Any tips for getting the best possible engraving using this picture?

In an ideal word I would vectorize with only lines…but thats too much work for the time I have. I am a big glowforge user but never an engraver.

I will be engraving this on 3/16" purple heart. Can anyone give me tips / estimated settings, I know I need to test myself but I need to get this done quickly at work tomorrow in a very limited time span when im with my laser haha…

Is this going to look fuzzy? I feel like when I try to do non vector engravings things always look fuzzy and not good.


Do you have any extra wood?
I ask as the only way I know to optimize non proof grade is to experiment.


yep got extra, do you have any starting suggestions for settings?

1 Like

I’d try one or more of the proof grade hardwood settings.
I’d say high LPI but we’ve learned that that is not always the case. Sometimes med LPI looks better.
Often it helps to pump up the contrast in the photo.


one thing you can do to save using too much of the extra wood is to find a nice, representative section, maybe 1"x1"or a little bigger, and test just that section until you get it right.

and yes, @markevans36301 is correct, you’ll probably want to work on a higher contrast with less gray in it. too many levels of gray will normally end up with a “muddier” engrave.


I upped the contrast, giving this image:

Then I printed it on a random piece of solid wood I had available, giving this result:

The settings were 1000 speed, full power, 270 LPI and “convert to dots” as the grayscale mode.

I also tried “vary power” and your original image, but the result was coming out very light and fuzzy, so I canceled it part way through.

Neither result looks awesome. Both are very fuzzy, not just in detail but the actual texture of the engrave. They’ve really eaten into the grain of the wood. Whatever this wood is may be too soft for a good photo engrave, hopefully yours is harder.

I’ve only gotten good photo engraves on maple and birch plywood so far.


wow thanks man, i appreciate the effort, ill give it a try myself too tomorrow!


This reminds me of the Central High School building in Pueblo, CO. lol


So I think this is partly because the image is only 567x567. Last printers default to 300 dpi, so to get that level of detail you’d be looking at an image that is a little under 2x2". Hard to tell scale from your pics, but it looks like you did it pretty small and 270lpi is a good choice for getting decent detail at speed.

I find that with vary power you need to up the contrast like you did. I prefer to use curves to both set contrast and also ensure that the dynamic range is maximized from full black to full white. I think for this image you got pretty close with a contrast adjustment, but you definitely need the high contrast to get good results in vary power.


What’s going to be the hardest part is that purple heart is already dark, so even if the engrave lines get darker it may not be visible enough. I might suggest running bleach over the section of wood before you engrave - and then sealing the ash in so the dark lines stay dark. A test piece will definitely matter here!

If you can’t get it contrasty enough, possible going deep rather than dark will give a good impression!


As hinted above, dark woods don’t produce good results for photographic images. You can get away with bold, simple geometric shapes and such.

They are good for infill with light or metallic colors.


This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.