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6 Tips and Tricks for Laser Engraving and Cutting

  • 6 Tips and Tricks for Laser Engraving and Cutting

    The laser I work with is an Epilog Helix and the program we use to run it is Corel Draw. I'm going to try to write in general terms so you can use what ever laser and program you want to.Get more news about laser cutting line,you can vist our website!

    Step 1: Tip #1: Preparing for Cutting or Engraving
    Before we get to tips for cutting and engraving, lets start with some good ideas for preparing to cut or engrave.

    Masking: If your going to engrave on something be aware that the smoke for the the engraving can stain the edges of the engraved surface. If you don't want that cover the surface with masking tape to protect it. The masking tape won't decrease the power of the laser much (bump up the power a bit if you feel it needs it) and the masking tape will protect the material around the engraving from the smoke. After running the engraving just peal the masking tape off. I use this a lot if I'm engraving on leather.
    Step 2: Tip # 2: the Power of Layers
    Several of the tricks I'm going to talk about require being able to print only part of a file or design at a time. The easiest way to do this it to put different parts of you design on different layers in a file. Most graphics programs allow you to create different layers and then to turn them off and on. While you can put everything on one layer here are some advantages to using layers.

    Step 3: Tip #3: Wood Grains and Engraving
    So you've designed a logo or a image and you want to burn it onto a piece of wood. Wood is a great material for engraving but you need to be aware of the difference between engraving on a solid piece of wood versus a composite material like plywood or MDF. Unlike a manufactured material, natural wood is not uniform. The grains in the wood represent different types of growth in the wood (winter and summer) and they will each burn differently. Usually the darker grains are harder and the lighter parts between them is softer. As you can see from the example photo you end up with a zebra pattern in the engraving. If having a uniform look to the engraving is important to you, you'll probably get better results from a good plywood where the top layer is more uniform.

    Step 4: Tip #4: Overlapping Lines.
    Often when cutting out multiple parts at once, the temptation is but them up against each other so similar lines overlap. This is a good idea, but there is a good way to do this and a bad way.

    Let's say for example you have a bunch of squares to cut out. If you draw 2 squares (4 sides each) and then but them up against each other it will look like there is only one line between them. The trouble with this is that although it looks like there in only one line on the overlapping side, the computer still sees 2. The end result is that lines will get cut one on top of the other. This can lead to that edge getting burnt, rather than a clean cut. It also waste time on a unnecessary cut.

    Step 5: Tip #5: Lines - Raster Versus Vector
    The main difference between a raster engraving and a vector cut, is that for the engraving the laser head travels left to right across the print area and then moves down a hair and repeats until it has engraved the image. With the vector cut the laser just traces the lines of the cut. As a result raster engraving take a lot longer than vector cuts.

    Step 6: Tip #6: Defocus the Laser for Thicker Vector Lines.
    In my last tip I covered how to use the vector setting to just score lines into material to produce line art work or designs. But the disadvantage of this trick is that the line is very thin. But there is a way to tick the laser and get thicker lines. The laser has a very tight focus so if lower your material a bit the laser will lose focus and spread out. The way I do this is to put a small piece of wood that is about 3/8" thick on top of the material I an using and have the laser focus on the wood. Then I run the laser on a vector setting (with a lower power setting and a higher speed). The result is a much thicker line than if the laser was correctly focused.

      August 31, 2022 2:12 AM MDT