What is the Difference Between 3D Printing and Laser Engraving?

3D printers and laser engravers are both popular tools that can be used throughout the manufacturing process. 3D printers are usually more talked about in the news, but is one tool better than the other? What are the best situations for each? Below, we’ll explain the differences between 3D printing and laser engraving.

How Laser Engravers and 3D Printers Work

Laser engravers are tools used for sculpting, essentially. They’re commonly used to add embellishments to materials (e.g. adding your brand to a manufactured product), but they can also be used to create products out of blocks of material. Generally speaking, they work quickly.

3D printers, on the other hand, aren’t typically used to embellish other products. Instead, they’re primarily designed to create something new. They’re especially good for brainstorming and product testing, since you can design a product using the software and then print variations on it with your printer. They tend to be on the slower side, because instead of making marks in a product, they’re creating the entire product from scratch.

What Types of Materials Can You Use with Laser Engravers and 3D Printers?

When 3D printing an object, you’re usually going to be using metal or plastic, though there are other options available. Laser engravers can work with a large range of products. They’re particularly well-suited to engraving wood, but you can also use metal, acrylic, glass, plastic, and more.

Which Product is Better for Makers?

Ultimately, which product you prefer to use is going to depend on what materials you want to work with and what you want to create. If you’re making something decorative, for instance, or you want to work with wood, you’re more likely going to want to use laser engravers. Laser engravers are also better if you want to make something quickly.

Want to Buy a Laser Engraver?

LIT Laser has a variety of laser engravers and laser marking software available for purchase. If you’d prefer to have someone else do the laser engraving for you, we also offer laser engraving services.

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