Metal dog tag engraving would need an infrared or a fiber laser which costs around $1500 to $4000. You may still engrave a coated steel dog tag with a diode and CO2 laser which costs $400 to $1500. This article will gather dog tag engraving insights along with recommendations
A laser engraved dog tag is sold at $12-$18 whereas a blank dog tag only costs $5 at max!
Alternatively, a dog owner is always willing to pay 3 times more for a value addition (engravings).
Similarly, a laser engraving business owner knows how to make the money triple just by adding an effort of 5 seconds!
This article is all about laser dog tag laser engraving and we will look into this matter more from technical aspects.
Besides, there will be suggestions for a few laser engraver which intends to make your life easier.
This is a reader-supported article. We do not make any paid promotions, however, if you visit stores through our link, we may be compensated with a small amount but that does not affect our professionalism and honesty at any cost.
Why do people like engraved dog tags?
The answer is simple! Everyone tries to be unique, and so do their pets.
Not only for the uniqueness, an engraved metal dog tag would benefit both pets and owners from two aspects:
- Dogs cannot destroy the metal tag so easily.
- Engraving or a permanent laser marking holds dog owners’ information which is helpful in case of any incidents.
Moreover, people may also like it just because someone else is doing it. Or, someone else (can be a laser engraving business) keeps motivating people to use an engraved dog tag just because of escalating his/her own business.
Not only a dog tag, we pay more for an engraved tumbler, laser-marked & modified jewelry, or even an engraved wallet.
But remember, people always pay for the additional value they are receiving.
Why choosing a dog tag engraver is crucial?
Let us start with an example that will further clarify how the perfect laser machine makes dog tags more amazing.
Imagine that you are searching for an engraved metal dog tag and you have found someone selling it at $10 but he only allows numbers and letters. However, you saw another person who sells an engraved dog tag for $18 but allows dog photo engraving.
Whom would you choose?
I would surely go with the $18 option because its a one-time procurement and in that case, the additional $8 is insignificant.
Choosing the perfect laser engraver is crucial due to the following reasons:
- Not only laser engravers can engrave a photo in metal tag. So, you might buy the wrong item.
- There are technical things you need to clarify such as precision, work bed, laser source, and wavelength. All technical terms are equally important but the job (dog tag here) will decide which are secondary. As an example, I would be ready to sacrifice a larger work bed and choose maximum resolution if I were asked to choose a dog tag engraving machine.
- Laser machine allows multi-tasking, so you should know what is your best option that offers you something else besides the metal tag engravings!
There are a few areas that will be covered slowly in this article.
Disclaimer: This article contains links from different websites which are intended to help you make your purchase and necessary comparisons. We may receive a small amount of commission if you make any purchases, however, that does not limit our objectivity while writing this article as it is solely designed and written to assist you with the relevant information and hands-on tests.
Things to look at before you buy
These are the technical aspects you should consider before buying a laser engraver for yourself.
Decide the purpose
Deciding your purpose is the priority before choosing your laser engraver for dog tags.
As said earlier, there are two types of dog tag engraving business which includes bulk tag engraving business whose main attention is to engrave metal tags and other metal marking. And the other group is the DIY laser enthusiasts who need a laser machine for various activities and dog tag engraving is one of them.
For the bulk manufacturers, we will always suggest having a fiber laser engraver preferably more than 50W. Fiber lasers are specially designed for metal engraving and offer:
- Metal marking using 1064 nm wavelength through industrial-grade lasers
- Fast engraving speed (7000 mm/s minimum)
- Marking depth of 0.1 mm minimum at a single pass and a lot more.
However, a fiber laser will not ensure portability, larger material compatibility, and budget flexibility.
In contrast, handheld laser engravers can be a great option for metal tag engraving due to following reasons:
- It ensures maximum portability which means, you can even carry the laser machine to another place.
- Offers almost the same accuracy as the fiber lasers.
- Handheld engravers like F1 contain multiple laser heads so that they can engrave just anything. Not only that, depending on the quality, the laser machine automatically switches its power.
- These engravers are budget-friendly which makes them suitable for a new dog tang engraving business or other similar services.
The handheld IR lasers (an indirect alternative to fiber laser) are surely a great option to consider if you are searching for a good dog tag engraver. However, these engravers cannot engrave metal in color which requires a specialized type of fiber laser (MOPA lasers).
Do you need laser cutting, engraving, or both?
You must also ensure that you need laser cutting, engraving, or both of them.
If you want to precisely cut metal sheets to make dog tags, you need a more powerful fiber laser which is your only option in that case.
Usually, a fiber laser cuts finer than the other forms of metal cutting offering faster and more precise cuts.
However, if engraving is your priority – investing in either a fiber laser or an infrared laser would be awesome since both of them will offer you maximum engraving performance.
Let’s say, you are trying to find something that can both engrave and cut other materials such as wood, acrylic, MDF, and other boards, xTool S1 can be a great choice as it can both cut like a CO2 laser and engrave like a fiber laser.
The S1 has both a diode and IR laser which cuts and engraves almost all material. Only, the change of the laser head needs to be done manually and it has a different material positioning system.
Would you engrave shiny metal or coated metal?
Engraving a shiny metal would require an infrared laser or a fiber laser as these two versions of laser engraver emit laser beams at 1064 nm wavelength which is well absorbed by the shiny steel. Moreover, bare metal such as stainless steel cannot be engraved with CO2 and diode lasers because of two reasons:
- CO2 and diode lasers cannot produce the required laser power for metal engraving
- Shiny metal reflects the laser beam in to opposite way which may cause incidents
However, infrared lasers and fiber lasers do not have such laser reflective issues at all.
Now, if you are engraving a coated dog tag, you can easily use a diode laser engraver or a CO2 laser. Because engraving a coated metal means that you are technically engraving the upper enamel coat, not the steel inside.
If you want to cut metal in a dog tag shape
Cutting metal can only be done with fiber lasers as the other types of laser do not produce the necessary laser power to cut through metal.
If you would like to bring value addition to your customer segments by bringing a unique shape, then investing in a fiber laser can be fine. Otherwise, it is always better to source the blank dog tag from the local market and resale them after engraving.
Best laser engraver for dog tag engraving
We recommend the following laser engravers for engraving metal dog tags:
- LaserPecker 4 (Best overall)
- xTool F1 (most trending one)
- OMTech FM7979 fiber laser (for bulk engraving)
- xTool P2 (IF you perform coated metal engraving)
- xTool S1 (For both cutting & engraving)
|The Best Part
|The worst side
|10W diode & 2W IR
|Dual laser (Diode + Infrared)
|360 degree rotation, portability, suitable for all material
|Expensive, smaller work area
|10W diode & 2W IR
|Dual laser (Diode + Infrared)
|Fast engraving (4000 mm/s), Upgradable with slide extension, power station, hard case and rotary
|Upgradations cost a little bit but it pays off over time
|OMTech FM 7979
|Cut, weld and engrave all shiny metal workpiece
|Only suitable for professional metal enrgaving
|Faster batch processing as its intelligence detects the anonymous shape and place designs accoridngly
|Cannot work in shiny metal
|Fully enclosed, Class 1 certified, works on coated metal tag
|Only works with coated metal tag, cannot perform metal annealing
If you need an all-metal laser machine, go with the top three (Laserpecker 4, F1 & OMTech fiber laser).
However, if you need to work with bulk engraving and if your focus in only on professional metal engraving then you can buy OMTech’s fiber laser unless you have any portability concerns.
Otherwise, if you want a laser machine mainly for coated metal tags and other materials such as wood, leather, and acrylic. You may choose between the P2 and S1 as they both offer large work areas.
Why did we choose Laserpecker 4 as the best overall?
The laserpecker 4 is the best metal dog tag engraver due to the following reasons:
- This is a dual laser meaning that it can work in any material. Especially for the dog tag engraving, you can either work with the coated dog tag or even a shiny bare metal tag. It operates through a combination of both diode and infrared laser that generates laser wavelength at a different spectrum (455 nm to 1064 nm). This is what makes it ideal for engraving almost all materials.
- The Laserpecker 4 works at the highest accuracy with a precision of 0.00019 mm. Since the metal dog tags are usually small, such ultra-fine precision helps in etching smaller letters or patterns. So, it will actively help you to accommodate your full address on the tag that you are entering. Additionally, you can also work through annealing which means the engraved area won’t fade out even if the pet bites or scratches with something.
- Additionally, this portable laser will enable you to work with brass or even silver tags which may not be achieved with the CO2 machines like xTool P2.
- Lastly, if you need to modify the metal tag on some other day, you do not need to place that tag underneath the laser. With its portable laser head, you can easily bring it close to the workpiece and do whatever modifications you need.
However, there are also some drawbacks to this portable unit; for example, you cannot work with an extremely large workpiece as you can with the desktop CO2 laser engravers.
The F1 is our second best
The F1 is quite similar to the Laserpecker 4, but it has one major difference: it does not have a rotating laser head. This means that, while you may benefit from its portability, you cannot adjust the position of the laser beam to accommodate different materials.
However, the F1 still offers a lot of features that helped it to stand out among the others on the list.
For example, the F1 can change the laser strength on its own, from one type to another, depending on what you’re engraving. So, if you’re working on a metal tag that has some parts painted and some parts not, or if you’re using a mix of leather and stainless steel, the F1 lets you do the engraving with just one click. The smart system in the F1 changes the laser strength by itself, so you don’t have to do anything else.
Also, the F1 is really fast when it comes to engraving, going at a speed of 4000 mm/s, and it’s as accurate as the Laserpecker. But keep in mind that if you want the power station, a strong case to carry it in, and other extra things for the F1, you’ll usually have to pay more.
Other laser machines suitable for the metal tag
The OMTech FM 7979 is a professional fiber laser that is designed for high-volume dog tag engraving. It is capable of engraving any sort of metal item and is the fastest metal engraver among the others that we are recommending. The FM 7979 is a 50W fiber laser that requires 800 w power and is also a bit costly (around $4000). But the price will be paid off if you can escalate your business to the next level by offering different engraving services.
The xTool P2 is one of the most powerful CO2 engravers having the ability to engrave curved or any shaped metal items. Not only that, you can engrave almost every item with P2 but engraving stainless steel would require a temporary coating first otherwise you will end up producing low-quality engravings. The P2 engraves at 600 mm/s with additional excellence in engraving large materials & intelligent batch processing.
We reviewed the P2 earlier with the necessary comparison to other laser engravers. The xTool P2 is a 55-watt CO2 laser with lots of amazing features.
The S1 is the next generation enclosed diode laser which comes with both a 40W diode laser and a 2W IR laser which actually helps in metag tag engraving. Not only that, The S1 is a class 1 certified laser which fully eliminates the need to wear protective eyewear and has a lot more compared to engravers available today.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are some frequently asked questions you may find useful while in search of a dog metal tag engraver.
Can I engrave a metal dog tag using a CO2 laser?
Roughly ‘Yes’ but, technically ‘No’. A CO2 laser cannot directly engrave a metal tag but using a coat over the tag can make it engraved with a CO2 laser. It will appear like an engraved metal but it will be an engraved coating in real.
Which is the best type of engraving dog tags?
If you are a laser enthusiast or a DIY person, you can buy any handheld lasers like xTool F1 that come with both a diode and infrared laser head which helps in engraving a variety of materials including metal. But, if your primary intention is to engrave different types of metal material you should always choose a fiber laser preferably above 35W. Remember, using MOPA fiber lasers, you can make colorful engravings whereas other types of lasers cannot engrave in color.
What is the most durable pet tag?
Titanium pet tags are the most durable and last longer than stainless steel. Using any lasers capable of generating a 1064 nm laser beam can easily engrave titanium.
How to engrave dog tags at home?
If you have a laser engraver capable of generating a laser beam at 1064 nm wavelength, engraving a dog tag and other metal things would be a one-minute job for you.
At first, you need to import the design into the laser software (usually Lightburn). Then, you need to select the position of the engraving. After that, you need to press the start button and the engraver will do the rest. Using a reputable laser machine would surely have metal engraving presets which eliminates manual settings selection while you engrave.
Never just buy a laser machine and think about what can you do with that. We always recommend getting the insights of each laser engraver and then deciding what would you prefer for the metal dog tag engraving.