Acacia Wood Problems

So I engraved two exact same boards/files a few days apart with (I believe) the exact same settings. First board came out perfectly; the second one is like too soft and the image is blurry. I can’t figure out why. Any insight?

They are acacia trays, about .48" with the crumb tray removed. Settings are 1000/100/270. adjusting the power doesn’t help on the second one.

(sorry pics are in reverse)

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Different pieces of the same wood can have different properties. This is common with all wood.

In order to diagnose, we will need to know exactly everything that changed between the two runs. Did you pull out the crumb tray? Did you clean the lenses? List everything that you did with the laser between the two runs.

It appears that the second run used a more diffuse beam, so knowing what you did with the laser between the runs is crucial.

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the darker one looks very out of focus.

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Yeah. The files are the same and the machine is fairly clean. What could be causing it to lose crispness?

My first guess is that the height of the two pieces isn’t the same and the focus was not reset to the second which would cause blurriness. Are they different thickness/heights?

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as i said, out of focus.

this. when the laser is out of focus, you’ll get that kind of burn. you need to be 100% sure you’ve either manually set focus properly or used setfocus to get proper focal height.

So the pieces are nearly identical (they’re commercially sold trays so as identical as they can be). Hard to measure the engraved area’s exact thickness with calipers bc there’s a lip. Since this one is already ruined, I ran several more tests at various heights, inc. auto focuses, and they’re all coming out with these soft edges- out of focus. I cleaned the lenses… maybe I ended up dirtying them instead? Could it be a lens issue?

I’ve done well over 500 projects by now but still consider myself to be a newbie. Thanks for your help.

One thing that happens often to people is that they put the lens in upside down when replacing after cleaning it. That can and will cause focus issues. Just double check the lens…it goes in with ‘cup side up’.

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So I hadn’t actually taken out the lens this time. But I cleaned other parts. I even rolled back to the exact settings from the first engrave four days ago- reran the printing- same result. Not sure where to turn.

Then I tested a completely different product- different wood, different settings- gf is working normally. So I guess it’s the wood after all. Very distressing, as I said, it’s commercially sold, mass-produced finished tray.

Since this problem is being seen on materials that were purchased from another company, we can’t offer support for prints that don’t come out as expected. Materials may vary widely from piece to piece, even if they’re created by the same manufacturer. I’m going to move it to Beyond the Manual so other folks here can help. Should this happen with a print on Proofgrade materials, please open a new ticket in Problems and Support and we’ll help you right away!

I really don’t think this is a material issue.

image image

This darker engrave on the left is completely out of focus compared to the lighter one. there’s no way the laser was focused properly for the left engrave. all detail is completely blown out.

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I tried another new board and same thing happened. I guess I’ll have to do a deep clean and report back. Cannot figure it out. I’m positive settings are the same for both. Must be debris right? What else could it be?

the only setting i’m talking about is height. nothing else will matter if you get that wrong. if you’re off 1/16", it’s going to start to affect engrave quality. that looks like more that 1/16" off.

how are you telling the GF what the height of the material is? are you manually entering it under uncertified material? if you’re manually entering, how are you measuring?

or are you running focus height and pointing it at the spot on the wood that will be engraved?

there’s a lip around the entire edge so you can’t get an accurate reading with calipers. the first one i estimated at half the total depth (.47 -> .235) and it worked perfectly. I ran tests with auto set focus as well.

I guess my question is - is the blurryness from the depth being see too deep then, or another factor?

it looks completely related to depth/focus to me. you may have to get creative to measure depth properly, but if you’re wrong, it will look unfocused like that.

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If you’re using set focus you shouldn’t be having focus issues. My first check would be that the lens is inserted upside right.

Can you recreate the problem with draft board? If so, tech support will have to investigate.

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So the lens was inserted correctly. But I went ahead did a deep clean once again and this time it did the trick. I was confused because other materials were still engraving and cutting correctly.
But the auto set focus is now working again. Thanks for all your input folks. It’s very disheartening when this magic machine goes awry!

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In reality different parts of any wood will react differently, some more than others. You are trying to use the char of the burnt wood as a colorant. It works a lot better if you use an actual colorant.

If you have a masking brayed down very well and then do your engrave, then a brush with a bit of black ink in the engraved area it will make all the parts uniformly black, I have even carefully pushed hard in the edges of the engrave after to make sure it was tight on before applying the black.

Well I do love the look of the wood showing through but also interested in (food-grade safe) ideas as well.