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How to Decide Between an Engraved Metal Nameplate and an Etched One?

Are you thinking of putting up a custom nameplate on your home’s entrance or on the door of your office? If yes, you could be torn between a metal nameplate and its plastic counterpart. If you want a high-end product, choosing a metal nameplate is better than a plastic one. If you’re a business owner, a sturdy and stylish metal nameplate would send a strong message to your clientele. But even when you have decided in favor of metal nameplates, there’s yet another choice to be made. To go for an engraved metal nameplate or an etched one? If you aren’t sure which one would be a good choice, we bring you help.

Understand the Differences between Processes

If your metal nameplates should have recessed texts or designs, you can choose either engraving or etching. Knowing what each of these processes involves and how different they are could influence your final decision.

For engraved metal nameplates, a rotary engraver is used to cut a cavity through the metal’s surface. This helps in creating images or words that can be easily noticed by the eye and even felt via touch. Laser engraving is a common method used to create such machine nameplates. Using a high-intensity laser, specific areas of the metal’s surface are made to vaporize with each pulse. If you need the engraving to be deeper, the process is repeated until the desired product is crafted.

For crafting custom etched nameplates, the first step is to create an artwork film for your nameplate. This is based on the proof you’ve approved earlier. This film is then burnt film into an industrial mesh screen using UV light and vacuum in the manufacture’s factory. Next, a particular emulsion compound is chosen to block certain areas on the nameplate’s surface while exposing the rest. This is done based on the artwork to decide which areas should be left untouched, which are then blocked.

After the metal plate is prepped, it’ll be dipped into the acid tanks. When submerged, its exposed sections will wear away due to the reaction of the acid. Thus, by burning your desired design or text right into the metal’s surface, you’ll get an etched look.

The next step is where the metal nameplate is evaluated to ensure it fits your requirements. If it does, the process is finished off by using different fabrication options. It may even be sent to the production team to get it filled with your chosen color.

Engraving and etching could result in similar-looking metal nameplates though they employ different methods to create those recessed designs. The former uses a sharp tool to cut into the metal. However, it’s an acid-resist and a mordant that completes the job for the latter. But how will you choose either of these processes to get your metal nameplate created? The answer usually depends on how detailed metal nameplates your manufacturer can create or supplier can offer. Some can use either of these processes to create detail-oriented custom nameplates. Others would make the same design using either of these processes and you won’t be able to tell the difference. Ideally, you can ask your chosen manufacturer or supplier for a few samples created using both these processes to decide. If they don’t have any, you could do a small test project to decide which one suits you the best. This is especially true if you’ve bulk requirements. If your metal nameplate manufacturer/supplier comes highly recommended, you may trust their judgment and expertise to go with their suggestion.

Consider the Use

Whether you’re planning to use logo metal plates, residential nameplates, or industrial nameplates, you need to consider their use. With engraved machine nameplates, you can customize serial numbers, batch numbers, barcode labels, or QR codes for mass production. For such custom metal nameplates, it’s advisable to choose a manufacturer that uses in-house processes. Instead of a supplier who sources the nameplates, a manufacturer would ensure uniform quality machine nameplates and deliver them faster.  

If you choose etched metal nameplates, you can’t get customized batch/ serial numbers, QR codes, or barcode labels. That’s because all the products should have the same features and specifications. However, if you’ve got bulk requirements, etched nameplates are much faster to create than their time-consuming engraved counterparts.

Compare Durability

Before searching for a manufacturer/supplier of name plates, metal that suits your needs is important to be chosen. To ensure your nameplate is durable, your metal needs to be rust and tarnish-proof like aluminum or stainless steel. Durability is also an important factor when choosing between engraving and etching.

Both engraved and etched nameplates are highly durable. In case you opt for deeper engravings, they would take a lot of wear and tear before they become unreadable. Another advantage is not worrying about the ink fading away or being rubbed off in case you choose color infill. Thus, if your nameplate needs to bear rough conditions, engraving could be the right choice.

For durability, you could use metal nameplates with etched laser markings that don’t use any topical ink. Such machine nameplates could last almost 5-10 years without fading or wearing. However, they could become difficult to read if dirt covers them.

Thus, you need to consider the setting where your metal nameplate would be used. This would let you decide the level of durability required to choose between engraving and etching. 

Closing Thoughts

Different industries and businesses across the world use both engraved and etched metal nameplates to stand apart from the crowd. Such machine nameplates also help customers to easily identify the products of such companies. Finally, it all comes down to your needs and preferences when choosing between an engraved and etched metal nameplate. So, consider the above points to decide wisely when choosing your custom metal nameplate.

1 thought on “How to Decide Between an Engraved Metal Nameplate and an Etched One?”

  1. My favorite part of this article is the importance of knowing your desired design for the proper outcome. My uncle told me last night that he and his friend are hoping to find a laser engraving service that can do engraved signs for their store, he asked if I have any idea what is the best option to do. Thanks to this informative article, I’ll be sure to tell him that it will be much better if they consult a trusted engraved signs company as they can answer all their inquiries.

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