Both types of custom dog tags are used by many types of businesses and individuals for promotional purposes. Authentic military dog tags and military “style” dog tags. From wedding and party gifts to trade shows and conferences, personalized dog tags are gaining popularity. Authentic dog tags are embossed, with letters, numbers and some special characters stamped into the metal to give the text a raised appearance. This tag is made of stainless steel and has a rolled edge. Embossed stainless steel dog tag used. Army after World War I. Military style dog tags are made of anodized aluminum and have no curled edges. These dog tags are personalized using a method called laser engraving to reproduce text and logos on one or both sides. Genuine dog tags are usually produced in silver or brass, while military style engraved dog tags are available in a variety of aluminum colors (e.g. black, blue, red, green, purple, gold, etc.). Both styles of custom dog tags can be fitted with a rubber dog tag silencer, neck chain or split ring for keys. Other less common customization methods for personalizing dog tags include pad printing and full color process printing. Both of these methods allow designs to be reproduced in more than one color, whereas laser-engraved designs appear bright white. This article is about the process of creating custom dog tags through laser engraving.

LASER is light amplification by stimulated emission. The process applied to anodized aluminum and other materials creates permanent marks that won’t rub or scratch. Laser engraving is a superior marking process to traditional screen printing and pad printing, which wear over time. Laser engraved dog tags ensure that your name, logo or message is always visible… a clear advantage for promotional products.

Laser engraving creates custom dog tags by removing the colored anodized coating that exposes the raw aluminum beneath the surface. The anodization process is used to create a durable coating that can have a specific color on the metal. Besides coloring the metal, it also serves to protect the surface from weathering and scratching.

So how does the laser work its magic to create custom identification dog tags? There are two types of laser engraving systems used to personalize dog tags: systems and Nd:YAG systems. For engraving, both systems focus a high-intensity light beam through a lens. This high-powered, focused beam has enough energy to vaporize the anodized coating that exposes the aluminum below the surface, creating a visible mark on the material. The system manages image formation much like a conventional dot-matrix printer, which scans from left to right while pulsing a vaporizing beam through the material as it moves down “through the image.” Nd:YAG laser systems obtain surface images by directing a beam of light through a lens through a computer-controlled mirror.

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