Engrave Settings Documentation

Is there any documentation on what all the engrave settings do. Like Draft Graphic, SD Graphic <…> 3D Engrave

and in the Manual Engrave

Speed I assume just controls how long the laser linger so the slower the speed the deeper the cut?
Precision Power? Is this the Max power it will use?
Min Power? I assume this is power used where the bitmap is white
Focus Height? not sure what this does

I am mainly tinkering with grey scale bitmap depth masks and am trying to figure out the engrave depth. Right now using proof grade 1/4" medium maple black in the bitmap only cuts about halfway down. If I want it to engrave deeper do I slow the speed down or play with the focus height? Is there a way to directly control the depth? Or do I just have play with the numbers til I get the right max depth.

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Since each material burns differently, the only way to determine the depth of the engrave is through testing. (And it can take a while.)

So no, unfortunately, there aren’t any handy lists of settings and results. I have a couple of starter points, but they can vary quite a bit. :neutral_face:

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Speed: you’re correct. It’s how fast the head moves. The faster it goes the less time it’s in any one place and thus delivers less power. And delivered power equals depth of burn so you can slow it down to make it deeper or increase power until you run out and then adjust speed.

Precision power: Max power is what it will use for blacks (either in grayscale or for the dots in a dither). Min power is what it will use for the nearest color to white but not white. White is unburned for photo engraves or vary power engraves.

Focus height: that’s where the smallest point of the laser light will be. The laser is a cone that constricts to it’s narrowest at the focus height and then expands again after that point. Typically you set the focus point to be the surface of the material. Sometimes you want to defocus it for different effects. For instance defocusing an engrave in acrylic will smooth the engrave because the beam is wider where it hits and overlaps previous passes more.


Thanks for the explanations. Is there any trade off for adjusting speed/versus power other than the limits? For instance if I wanted to engrave less I could speed up the movement or reduce power.

Depends on what you’re shooting for, but if I can Speed it up, it has the additional benefit of taking less overall time to Print, so that’s the way I’d go with it. :slightly_smiling_face:

I thought for cutting, focus height should be in the center of the material.

That’s what I do on other lasers. Dan said it’s not needed with the GF - just use the standard focus height.

I can see where on proof grade they might automatically set the focus for cut at 1/2 material hight, but what about non proof grade?

Setting focus on cuts to 1/2 thickness should apply to all lasers including glowforges.

@Dan said no, they don’t set PG at 1/2-way through. It was one of the first things I asked about when I got the PRU because I’ve always set the focus to half-thickness with other lasers.

Except when I’m doing thick materials like 1/2", in the GF I just leave it at the surface. But since I’m doing multiple passes on thick stuff I step it down myself.

It’s probably worth testing to see what benefits you get from changing the focus point. I’d expect none for 1/8" but maybe a little cleaner for 1/4" ply. Also for acrylic it would depend if you want a slant edge or an hourglass edge for gluing.

I haven’t had issues following Dan’s guidance so I’ve never bothered to do the testing. Remember that if you change the focal point for qtr inch stock to the middle (1/8") you don’t want to use 1/8" power & speed settings you might have pulled from PG settings since you have to get through the top eighth before you get to the bottom eighth.


Do you really get an hourglass shape for acrylic? All of the examples I’ve seen posted were slanted in one direction over the whole cut.

I’ve actually only noticed it on really thick acrylic which also needs multiple passes on the Redsail. It’s actually a reverse hourglass as the top & bottom are tapered inward from the “ridge” in the center.

It’s obscure and pretty tiny but for some projects & folks it seems to matter :slight_smile:

Wait, tapered inward? You mean like this?

No, the other way. “inward” toward the piece. Sorry. I’ve only noticed it when trying to glue as it rocks on the center of the cut. It’s like an X down the cut line.

We don’t have any documentation like that now, but I will pass on the request for it. Meanwhile, I’ll move this to Beyond the Manual so the discussion can continue there.