Engraving Issues (darker in center, lighter when moving farther)

Hello there!

First post here. Just got my basic GF a couple days ago.

I built a little jig (medium draftboard cut outs) to be able to insert 6 pencils that sit horizontally one on top of the other. I have been engraving some wording and found out that the engraving is darker/deeper under the camera (lets say pencil #3 from bottom to top is the best looking one).

Pencil #1 (bottom, closest to front of machine) is at least 2 shades lighter than #3. Pencil #2 is not that bad but lighter than 3 for sure. Same goes for 4-5-6 (6 ligther than 5, 5 lighter than 4). None of them are exactly the same from each other and the center one is the best one!

In the mean time I am engraving 2 at a time to achieve same results but it is more time consuming.

What is going on? is this normal? I already performed cleaning of lenses and camera calibration.

I also used auto focus and manual focus. Results are the same if I do all 6 at the same time. Seems like the farther away you are from the lens, the less deep it engraves but that makes no sense to me because it’s not like the laser is being shot sideways from the center to the rest of the bed… the head moves and it shoots right under it, so why is it lighter when its not under the camera???

Pencils are only about 0.25" apart from each other. It should not have such a difference in the depth.

My jig is sitting in center of bed. I think if this is “normal” it sucks because I can’t imagine if I had a jig that would hold about 30-40 pencils. They would all look so different!

Thanks in advance and sorry for such long message!

No that generally doesn’t happen. If the settings are the same, and the engraving is landing squarely on the pencil, they should all be pretty much the same.

Can you run a batch and take a photo of the results on the bed without shifting the pencils so we can see what it looks like? (If your after-print image is clear, you might be able to show it with a screen capture. If you can, capture the rulers in the shot so support can see how the pencils are spaced too.)

That will help support to see what’s going on.

That’s interesting…most of the pencils look like they engraved fairly similarly, allowing for differences in wood from manufacturing (there will be some of that) …with the exception of the center one. It’s definitely darker, but it doesn’t look like a focus issue…it looks like it might have been a double engrave.

Check the file and make sure that you do not have two right on top of each other…sometimes when you are copying files it’s easy to accidentally duplicate one and leave it behind.

Doesn’t look like there is anything wrong with the engraves - you’re probably going to see some slight variations in any man-made materials. (The darker one in the center might just be the wood too, but I’d check for a duplicate.)

The file was designed in illustrator and it contains all 6 pencils in one artwork (no copy and paste in the GFUI). Yes, center one is way darker… very stange, I dont think it should be normal.

I double check my artwork and there is no double cuts

It’s easy to do in AI too…open the file in Illustrator and delete the center phrase, then CTRL+Z to put it back. It’s a quick way to check for duplicates.

Other than that, it might just be the pencil. If it was compressed more tightly, it’s going to burn better. Part of what we fight is trying to get consistent results by burning natural products…it can be tricky, to say the least.

I don’t think you have an issue with the machine - you can probably go ahead and set up a larger grid for more pencils. If you want to try to burn them all deeper so that they are “maybe” more uniform, you can try slowing down the speed by about 5 points. It might even them out a little, but no promises.

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Oooh, even better - try running a couple of copies of the Gift of Good Measure at the center and just above it, but do them on a sheet of Draftboard to check to see how they turn out. That should give you a better way of seeing if it is machine related, and support will probably ask for it.

sounds good, i will give it a try

I ran the job 3 times (18 pencils) and always the center was darker than the rest (gradually was getting lighter toward the top and bottom.

Illustrator file is fine, I un-groupped everything are there are no duplicates

Also, I tried engraving in groups of 2 and 3 instead of 6 at a time and the center one didnt look like that. They all were uniform. It happens in larger batches (6)

I’m so sorry to hear that you’re running into trouble. I’ve extracted the log files from your Glowforge to review this print, and compare it with the details you’ve provided. Based on the logs, it appears that some of the engrave steps in the file you utilized may have had different settings associated with them. I’d like to take a look at a copy of the design file to see if we can narrow down the snag. Would it be possible to attach the file to this thread? If you would prefer to keep it private, you can email us directly at support@glowforge.com. Once we can review the file, we’ll send over the next best steps.

Hello, I will email you the files to support@glowforge.com

Thank you for taking the time to send over the file. I’ve followed up with some additional details directly via email. I’ll close this thread, and continue working on the snag you’re hitting there.