Brass or magnesium engravings, that’s the question.

Brass vs. Magnesium

Brass vs. Magnesium - Which to choose for an engraving?

Perhaps the most heard question at our customer service : should we use brass or magnesium for foil printing and/or embossing? Like all good questions, the answer is not that easy. And the knockdown argument: it depends.  🙂

In this blog we will walk you through the characteristics that can help you choose the right material.


1.      Strength

       (magnesium ⭐⭐⭐, brass ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

This is an easy one, for small runs printed on flat material, without small lines, always choose magnesium. If the job contains several mounting/dismounting runs, high quantities, or rough material then choose brass. The reason for this, is that brass is more resistant.


2.     Price

       (magnesium ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, brass ⭐⭐⭐)

Magnesium dies can be easily combined with other dies, the pricing mainly consists of machine costs. Brass engravings are individually programmed with every project having their own characteristics. This means that the price mainly consists of labor costs.


3.      Heat transfer

       (magnesium ⭐⭐⭐ brass ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Especially if you work with delicate foils or material that is difficult to print, a good transport of heat is essential. Brass engravings have a slightly better transfer of heat, that may be an advantage in some occasions.


4.      Delivery time

       (magnesium ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, brass ⭐⭐⭐⭐).

All magnesium dies ordered before 12.00 AM, will be produced and sent on the same day. The delivery time of brass dies depend on the amount of engraving. This can normally take up to one or two days.


5.      Details I – foil die

       (magnesium ⭐⭐⭐⭐, brass ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

If an image exists of small parts or fine lines a brass die may show better results. The engravings gives a deeper result than is possible by etching. Fine lines will last better on a brass product.


6.      Details II – foil die

       (magnesium ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, brass ⭐⭐⭐)

If you have an image with so many small details – like a pixelated image – a magnesium die is your better choice since this will take too much time to engrave.


7.      Combination foil and embossing

       (magnesium , brass ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

The only way to have an image foilprinted and embossed in magnesium is to print them in separate ways; first foil and then emboss. In brass we can make the combination of foiling and embossing in one stroke.


8.      Details III – embossing die

       (magnesium ⭐⭐⭐, brass ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

First of all, for a good embossing you need at least 1,5 times the thickness of the paper. Smaller images will be lower embossed or even not visible. If lines are smaller than 1,5 mm it is better to consider a brass embossing die.


9.      Multi-level embossing dies

       (magnesium , brass ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

We finish this small guide with the easiest answer of all; multi-level is only possible in brass embossing dies. Before engraving we always send a preview so correction of an image is possible.


This blog should help you answering the eternal question if you should use brass or magnesium engravings. But if everybody knows  what to order, what will be left for our helpdesk to do? So, if there is any doubt, don’t hesitate to call us. We will be happy to share our 40 years of experience with you.