Raster Engraving:

Settings for laser engravers vary and adjustments will need to be made from model to model. Models differ in their wattage, from machine to machine and from product to product. Becoming familiar with how your particular laser engraving machine functions and how its settings work is the first essential step. Try the following:

Create a 1″ square using your graphics software, fill it with black and with no outline. Start with the speed setting of 100% and a power setting of 5%. Send the file to the laser and begin lasering. Take a close look after even a few strokes should make clear whether the cut is too deep, too shallow or just right. If the engraving is too deep, lower the power. If the engraving is to shallow raise the power. Depending on how the material reacted, adjust power accordingly.  If 5% power didn’t even touch it, try raising it to 15% power or 20% power. Resetting the power and trying again until the depth is just right is the fastest way of determining the settings. If you raise the power up to 100% and the material does not have the desired look after engraving, you can start lowering your speed. The slower the laser goes the deeper the engraving will be. Leave your power at 100% and lower your speed in 5% increments. As you make power setting adjustments be sure to make a note of them. The same settings should continue to work on that machine using that product. The main thing to remember is you can always engrave deeper into the material with one more pass but if you engrave to deep in the beginning you can never put the engraved material back into the original material. Going to deep at first will render your object un usable.

Vector cutting:

There is also no good way to give reliable settings for vector cutting on the laser. There are simply too many variables. A quick test of each product type should provide numbers that will continue to work on a particular machine.

This time make 1″ square, using your graphics software. Assign them a hairline outline and a color of Red, along with no fill color. Start with 100% power and 20% speed. If the laser does not get all the way through, slow the speed down. You can send the same square in the same place. Try 15%, then 10%, then 9%, then 8%. Go all the way down to 3%. At 3%, adjust the speed to 2.8, then 2.6, then 2.4, you can go all the way down to .01% speed. Once you find the appropriate settings for that material, be sure to make note of the setting.