MacBooks, Lasers, Art, & Science

MacBook laser engraving

Nerdy tattoos. That’s how one person described the laser-engraved symbols on my MacBook. Stickers are fine, but sometimes you want to try something new. Besides, lasers are cool!

If you would like to laser-engrave your laptop, here’s a procedure that works. There’s also a brief description for each of the symbols engraved on this particular MacBook.


Does engraving void Apple’s warranty? I have no idea. The laser doesn’t cut very deep. But if you’re really concerned about the warranty, you might want to speak with Apple.

MacBook laser engraving - meaning of symbols


I spent two months choosing and positioning the symbols. Laser engraving is expensive and permanent, so I wanted to get it right. Here’s the path:

Laser-Ready Layout

MacBook laser engraving alignment template

To align everything perfectly, I bought a template from Etsy. Some of the packages include templates for multiple devices, just in case you get the engraving bug and you can’t stop with one laptop.

And even after everything was positioned and templated, I let the design rest for a week before taking it to the engraver. Because engraving is permanent!

Choosing an Engraver

How does one choose an engraver for an expensive piece of electronic equipment? I found several engravers on the web, and visited a few in person. In the end, I chose Chicago Award Source.

CAS uses an Epilog Laser machine. Beyond equipment, the engraving team needs to care deeply about alignment and attention to detail. The CAS team (Firoz, Christan, and Jenna) did an outstanding job with my engraving. Christan and Jenna were meticulous with the laser machine, double- and triple-checking the alignment. I emailed them a PDF before my visit, and they did a practice run on scrap acrylic. The acrylic aligned perfectly with the MacBook. It was clear that I had placed my trust in the right engraver.

Symbol Descriptions

Here’s a description for each of the symbols, starting with the top-left corner and moving down, and then left to right.


Hopefully this post gives you enough information to engrave your own devices, if you choose to do so.