Darkly Labs Community

Basic power and cut rate levels

Hi everyone, 
I am a newbie to the whole laser system thing and trying to get my head around learning Inkscape and Laserweb and everything that comes with the Emblaser 2!

I was wondering if anyone has some kind of basic summary sheet to help me with the Laser power percentage and the Cut rates. I get the impression this can vary widely depending on the material and whether you are cutting/engraving but I am starting with fairly basic projects, a lot of which are coming from Thingiverse and etsy etc. 

I’ve done the logo tutorial which sets the 'laser fill path" at 1500mm/min and 25%, and the “laser cut” operation at 3000mm/min and 50% power. How do I know what are the appropriate settings for materials?

Thanks, 

Emily. 

Hi Emily, basic cutting setting I use at the moment are, standard white paper - 1500mm/min 100% power.
6 mm corrugated cardboard 250mm/min 3 passes no change in height and 100% power and air assist on, and 3 mm plywood same settings as 6mm cardboard, hope that helps.
Especially with the 6mm cardboard, keep an eye on cutting as it can catch fire

Hi Emily,

I’ve had an Emblaser 1 and then an Emblaser 2 for almost 2 years, and I personally have found that if theres one thing that is certain, its that there is no  definitive power or speed for any given material. When I first got the Emblaser 1 I just stuck stuff under it and went for it. Initially cardboard caught fire and plywood that looked cut through had no laser marks on the back when I turned it over, but it was all part of learning.

What I’d be doing because its what I did when I first got the E1 and hd never touched a laser before and had no idea what it was all about is to create a little test file in Inkscape - mine was just a small star shape down the bottom left corner, stick what you are planning to cut under the laser and just play around with the settings until its cut through but not ablaze.

To give you a start, here’s a basic set of parameters based on my materials and my laser -

for cutting, 3mm rubbish Bunnings ply will be 2 to 3 passes at 6mm/sec, but there’ll definitely be bits that aren’t cut through with Bunnings ply no matter how hard you try.

Better quality poplar or birch ply should be 2 passes at 6mm second.

Rule of thumb is add 2 more passes per mm, so 4mm ply will be 4 passes, unless its Bunnings in which case it could be an infinite number.

Basically with timber and thicker cardboard,after much mucking around, I’ve discovered that 100% power, 6mm/sec,is hard coded into my settings  and I just change the number of passes until it cuts all the way through. That seems to be the happy medium basically,at the end of the day!

Thin  stuff like 80 to 220 gsm papr and cardstock  is generally one pass at around 12mm/sec, but again the colour can affect it - black card and paper is easier to cut than white.

Then theres engraving pictures…again the material dictates the settings, you do need to experiment, and accept that what works for one piece of ply or whatever, won’t necessarily work with a seemingly identical piece.

Rereading this it seems to come across as so negative, but in reality its just a learning thing. And the more you experiment the more you see how amazing a laser can be.

If you have any questions about a more specific material you are cutting or the software you are using, you’ll definitely get an answer if you post it here.,

Here, just to show the versability of the Emblaser , are a few things I’ve been mucking around with over the last 18 months, all done on either the Emblaser 1  or 2. All took experimentation and a bit of wasted materials, but the key is once you find the right setting, write it down!

2.5D Engraving on Huon pine using picengraver

image.jpg

Multiple layers of card to produce a gothic window (this is just a rough version but I have no other pics!)

Engraved brickwork and vector cut windows on a 4mm/ foot model building,  brick size is 3mm by 1mm:

Laser cut veneers.

 

No, it’s not negative at all - I know there is going to be a steep learning curve! Thanks for the tips, this should be enough to get me going. I was playing around with cardboard last night and I’m slowly getting the hang of it. 

 

Thank you for your help!

Emily,

We have just published a tutorial on how we find the best engraving settings for materials.

https://darklylabs.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000351332-How-to-find-a-material-s-best-engraving-settings

Hopefully this will help you along the learning curve.

A similar cutting tutorial is not far away.

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This is a copy and paste of the notes I have on my phone for the settings for my Emblaser 2

(You need to clean the lens often and check focus occasionally)

Might be worth pointing out also that my go to test file is a star shape that is only 25mm x 25mm. I find that on longer/real jobs/cuts that the laser loses some effectiveness - probably due to dirty lens.

Cutting:

3mm Bunnings mdf
100% cut rate 90 1 pass
Or
100% cut rate 200 2 pass

3mm Acrylic
White NO
Blue NO
Yellow 100% 150 4 pass
Green 100% 150 4 pass
Black 100% 150 2 pass
Red 100% 150 4 pass

balsa (don’t recommend it at all)
8mm 100% 1000 cut rate 6 passes 0.5 depth changes (fire likely)
3mm 100% 700 cut rate 3 passes

Basswood ply from Ply Co.
3mm 100% 90 cut rate
Or
100% 150 cut rate 2 pass

HIPS. Not that successful
1.5mm 100% 120, 3 passes

80 gsm paper 100% cut rate 1000

6mm corrugated cboard 100% cut rate 100

Laser Raster
3mm MDF
100% 3500 cut rate for photos 0.2 diam.
100% 2000 cut rate for black font 0.15 diam

Lanterns.
School paper
Fold/score = 40% 2000mm
Cut = 100% 1300mm air assist off

Comprehensive post thanks Tom. Never “played” with acrylic but I have a job coming up.  How cleanly does it cut?

Thanks for posting these results Tom.

We are just completing our material database and will cross-check your results with ours.

Much appreciated.

Is there a way for me to save these settings into Laserweb? I can’t figure that part out

Yes, you use the material database.

Settings / Machine Profiles / Launch Material Database

From there you can organise the settings as you like. I have attached a screen-grab of our pending database to see how we have organise things.

 

Oh wow…

OK, I think I’ll wait for yours to be released and then tweak it.

Looks great. pretty exciting

Tom,

Can you please run a test with the following settings.

3mm MDF

100% power

Start height = 11.5mm

1 pass

Speed = 110mm/min

 

6mm MDF

100% power

Start height = 13mm

4 passes

Pass depth = 0.25mm

Speed = 120mm/min

@Daryl
Acrylic cuts very neatly. There’s no melting or charring. My test cuts are a little 25mm 5 pointed star and the points are really sharp.
You can see a faint line on the edge for each pass of the laser, but it’s no big deal.

@Domenic,
Those settings for 3mm MDF were perfect. Sliced through like butter and the cut piece just fell out.
Interesting… (I wonder if you are going to recommend us to have the height setting mid way through the material?)

@Domenic,
Those settings for 6mm MDF were good too.
It actually cut through on 3 passes. The 4th wasn’t required.

Please let us know when you release your material database

Thanks Tom.

We are nearly through with all the initial materials we plan to include. I just need to find a solid 1/2 day to complete and verify it all!

*Desperately wants to be aware of when the database becomes available*