A Guide to Beginner Metal Engraving

laser engraved metal dog tag

Metal engraving is a popular way to make everyday objects more attractive. But it takes time, perseverance, and the right tools to develop engraving skills and become successful as a metal engraver. 

That’s why this guide will walk you through the basics of metal engraving and the types of tools you can use as a beginner. We’ll also list the best beginner metal engraving patterns to help you master working with basic tools before creating more complex designs. 

Metal Engraving 101

Metal engraving involves carving designs, logos, or patterns into various metal surfaces—including copper, silver, stainless steel, gold, and silver. Examples include trophies, plaques, and silverware. Depending on your interests, you can use metal engraving for functional or decorative purposes. 

Laser engraving metal

The engraving process involves using etching tools for metals. They leave behind marks on the metal that form the basis of an engraved pattern. Laser engraving machines then generate heat from a laser to turn the metal from a solid to a gas. This results in the removal of the material, leaving behind a mark on the metal object. 

Basic Metal Engraving Tools

Let’s take a closer look at the kind of tool used in engraving and metals best suited for beginners.

Laser Engraving Machine

Laser machines utilize concentrated beams to engrave and cut materials. CO2 laser machines like the AF2028-80 can engrave aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium, among other materials. If you’re looking to engrave colored images on metal, take a look at our MOPA fiber laser markers to expand your metal engraving arsenal!

OMTech autofocus laser engraverOMTech AF2028-80 80W Laser Engraver Machine

Rotary Tool

Rotary attachments are accessories for your laser machine that help you engrave 3D or irregularly shaped objects. The device clamps and rotates the item, allowing you to engrave each side perfectly while holding it in place. These attachments are fantastic for engraving tumblers, trophies, or anything cylindrical in shape. 

Rotary attachment for laser machinesPiburn Rotary Attachment for Laser Machines


You’ll need a lubricant like soapy water or oil to reduce friction and heat on your chosen metal plate. A lubricant also helps preserve your metal engraving tools, makes them easier to control, and enables you to create smoother lines. 

Cleaning Supplies

Brushes, rags, and solvents keep metal surfaces clean. Regular cleaning is essential to keep debris, lubricant residue, and metal dust from marring the finish of your metal works. 

Safety Gear

Goggles and face shields protect your eyes from metal shavings and debris when engraving metal. A dust mask also keeps you from inhaling metal particles.

Magnifying Glass

Beginners can benefit from having a magnifying glass or loupe. These tools make inspecting work and adjusting engravings easier, especially those involving more complicated designs. 

Types of Metals Suitable for Beginners

Those new to metal engraving should select metal types that are more forgiving and easier to work with. Below are some metals best suited for beginners. 

Copper and gold rings

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is popularly utilized for kitchen utensils and equipment, bottles, and countless other objects. You can etch patterns into stainless steel using a CO2 machine, but for deeper engraving, you’ll need an FM or MOPA fiber-laser engraver. 


Aluminum is lightweight and easy to engrave. It is one of the best metals for laser engraving due to lasting markings that allow your laser projects to remain visible for a long time. 


Titanium is a lightweight, durable metal that is commonly seen in jewelry. A laser-engraved ring made of titanium will also be hypoallergenic and resistant to corrosion, making it the ideal metal for accessorizing. 


Known for its malleability, gold allows for precise and detailed engravings. Because of its softness, however, engravings might not last as long as other metals—like stainless steel. 


Like gold, silver yields effortlessly to laser engraving. It’s a good choice for those looking to make high-quality jewelry. However, silver is more susceptible to tarnishing, so take care to keep the engraved designs fresh. 

Beginner Metal Engraving Patterns

Now that you know what you need to start engraving objects, let’s explore engraving styles you can use as patterns. 

  • Simple Geometric Shapes and Designs
  • Initial Monograms and Lettering
  • Nature-Inspired Patterns
  • And so much more! 

Tips for Successful Metal Engraving

Start practicing metal engraving with basic lines and geometric patterns. Mastering those will build up your confidence to take on more complex projects. Check out our Customer Gallery to get inspiration for your next big task! Make sure you choose a beginner-friendly material that makes it easier to achieve your design goals. 

Don't forget to wear protective gear whenever you work with engraving tools. It will shield your face and keep you from breathing in hazardous materials. 

Finally, review your work constantly to find areas that might need more work or to make touchups!

protective gear

Choose the Right Metal Engraving Machine

OMTech is a one-stop shop for both professional engravers and passionate DIYers. We provide laser engraving machines for small businesses and large industrial shops to ensure quality and precision regardless of the complexity of design and projects. 

OMTech machines will help you start with beginner metal engraving patterns and move to more intricate metal laser engraving designs. Check out our vast collection of engraving and cutting tools and take your skills to the next level with OMTech!