Engrave Speed Up

I have been using the preset level (P25/S175) for engraving for about a year now and it has been doing fine. A little slow but fine. When I run the Material Testing Suite - Engraved, I can get essentially the same results with higher power and faster speed (P40/S250). Is there a reason why I shouldn’t be doing this? Beam Studio shows speed in yellow / red zone. This is why I ask if this will cause issues or not.
Material is Baltic birch plywood.

So… it depends. you can get a dozen answers. However… the higher the power (starting at 40-50%) you use will burn up the laser tube that little bit (or a lot, or at 70% a whole lot) quicker). A co-owner advised me that 50% or above makes a difference that you will experience. Less than 50% power and you increase expected life to perhaps what you hope for… the more power you use the faster they deteriorate; all lasers do, some more than others. The faster you operate it the less accurate is your cut… not only x vs y but also vibration/movement within the cut. And, no matter what, a tube with 50 hours will not be as precise or hot as a brand new one. AND… dirt on the lens (or mirrors), failure to align the cut to exactly vertical, and failure to precisely align mirrors, (and my bias… get all that alignment in the middle of the mirrors). Did you level (really level) the bed AND the workpiece on it? You undoubtedly know an old/used tube detracts from your results (replace it) and a watertank that is not full AND with preferably distilled water leads to early failure (I just put a chiller in order). ASSUMING your motors are good/tracking ANY issues are almost always:

  1. Water tank not full clean (#2 reason for bad tubes aside from banging then around).
  2. Failure to really, Really, REALLY align the tube (so it hits mirrors dead center), AND 3 CLEAN mirrors for alignment, AND ensuring the lens is CLEAN and your vertical alignment gives a perfectly vertical and focused light. If you haven’t done it a dozen times I’m guessing you should try doing it at least 10 more times. You will learn something every time. No exaggeration.
  3. As important as #2, ensure the workpiece AND honeycomb workpiece is flat/level across the entire used surface AND is 12mm from the bottom of a tightly screwed-on lower lens cap. (Did you catch I mentioned workpiece itself should not be warped? Weigh it down.) (Admission, you can engrave pens and other round/not flat stock so long as it stays only a mm or two distant from 12 mm from bottom of the lens holder… really about 18mm from lenses to workpiece?? Consider, about 18mm from the lens is really in focus although they will convince you it’s 5-6 mm). Variation of 3 or more mm across the length of the bed or workpiece is trouble … say 15-18% that you worry about a mm or two… 15-18% is A LOT; and it gets bigger quickly). As some have suggested, shimming the honeycomb bed and staying on the flat honey comb (not edges) is easier.
  4. That 60w laser tube is really a 35w or so and unless you have tubes to burn through, be happy running your 35w tube at 90% power (or less). Or send me a bunch of your excess tubes;-)
    I know I’m being somewhat of a wise guy here… no apologies. Try ALL of this stuff before fretting more esoteric stuff. A good (but hard) initial question… have you greatly deteriorated your tube by exceeding 50% (or heaven forbid 60%) power? And we haven’t even mentioned non-homogenous workpieces. Hope I’m more right than wrong… recommend basics. Best o’ luck.
1 Like

Merge has a much more complete rundown! Thank you Merge!

My experience has been that the lower speed makes for cleaner engraving. The line work all lines up, no overlap, everything where it belongs. Once the speed gets higher (for me) than 175mm/sec the imagery gets fuzzy, offset or completely misplaced. Low and slow serves me well enough.

If imagery is taking way too long, I’d experiment first with resolution, and making sure all the parts of a image that can possibly be vectors are in fact vectors (lettering is SO BAD for this).

1 Like