Mystique of Laser Engraving

Mystique is really the word when it comes to laser engraving.  Consider the dictionary definition of mystique: 

An aura of heightened value, interest, or meaning surrounding something, arising from attitudes and beliefs that impute special power or mystery to it:

This is true of all laser technology, of course.  Who would want a regular old printer if you could instead have a laser printer.  With respect to laser engraving this phenomenon is especially true.

Probably everyone has at one time or another has heard the expressions "chiseled in stone", "hewn in stone" or "carved in stone".  Such expressions illustrate the degree to which people are impressed with the whole idea of engraving words or graphics actually into material rather than simply writing something onto material. 

There are also some important Biblical implications to why there is a mystique about laser engraving.  Moses, when he met with God on Mt.Sinai received two stone tablets upon which was inscribed the Ten Commandments.  The Bible states that on the stone tablets the Commandments were "Written with the finger of God."  Now it does not actually say in the scripture that the commandments were in the stone.  It says on the stone.  Still, most people (myself included) when they imagine God actually writing words on stone tablets imagine that the words were burned into the stone.  This logic that there was fire or burning stems from the narative in the Exodus 24:17, "The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel".  Most graphic depictions including even cartoon depictions of the tablets and the Ten Commandments show the words engraved or actually burned (or sometimes carved) into the stone, The Ten Commandments. Though it may be just a fanciful idea that the words on the tablets were actually engraved into the stone the idea persists and and this generates additional weight to the mystique of engraving and in particular laser engraving. 

When I use our new laser engraver I actually observe only the work or result of the laser and not actually the laser beam itself.  After all the beam of light itself is outside the  visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum.  What I do see is the burning away of material and the resulting images or words that are being engraved.  I also can see the smoke and particles from combustion being sucked away in the exhaust fan as the process is performed.  I must admit I do wonder if what I see is similar to what Moses saw on Mt. Sinai. 

An evidence of the mystique of engraving is the tendency almost all people have to touch the engraved surface when they pick up an item that we have just engraved.  The tactile qualities of the engraved object  heightens the perceived value for most people.

There is another dimension to the mistique which I would mention.  When objects are engraved in materials like wood, leather, or cork there is a residual odor.  On these objects people not only feel the engraved surface but they tend to raise it to their noses and they smell it.  


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