A little night cap - testing anodized aluminum engrave

I so need to go to sleep, but anyway, one last thing for the evening… Unlike @karaelena I decided my new iPad pro would not be first test, but with a wife who is a vet, figured hey, let’s try dog tags.

20 seconds in AI, export as a 600dpi PNG. Placed a dog bone on the honeycomb and used the ruler to square it up (that’s going to be a challenge, without some sort of grid thing like I have on my X-Carve and FR4 CNCs) and I suppose in the future I will make a jig…

Anyway, here is a 600 dpi engrave on a dog tag, using these settings (no idea if they were going to work):

I don’t know if my LPi need to match my Dpi? Is that why there is a bit of aliasing on the sides of the letters @Dan? Particularly on vertical letters (the L, D and F). But for a random setting guess, still pretty sweet, and from farther away than 1" looks great


I like that, let’s just throw something in the Glowforge and make it do its stuff.

The “l” in medical and the “i” in director certainly have some strange artifacts. How does the small text in the ruler look? I’d say with text that small, higher lines per inch would make a difference for sure.

I’m almost always engraving text that is converted to vectors and engraving vectors rather than text that has become a bitmap.


All right Henry …I’m getting finger cramps from highlighting all these projects. Go to bed! :wink:


Wait I can do a vector engrave? Like just export the text as outlines and set it to engrave instead of cut? I guess I’d need to fill the paths?


Yes, when you put the names onto the name cards in the name card file those will be vector engraves.


Don’t listen to her, @henryhbk, doctors don’t need sleep, keep cutting and engraving!


Yes. That’s how I do my inlay letters.


I’m a little worried about exceeding tube life tonight… With enough caffeine I may give @Dan’s tube life estimate a run for his money…


Well now I know what I will do while my coffee steeps…


No need to fill the object. Keep it as simple paths.


After you do the full engrave run a vector score around the edge to clean it up. It’s faster than running a super high lpi. Also if you cut a rectangle the size of the tag you can use that to make sure the text is centered. You prob knew that already though =P


It allowed you 300 in/min?!?!? Mine’s throttled down to 197, I thought.

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197 is the vector speed. It goes up to 335 for engraving.


Ah… Missed that, thanks. Btw, what settings are you using for cutting cardboard?


for .15 to .2" cardboard I use 30 power and 40 speed, if I recall correctly.


Thanks. Just cut some 0.06" at 4/80.

Lots of good advice here!

  1. If you’re using a source bitmap, high DPI is better.
  2. It’s better to keep your text as a vector, though.
  3. High LPI is better (although takes longer).
  4. Anodized aluminum is one of the most unforgiving substrates, and…
  5. There’s still plenty of work to improve engravings coming.

Do you mean cut a rectangle in some other material and place the tag in the hole, then engrave?

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Thanks @Dan.

OK, so without changing anything else, here is the same settings with a vector engrave. Definitely got rid of artifacts on the verticals, still more aliased than I expected for that many LPI (compared for instance to a laser printer), but now we will test high LPi…


Yeah, you have to either rotate the image to match the skew in your material or you need to make a jig. The other thing I’ve been doing is lining the material up with the intersections of the holes in the honeycomb. That lets me get vertical & horizontal alignment “good enough”.

You can also put a large piece of stock on the bed and cut out a box - I think it was 18 1/2" by 10" now (I think we’re losing about an inch all around the bed so far. That’s what they’re working on improving via motion control optimization. Leave the shell in place and everything will be vertical & horizontal. You can cut a couple of other pieces - 1, 2, 4" wide and 10" long and drop those into the cutout so you can place something in the middle and still have it square to the travel paths.