A350 - First laser engraving attempt - 2.6 mm plywood tiles

Two prints of the same image I got off vectorstock.

First was in Vector mode, 50% power, 2 passes. The second was black and white, 90% power 2 passes, no depth change.

The B&W came out with a little bit of depth in the engraving which I was hoping for.

Any tips? Particularly for cleanly removing residual soot? I just used a damp cloth since I really have no idea what I’m doing.


Hi, Msiek,

I run the laser alot and find that most of the residue is just sap or moisture from the wood. Depending on the wood type. Normal water and a cloth will remove the black residue. However, if you use a stain afterwards you will find it will work better. Using a mineral oil or a wood cleaner like Pledge with lemon will also work. Just lemon juice on a paper towel also works great. Try not to get it too wet. As far as the look you want, try to experiment with the FILL setting in Vector mode and adjust the percentage of fill. You can also adjust power and number of passes. I use a fixed power of 30-40% ion soft woods and 2 passes. If I have to go up in power, I drop the number of passes. yes I use alot of wood blanks but if you are working something special it would pay to experiment on a few blanks first. Using higher fixed power I stay with 1 pass. Lastly, if you have not calibrated the laser to its finest line, keep this in mind. Also adjust your laser dot to the smallest size you can. As you move UP/DOWN in Z height, your laser line will get thicker. So depth does have a play in clarity.

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You should be able to run these in 1 pass.
Running multiple passes increases the extra burn.
Set to 100% and adjust darkness by speed.
The faster you can run the cleaner it will be.
The only thing to note is if there are differences in the grain of the wood it will be more likely to be uneven if you go faster. The blanks you’re using look pretty uniform so it shouldn’t be a problem. But until you run it on a particular piece of wood you never know.
As long as you record your work origin (I take a photo) and don’t move your workpiece you can always run another pass and make it darker.

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I hadn’t even noticed the collapsed fill section for vector. Going to rerun a sample with that.

I was surprised that at 90% power for the B&W it didn’t penetrate as far as it did. Not sure, but a fraction of a millimeter. Considering at 100% power I could cut out a circle in two passes. I guess this has to do with it blasting dots in b&w mode vs just being full on ‘all gas; no breaks’?

I’ll try using speed for darkness. Do you have a sense for what’s considered fast and slow range specifically? I probably left it to what ever default was.

The other thing to consider with vector is the density. Depending on what your material is the density will increase the amount of burn within the shape - affected area will overlap. Some materials you’ll see lines if you set it 10 and others it will fill in nicely. If you set it to 20 it can be the equivalent of doing two passes because of the ‘bleed’ (I hope that makes sense)

It’s so subjective and dependent on the type of wood.
And what person’s charred beyond recognition is another person’s perfect.
Kind of like roasting marshmallows over a campfire.

That being said my middle when I do tests (I take a 10x10mm sample and repeat it a bunch with different settings) in vector is usually 800-1000mm/m at full power. And somewhere between 400 and 2500 is where I end up.

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I made this grid of squares in vector mode varying by power % and # passes to see what it’s really mean.

constants are fill and speed. lines are visible on 1 pass 40 but rest are charred blobs varying by depth.

It was a little tedious to model this in Luban. before I go through iterations for different variables I was wondering if there were already premade calibration test files for something like this for snapmakers? Feels similar to temp towers for 3d printing

There are, but I never found one I quite liked. Most of them were two big and took too long.
And then different images needed different settings so they didn’t quite correlate.
I’ve found it easier in practice to just take a small section, say 10mm square, of my image and just repeat it 8-10 times with different settings (speed or power, not usually both) and pick the best one and sometimes do a second pass with less adjustment to refine it. I think with my darkroom background it’s kind of how I used to set print settings.
For cutting one of the problems I found was that the pass step down needs to vary with the thickness of the material. I’ve found using some short 10-15mm lines with various settings gives me some pretty good info on what it will take to get through the material.
If someone has a good one I’d love to try it out though.

Found the one I did at first when I was just trying to get my head around what did what.

The top two were grayscale bars from 10% to 100% done with grayscale and then black & white.
Then the lines are vector 100 to 10%. Probably at the 140mm/m that SM uses for default.
Then reverse showing cutting through: