What’s the Difference Between Engraving & Etching?

If you’d like to create a custom trophy, plaque, or medal, there are some choices to make besides what it will say and how it will be designed. You must also decide if the items will be engraved or etched. These terms are often used interchangeably, but there are differences between the processes. Continue below to learn about the differences between etchings and engravings.

How Each Process Works

If you’re having a commemorative medal or custom trophy made, you may not know which method is best for the text. In terms of process, the primary difference is that, while both involve leaving permanent markings on material, engraving does so by digging into the material while etching does so with chemicals.

The engraving process uses precise, high-powered machinery to create designs either with a sharp object or a laser. The indentation is gently curved, so parts of the material are drilled or burned out to create the desired design. In contrast, etchings melt the surface of a material to create a design. Etchings may also use a laser but can also use chemicals to dissolve a design into the surface.

Why Each One is Useful

Both engravings and etchings are useful in their own ways. Etching is best for display items, like custom trophy or award plaques, that won’t be subject to a lot of wear, such as when they’ll be kept indoors and away from excessive moisture or dust. Engraved materials can survive outdoor conditions and in a variety of climates, and are therefore best for signage or items that will be worn.

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