A commercially available laser marking system based on diode-pumped Nd:YVO4 laser was used for creating grid patterns for forming strain analysis of a dual-phase steel. The aim was to determine and analyze the influence of laser working parameters on the formability of sheet material by means of an in-depth characterization of this induced microstructural and geometric inhomogeneity. The electrochemical etching served as the reference method without the negative effect of generating inhomogeneity. The formability was evaluated using the cupping test according to Erichsen. While the quantification of geometric inhomogeneity was based on the determination of the notch factor, light microscopy and microhardness measurement were used for the evaluation of microstructural inhomogeneity. Furthermore, on the basis of the results an empirical regression model was established which described in terms of quantity the relationship between the examined factors such as laser power, pulse frequency and scanning speed as well as the command variable and the mark depth. The results showed that microstructural inhomogeneity in the used marking parameters due to their locally very limited formation did not have an appreciable influence on the mechanical properties. In contrast to this, the induced geometric inhomogeneity had a marked influence on the material formability.
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