Darkly Labs Community

Material Testing

I was busy this weekend doing some material testing with the E2. I have a large scrap pile in my wood shop, and being a borderline hoarder, I have other items laying around that were screaming “see if you can laser on me”. So I thought I would share my results with the community. Hopefully, you guys will find this useful, even if the pictures aren’t great. I have a few questions about the testing process and how to apply the results.

Cherry wood sanded to 320:



South African Mahogany sanded to 320:

Hard Maple, sanded to 320



Absolute Black granite floor tile, polished side:

For the slate and granite I used the settings I found in the forum for slate engraving on the 4watt E1. It engraved the slate nicely, but the color change wasn’t drastic so it was a little hard to see. The granite engraved decently, but the edges seemed fractured in some places. I guess you could color fill the slate engraving to help it stand out better. If I was going to engrave on the granite I think I would stick to vector stuff. I love the way the hardwoods engraved, especially the SA mahogany.

So as far as interpreting the results, these were all done using a raster engrave setting. Do the shading variations in the test correlate to levels I set the power if I am doing vector cut and fills? Like if I want a semi dark fill I would set the % of power based on what I see in the test grid?


Next round of testing will be purple heart, Baltic birch plywood, North American clear pine, brick. I also want to do some vector testing on the slate and granite.

Hi David,

Thanks for sharing these results.

The way we interpret the results is the following:

1: We check where the material first starts to be shaded. This may be 25%. We can the set the minimum laser power to 20%, knowing that this is the minimum power before shading start to occur.

This, in effect, sets our ‘white’ point.

2: We check the percentage where the material is fully black. This may be 90%. We then set this value as our maximum laser power.

This, in effect, sets our ‘black’ point.

This way, we know that we are getting the most variation in power and image contrast.


Thanks for the explanation Domenic. So, does this just apply to raster engraving, because you don’t set min/max in a cut or cut and fill?

Correct, the min/max is only used for raster engraving.

For fill, you can choose the level of darkness you require from your tests. You might decide that you like the darkness of the 55% power level, for instance.

It is good to keep these tests handy so you can get to your desired results more quickly.

Whoa, the slate and tile ones are nice!