I’m a relatively new GF user and have been working away at figuring out how to use the functions that I purchased it for, but there are some things that I was hoping to receive some assistance with.
Essentially, what I am trying to do is to determine the settings required for the thinnest cut possible on a wood veneer which is .5mm in thickness. I am able to obtain cuts but they are not near the “hair strand thinness” that is said to be possible. To give better context, I am cutting shapes in to different colored wood veneer sheets and am interchanging the cut outs. While I can do this, I have been unable to receive a cut thin enough for the pieces to sit flush against each other.
Is anybody able to provide any information on what settings would best help me to have my cut outs sit flush against each other without the gap between them being as obvious as they are?
Furthermore, are works requiring such precision better achieved through the use of Inkscape or vectorial programs such as Adobe Illustrator?
I thank you for your help in advance and look forward to testing your suggestions!
You’re asking about kerf reduction. (Popular topic.)
If you want to fit something without the gap caused by the kerf, you will generally have to adjust one or the other of the pieces so that they fit snugly. The laser beam burns away half of the kerf on either side, so the plug piece that you cut out of a hole is going to be a little small, and the hole is going to be a little large. The way around it is to cut the plug for the hole in a different area, make it just a little larger than the one designed, and it will drop into the slightly larger hole and fill it up completely.
You can adjust in either Inkscape or Illustrator, depending on which you are more comfortable with. There are discussions on how it’s done below:
The kerf for veneer is going to be fairly straight, so a simple adjustment should do just what you need.
It sounds like to me that you are asking how to get the thinnest kerf possible and people are answering how to compensate for kerf. It is possible you are asking either.
So, let me answer the way I think you are asking not to take anything away from other answers.
To get the best/narrowest kirf, 1) make sure your veneer is perfectly flat, 2) use the focus tool to focus before initiating the cut as this is not proofgrade. 3) use the fastest head speed with the lowest power that will cut through.
Also, your expectations may be high as even with doing the above, minim kirf is around 0.2mm
Thank you to all who responded to my query relating to the thinnest cuts possible on the GF. I will attempt the suggestions made and may come back with further questions should they arise. In particular @Jules, your additional documentation and information relating to this is much appreciated and easy to understand. @markevans36301 I appreciate your suggestions - my expectations are based on what I’m told to expect when using the product so my aim is to minimize the time spent in trying to reconfigure things that aren’t occurring and to determine if there is a simpler way around it.
In the meantime, thank you for the welcome and I look forward to the useful suggestions that others may also have.
In addition to where Jules pointed you this will probably be helpful for what you want to do.
As regards this question,
I don’t know if there is a material difference, but I doubt it. AI has a lot more programming hours into it than Inkscape, as it should considering how expensive it is. That said, AI is meant for print and digital graphics not to create inlay files for lasers. If you use AI it will take you fewer keystrokes to do it and maybe on complex shapes AI will perform better, but IDK. In my opinion, what matters most is how well you understand and can use your tool of choice. You can certainly do great inlay using Inkscape.
Your focus height will have a lot to do with how wide the gap is, so careful measuring of your material will fix a lot of your problem. I use the 5mm underlayment from Home Depot for a lot of projects. It is actually 4.826 mm. I use .19 inches as my setting, and make my vector lines .01 width, or hairline. I get very good results. I use Corel Draw to create my vectors because it is much cheaper than AI, with no subscription, and I can do the same stuff.