Feature Request: Preset to test new materials

I just watched a video on the new Dremel laser, similar to the GF but different in some key areas. Judging from the video I think the GF has a better feature set and easier for beginners. I think the primary benefit of the GF isn’t necessarily in the feature set, but that the development stack (hardware and software development) is entirely in one company.
That said, there is one feature the Dremel has that I have always wanted the GF to have: a preset to test new materials. The swatch I saw from the Dremel looked to be primarily for engraving, but I would love something setup for cutting, engraving and scoring. I know this is probably a lot for the GFUI to process, but the GCode for each machine should be the same. Could we have a selection in the UI that allows us to run the preset for new material? The process to test new materials now is a cumbersome initial setup, and it’s something that every user has to do even though we all have essentially the same machine. In the short-term It could just be an item added to the store that’s free, so that people could just pull it up when they need it.
I understand that the answer to this problem is the proofgrade materials, which I have ordered and use, but even then I occasionally don’t get cuts that go all the way through and I’m left tinkering with the speed and power.
Thank you for considering and keep up the good work.

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So uh… Go ahead. You can’t expect others to design what you want. :slight_smile:

If they’re using gcode, sure. But Glowforge does not.

I think his thing here is that yes, it’s possible, but it’s a cumbersome set up.

And I agree, it is.

But, I also worry about some of the testing routines. I’ve seen several here where people are testing down to 100 speed and full power, and half of their material is actually a hole because it’s been burned entirely through.


@Tom_A I have created a design for to test full-power cutting. It took about 20 minutes from inkscape to cut, and it’s just an array of squares. It works fine and gives me a starting point. I want something to be standardized across all users so it’s easy and approachable, which is the main selling point of a GF.

Also, why can I not expect others to design what I want? I do it all the time. I want a toothbrush, so I buy a toothbrush designed by someone else. I want a laser, so I buy a GF because they designed a quality laser system. If I had bought a Dremel or the FS Muse, a product designed by others, they provide a pre-designed template to test for this. I’m not asking for a user to design this for me, I’m asking the company to iterate their cloud-based software to include it.

@jbmanning5 I agree. In my ideal version I could input the range of power and speed to test.

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My squares have stars in them so I can see what an engrave around a shape looks like. But that’s me. Everybody’s tastes are different. My son and I also decided to design an odd shape that would reprecent multiple things. It looks kinda like a pinball flipper. But it’s got sharp corners, straight lines, rounded corners and angled lines. That covers all the bases I can think of to look at.

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Would the post from @rbtdanforth towards the top of this thread below work or is this a different concept you are looking for?


This design is good for getting a feel for it , and you can keep a stash of them of you keep for-getting as I seem to do .:crazy_face:



I like that a lot, thank you for sharing. Something like this is what I would like added to the UI. It would make this process so much easier and help each user avoid the tedious manual process of creating all the settings for each color.

You kind of HAVE to create all the settings for each color, because there’s such a wide range of possibilities that one pattern for testing every material would end up taking a whole sheet of material and would probably set your machine on fire at some of the test settings on some materials.

I keep a couple of variants of the above pattern in my UI set at different power levels, so I can choose the appropriate one for the material I’m testing. You only have to create the settings once for each instance of the pattern; it’s very handy.


You’re right, and that’s why it takes so long for one person to do it. If each GF users is doing basically the same thing every time they have a new (non proofgrade) material, that’s a lot of time that could be saved.

The feature I’m looking for is a tool in the UI which allows you to drop in a pre-created template and give it a min/max and interpolate the other values.

Example: If the template had 15 cuts to test at full power, I could provide it with a min of 100 and a max of 400. The tool would then interpolate the values in between and assign the values to the cuts. It could do the same thing for engraving and scoring as well, but right now I’m just focusing on cutting.

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I bet someone could write an addon for that.

After looking at the JSON for my calibration template it looks this is something that could be generated with plain javascript. Maybe someone could hack a tool together to inject some javascript to load a JSON file hosted elsewhere. That would also allow users to share projects already created.

Unfortunately I could only get far enough to see what the JSON is for designs. I don’t know how to inject JS to load a JSON. Here’s the JSON for my calibration template as an example.

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They’d have to. There no way Glowforge would possibly publish settings for materials that they don’t control. They’d be liable for damages to the material, the machine, or the operator. There’s just no way.

This question is outside our team’s scope. I’ve moved it to the Beyond the Manual so the discussion can continue there.

I’m sure they could have a lawyer draft a nice little disclaimer that states the settings provided for non-PF materials are just a guide to be used as a starting point.

Would be nice if there was a shared database where everyone could add their settings. It could include:

  • Name of Product
  • Name of Material
  • Supplier/Vendor
  • Product weblink if available
  • Settings for cut, score and/or engrave
  • Sample pictures of results

Sifting through countless posts is not the most effective way to find of someone already has settings for a given material.

There are a few of these floating around. You kind of have to sift through countless posts to find the links, though. I have more luck using search in the Beyond the Manual section for " settings."

But the fastest way to nail settings by far is to set up the test strip @evansd2 came up with, or the modified version by @rbtdanforth.

It will take a little bit of work to set it up in your GFUI at a couple of different power settings, but the future savings in time and materials is totally worth it. When you want to use a new material, stick it in, pick a power setting, and cut the test strip on an edge. You can quickly see what’s going to burn through all the way with the least amount of burn-through at the corners, what will make a nice score line without burning through, and with the modified version placed over an edge, how deep the engrave settings will go. At most you might need to try it twice, to see what different power settings will do, but I’ve gotten so I can usually pick one that works well enough on the first try.


So go ahead and create it. I’m sure you’re not the only person who thinks it’s a good idea. Create it. Share it out. Let us know! I’ll be happy to contribute.

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