Darkly Labs Community

Recommended E2 Cutting and Engraving settings

Thought I would start this thread for E2 users to discussion cut settings for different materials.

Firstly Domenic could you please share your recommended settings for cutting through 3mm ply from Balsa Central?
I have been getting inconsistent results.

My laser is calibrated to +1mm and Air Assist is in use.
Material height 13mm.
Single pass at 100% power at 180mm/s doesn’t cut the whole way through.
Two passes at 240mm/s still doesn’t cut the whole way on complex jobs but will cut through a small square or circle.

I appreciate your thoughts.


1 Like

Hi Jeremy,

We found the Balsa Central wood to be fairly consistent. Our settings for 3mm plywood are 100% power, 3-4mm/sec (180-240mm/min) and one pass. Sometimes depending on variation of glues used and laminations we do have to do 2 passes to completely cut through.

With respect to your machine calibration settings, can I suggest a slightly different approach. We do this sometimes and it yields slightly better results, but is more involved than the calibration test we have suggested.

1: Set your tool-offset value to 0 in the settings (very important)

2: Choose a small section of your design that you are having trouble cutting.

3: Set the feed-rate and power to a constant value (100%, 180mm/min) and run multiple cutting tests and manually increasing the material height in the operation each time.

4: Examine the cutting result after each test to see if there is any improvement.

5: If you do find a certain height cuts much better then use the following setting in your tool-offset value:

Best material height - Actual material height.

eg, 16mm (best result from tests) - 13mm (actual height) = 3


1 Like

Thanks Domenic,

For the 3mm ply I am getting clean cuts with 2 passes at 220mm/min with a 0.5mm Z change. I calibrated the offset to be +0.5mm after following the above instructions.

For the 2.5mm ply, 1 pass at 170mm/min cuts cleanly.


Also what is your maximum recommended raster speed and recommended jog speeds?






Thank you for the delivery!  Lots of time spent reading the manual…


Re 3mm MDF:  Copied the above settings. Didn’t quite manage, did a 3rd pass.  Still a few bits not quite cut.


Recommendations, please?

Hi Michael,

Did you calibrate your machine with the process outlined above?

Each machine will have a slightly different ‘tool-offset’ value.


Depending on the material, we usually raster around 2000mm/min or above. This would work well for wood. 

The min & max power settings in the raster operation is very dependant on your wood. For our plywood, 10%-65% usually does a good job.

Hope that helps.

Hi Dominic,

Sort of, which probably means “no”. I followed the numbers as best I could. Despite some years of vector drawing, and watching the experts do the cutting on a small industrial machine , the E2 is a first-time-alone thing. I don’t know what "tool offset "is, can’t find it on the Laser Web menu. I guessed it was the mat thickness plus material thickness, then plus 0.5mm as per the suggestion.

The tool-offset is a value determined by running the calibration process. This is detailed step-by-step in the user manual. It allows you to determine the best focus point possible, since each machine is a little different.

Once this value is entered into Laserweb the first time it basically never needs to be touched again and is used in the tool-pathing calculations for the laser height setting.

The ‘starting height’ is the height of the top of your material from the base-plate. If you are placing a piece of material directly on the base-plate, then your starting height will be the thickness of that material. If you are using the cutting mats, then the starting height is 10mm + your material thickness.

It is called the ‘starting height’ because you can instruct Laserweb to change the height with multiple passes. For instance you can tell it to lower the laser height by 1mm every pass, to achieve a certain result.

There is lots of info in the user manual. If you feel something is missing or not explained well, please let us know. That soft of feedback really helps us refine things and make it easier for customers.

More reading …

Ok, you mean I need to do the exercise on pp 26 & 27?.

Then enter the “tool offset” value as per p. 27.

How often?

I can do that. Will be a day or so.

Meanwhile, for the manual, a collection of typical settings for commonly used materials would be extremely helpful. With caveats about all machinery needing tweaking, therefore the need to calibrate periodically.

1 Like

Side topic:

I was surprised at the noise level once the machine started cutting, compared to the quiet hum before. Not offensive, but … It seems to come from the air-assist motor. (Not loose.) It this to be expected?

Side topic:

I was surprised at the noise level once the machine started cutting, compared to the quiet hum before. Not offensive, but … It seems to come from the air-assist motor. (Not loose.) It this to be expected?


The noise is from the air-assist compressor and is normal.

You have the ability to enable air-assist within your operations only when necessary.


The calibration process (pages 26 & 27) only needs to be performed once when you receive your machine.

With respect to material settings, this will be released as part of the material database we are compiling. You will be able to use these ‘presets’ within Laserweb.

Thanks Domenic.

With regard to your recommended raster speed of 2000mm/min or more, what is the maximum you would recommend? As in what is the recommended limit of the machine? I have been performing rasters at 4000mm/min without any issues at varying power levels.




I did the calibration exercise. Tool offset is 2.5mm.

A couple of runs on 3m mdf, which is really 3.3mm. Set the E2 to that. Best result on 100%, 2 passes, shift 1mm on 2nd pass, speed 170mm/min.

Now, how, please, do I do an accurately positioned etch and cut combination?

I am building HO scale houses for my model rail layout; I want to etch brick patterns on the cutout chimney. I figured superimposing a second,faster, lighter cut would do. Works, but tricky to locate.

Got the bricks! (How do I put pictures up?)
Using Corel Draw, grouped the cut and brick etch separately. Save-as to 2 files, delete bricks from one, cuts from other.

Did cuts as above, (3.3mm mdf) then keeping Laserweb open imported the etch file, set up for 75%, 1 pass, 750mm/m, 13.3 mm, etc. Got a nice brick pattern in place.

But, why the collection of x/y adjustments that starts the file way off and oddly sized?



Hi Jeremy,

The E2 is currently limited to 6000mm/min for cutting or engraving since this is well beyond what is achievable with the laser power.

There is really no recommended limit for your engraving as it really depends on your material and what you are trying to achieve. If 4000mm/min works for you then stick with it.

The only thing to keep in mind is that with very high speeds, you may start to experience inaccuracies in certain types of jobs. If you see these happening then you should decrease the speed and adjust your power setting accordingly.

We use 2000-3000mm/min generally for engraving because it works well with our materials and gives us the results we need.

1 Like


You can post pictures by either dragging them into the comment you are typing (attachment) or by inserting them into the comment with second button from the right on the bar above the comment you are typing.


If you can save out your workspace file and attach it for me to examine.

This may make your problem clearer.


I may have some problems with my calibration, but these are the numbers that I used:

For 3mm Bunnings MDF (CustomWood brand, 3.5mm in actuality), it takes 3 passes at 100%, 180mm/sec OR 5 passes at 100%, 300mm/sec, but even this may fail to completely cut the laminate at the bottom. Start height is 12mm.

Domenic: if you can cut 3mm ply with 1 pass at 180, then my numbers look very excessive. 

My favourite material at the moment is 700gsm cardboard (from here: http://redpak.com.au/boxes-carton-corrugated-cardboard/boxboard-backing-board-cardboard) and this takes 1 pass at 100%, 180mm/sec for small details.