Engraving, HD vs 3D

What exactly is the difference between HD & 3D engraving? It looks like all the same settings are in both.

The main difference between “HD Photo” and “3D Engrave” is the “Grayscale” setting.

HD Photo uses “convert to dots”, which converts the colors in the photo into dot patterns. The darker the color in some part of the photo, the more dense the dot pattern. All the dots are burned at the chosen power level (full), so the engraved parts will all be the same depth.

3D Engrave uses “vary power”, which converts the colors in the photo into power levels for the laser to fire at. The darker the color in some part of the photo, the more power will be used when burning it. This means that different colors/brightnesses will result in different engraving depths. This creates the 3D effect.


Also the difference between HD photo’s 1000 speed and 3D Engrave’s 450 speed means that the 3D digs a LOT deeper since the laser stays in any one spot almost twice as long.


But on mine, whether I go in under 3d engrave or HD, I have all the same 3 choices, dot, pattern and vary power, seem like they could save a button, there has to be something else?

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Yes - all the settings can be manually changed to all of the others - the single buttons are so you don’t have to think about the manual settings. Remember, the :glowforge: was designed and built for folks who don’t already use lasers. Their entire schtick is push-button usage.


If you click the edit pencil then this row of icons will show up - click the trash can to delete:


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If you put in any kind of thick acrylic, you’ll find “SD Graphic” and “Deep Engrave” settings available, and they differ from each other only in that one has “1” in the “passes” box, and the other has “2” in the “passes” box. So it’s not unusual that there are presets that don’t change much. The idea is that you don’t have to know these details if you don’t want to, and your warranty gives you special coverage when you’re using the Proofgrade settings on Proofgrade materials, so it’s good to have as many safe choices as possible without having to venture into manual settings.


@dan84 thanks for that excellent explanation!

I’m going to go ahead and move this to everything else so the conversation can continue.


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