5 Common Mistakes in Laser Engraving and How to Avoid Them

5 Common Mistakes in Laser Engraving and How to Avoid Them

Whether or not you might be an completed engineer or a novice maker, studying the correct makes use of of design tools to keep away from pitfalls and errors takes time and expertise.

Infrequently, points come up these go away designers questioning what they did mistaken or how they might do one thing higher. That is true in any area and laser engraving isn’t any completely different.

Figuring out the right way to keep away from these errors in order that they don’t come up once more is half the battle. With that in thoughts, let’s discuss 5 of the most typical errors in relation to laser engraving and methods to keep away from them in future tasks.

Mistake 1: Engraving Material however the Laser Burns by way of the Materials

Step one in avoiding burning cloth with a laser engraving/reducing machine is to know which materials can stand up to the method and at what temperatures. Heartier materials reminiscent of denim, canvas and leather-based can stand up to greater energy settings throughout engraving. However in relation to delicate materials, you will need to begin your settings at excessive pace (close to or at 100%) and low energy (round 5% to 10%). Take a look at these preliminary settings on some spare materials, and if the material can stand up to it, enhance the facility till you get the outcomes you might be searching for.

Relating to direct-to-garment engraving, it’s useful to decrease the dots per inch (DPI) at which you engrave. The upper the DPI, the extra materials will likely be eliminated. Engraving at a decrease DPI helps make sure the laser simply barely vaporizes the highest layer and doesn’t burn totally by way of the material. Most cloth engravings do fantastic at 150 to 300 DPI.

Mistake 2: Acrylic Doesn’t Produce a Frosty White Engraving

Greater than doubtless, that is induced through the use of the mistaken acrylic within the utility. Two sorts of acrylics are sometimes utilized in laser engraving and each are appropriate for various functions.

Solid acrylic sheets and objects are created from a liquid acrylic that’s poured into molds that may then be set into varied sizes and styles. The sort of acrylic is good for engraving as a result of it turns a frosty white coloration when engraved, making it appropriate for awards and custom made plaques. It may be lower with a laser, but it surely gained’t give tasks flame-polished edges.

The opposite sort of acrylic utilized in laser engraving is known as extruded acrylic, which is fashioned into sheets by a machine. Extruded acrylic is usually inexpensive than solid acrylic as a result of it’s fashioned by way of a higher-volume manufacturing approach. Nevertheless, it does react very in a different way with the laser engraving machine. The sort of acrylic cuts cleanly and easily and produces a flame-polished edge; nevertheless, when engraved, it doesn’t produce that frosted look, however reasonably a transparent engraving. So be sure to are utilizing solid acrylic in order for you a frosted white end.

Mistake three: Inconsistent Glass Engraving

Oftentimes, when a laser strikes glass it would fracture the floor however not engrave deeply or take away the fabric wanted to engrave totally. The fractured glass floor will produce a frosted look, however will be tough and chipped relying on the kind of glass that’s being engraved. Whereas the frosted look is desired, nobody desires a tough floor or chipping.

So as to produce a easy frosted end, attempt incorporating one or a number of of the information under:

  • Use a decrease decision, about 300 DPI, which can produce a greater end result on glass as you separate the dots you might be engraving.
  • Change the black in your graphic to 80 % black.
  • Run your laser engraver with Jarvis Dithering (this dithering sample will be present in Epilog’s print driver), which can assist to supply a easy end.
  • Typically, making use of a skinny, moist sheet of newspaper or a paper towel to the engraving space will assist with warmth dissipation and enhance the engraving course of. Simply be certain that there aren’t any wrinkles within the paper after it’s utilized.
  • One other technique to dissipate warmth is to use a skinny coat of liquid dish cleaning soap to the realm you are engraving – both along with your finger or a paper towel.
  • Lastly, if there are shards of glass after engraving, polish the realm with a non-scratch scour pad.

Mistake four: Wooden Engraving Produces Totally different Outcomes on the Identical Setting

Wooden is likely one of the most laser-friendly supplies out there not solely as a result of it may be lower very simply, but in addition as a result of it engraves very nicely.

Nevertheless, completely different woods have completely different reactions when they’re laser engraved and produce completely different outcomes. Lighter woods, like cherry or maple, produce a pleasant distinction the place the laser burns away the wooden, whereas denser woods require extra laser energy to chop or engrave.

Grain density can change dramatically relying on the kind of wooden you might be working with. Cherry, alder, walnut and maple have pretty small veins of grain in them, whereas oak has medium to giant veins. For instance, if a big sq. was engraved into a bit of cherry, it will have a really uniform look; the realm engraved could be easy with little variation in top. Nevertheless, if the identical sq. was engraved into a bit of oak, its look would differ vastly in top and would have a really non-uniform look.

Listed here are some suggestions when engraving with wooden:

  • Maple and alder are a number of the the preferred woods for engraving, offering a wealthy distinction.
  • Naked wooden engraving produces smoke and particles throughout the course of that may develop into embedded into the grain of the wooden. To scale back this impact, at all times engrave from the underside up – this helps draw any smoke away from the engraving.
  • When engraving stained wooden, extra smoke and particles will be wiped off the floor of the wooden with a moist material after engraving.

Mistake 5: Laser Engraver Doesn’t Carry out as Quick Anymore

Clear your machine! Very like different sorts of design tools, a clear machine produces higher outcomes than one that’s not correctly maintained. Upkeep necessities are included in your laser machine person handbook. If a drop in efficiency occurs rapidly, checking and cleansing the optics could also be step one in correcting the issue.

We suggest inspecting the optics within the laser (the lenses and mirrors) weekly and cleansing as wanted. Should you’re reducing supplies that produce extra residue, like wooden or acrylic, chances are you’ll discover your optics must be cleaned extra regularly. Sometimes, optics are clear gold in coloration and are brilliant and glossy. If they’re cloudy or have smudges or particles, it’s time to scrub them.


The errors listed above are widespread amongst makers and designers that use laser engraving machines, particularly these simply starting to make use of the tools. However as you possibly can see they’re simply avoidable when you have the information to appropriate the errors.

We assist designers and makers by way of each step within the course of of buying the best laser engraver, choosing the best supplies to make use of, and understanding the right way to fight widespread errors, together with a library of information base articles and useful help for these experiencing challenges.

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