced of the most suitable machine to buy just yet. As even long after laser cutting has become standard in many industries, it isn’t even close to replacing CNC devices. Why?

First of all, the secret lies in the price difference between the equipment. If you searched engraving machine for sale, you could have seen that laser is more expensive. So if your expectations to engravings do not go beyond the capabilities of CNC, why pay more?

Another point – for some applications the new opportunities given by laser do not overpower the benefits of CNC. Some of them are listed below.

Application Clause


In general, it is fair to say metals can be cut with any machine.

Lasers are good with coated metals, but applying laser engraving to bare metals may need adding post-production steps using a chemical to create black marks. This means extra time, effort and consumables.

CNC can handle a wide range of metal types, including coated and uncoated, semiprecious or precious. Using a diamond bit in a CNC machine even allows processing unmachinable metals.

Also, if you care to create the classic look of metal inscription, this is more of a job for the rotary as its carvings are more touch-sensitive, reminding of the old times.


Both technologies will do as the woodworking engraving machine.

Laser machines here are the true artists, providing details and coloring, stunning “burned” marks, creating unique masterpieces on wood.

CNC wood engraving machines are traditional for wood, especially the parts going for further production as they are expert in wood geometry that doesn’t result in color change.

Geometry and Size

In engraving, size matters. If we are talking about small pieces that need art element, signature, marking – here laser is definitely the leader. But the bigger the size of the part gets and the deeper the mark has to be, the more time is spent by lasers for continuously evaporating the layers. CNC rotary will cope with any shape, form, 3D element and depth in fewer steps, and thus, quicker.


So which engraving machine is the reasonable purchase? Laser is the guru in small parts state-of-the-art carvings, while CNC machine will represent a cost-effective” working horse” for traditional applications and large-scale 3D engravings.

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