Full power to the laser? Or not?

So this is a 2 part question:

  1. What exactly is the difference on power settings between “100” and “Full Power”?

  2. Is there any problem with using full power for all cuts? Or would it be safer to use a lower setting, slower speed, and multiple passes?


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100 is the same on both Basic and Pro. Full is more than 100 and more on a Pro than a Basic.

The basic approach for cutting most materials is to use Full power and then adjusting the speed so that you make it through the material, but without too much flashback. (Slower cuts deeper.)

  1. The lower part of the scale up to 100 is the same for both the Basic and Pro models, that’s necessary so everyone can use the same settings. The Full Power setting is an extra boost of power, and it’s more “boosty” for the Pro than the Basic.

  2. When you get into cutting things like paper, cardboard, fabric, etching slate…you won’t want to use Full Power. For cutting through woods, it’s fine to use full power.

Contrary to what most people might think before they start playing with lasers, you want to go as fast as possible, with as high a power as possible, to reduce the kerf size. The longer you linger in one place with the laser beam, the more material gets burned away.

So yes, leave it at full power when you can.


So running the laser at full power isn’t going to be detrimental to the laser at all?

Nope. :slightly_smiling_face:
(I’m sure they have these things scaled back a bit from full out power to lengthen the bulb life for us.)

No, only use less as a material consideration.


Thank you! That was exactly the worry we had. Since we sell what we make, we make a lot. Or at least, that’s the plan. My GF is my baby, I don’t want any harm to come to her.

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Dan has said that full power does not hurt laser life.

Use the settings that give the best results, and don’t worry about wear and tear.

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That is a secret that GF will not tell you. I could make a stab at calculating it but I can’t be bothered at this stage. On full power the GF uses hardware PWM, and on 1-100 is uses software PWM where the motion file turns it on and off at 1.25 KHz.

I don’t think it ever runs the tube at 100% duty cycle. I suspect it uses a machine specific value that compensates for differences between tubes.