Breaking up the cuts into more layers won’t help - Stop will always be instant, but pause can take some time when doing cuts because Smoothie needs to process all the commands in the plan buffer before it will pause. The only way around that would be to send it one move at a time, like LaserWeb used to, and that dramatically reduces engraving performance. We’re looking into making our “push-ahead” system smarter to allow the pause to happen more quickly, but this is mostly a firmware issue that we’re trying to work around.
Grbl, has a pause command we send, and it pauses instantly. Smoothieware offers no such option.