Improve efficiency of engrave paths, an idea

Hi Developers! I don’t know if this has been mentioned before, but I have suggestion to possibly speed up engraving time at least. I am watching the laser head pass over the material without engraving often. For example, the design is a circle with a large, empty, hole in the middle. When the GF cuts it is cutting side-to-side over the design, so the empty space in the middle of design is being passed over often, extending the time to finish, even though no engraving is being done. Is it possible for the laser head to travel closer to the engraved area along the circle, where the design is being engraved most of the time, instead of how it currently traverses the area of the design that is n to being engraved? Thank you for all of the great advancements you all have developed since the beginning of Glowforge!

If you want Glowforge to see this, you need to post in Problems and Support. They don’t monitor the forums, but a new post there opens a ticket which they will see.

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you can dictate this yourself by separating your engraves manually.

outside of that, you should look up the traveling salesman problem


I fooled with these concepts way back:

And like takitus said, the TSP is worth looking at:

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OK, it seems like it all comes down to tradeoffs, as usual. After one watches a FDM 3D printer focus on printing a layer, and if settings are optimized, the material is deposited and fused along a fairly continuous path, rarely stopping printing to travel to another location to deposit material, and then back. Sure, they can be set up to do that but I try to reduce the non-printing actions to a minimum. That observation, 3D printer, sparked the question as I watched the laser printer traverse several inches to engrave only 3/4" and then back across that expanse to engrave another 3/4", and so on. Travel over the expanse seemed kind of time consuming and the benefit is not yet apparent to me. Anyway, thanks for the feedback here and elsewhere on this forum. It seems like in some use cases, higher quantity production runs, there might be some benefit to extending set-up time to devise more efficient use of laser cutting time. Other wise, it is an interesting science experiment to me at this point that has limited use outside of some knowledge gained. So, really, thank you all for your replies!!!

It’s not an unreasonable idea.
The time spent reversing at the end of each pass is close enough to the time spent traversing the bed. You’d have to be engraving the outline of, for example, a picture frame, for it to make much difference.

It’s just not beneficial to a hobby-grade machine.

An industrial machine with more robust mechanics would likely be better able to handle something like this.

Also, maybe, higher production runs? The technology seems to be available, in terms of path calculations for other cartesian based systems, as I mentioned, so the idea occurred to me that maybe it also has a place on the GF. But, that’s just an idea. I realize that, without a background in this technology or the GF in particular, really, I don’t know what I’m asking for. I guess this is all an interesting thought experiment, maybe. I appreciate your feedback.

The problem is one of acceleration and deceleration. With a worm drive the top speed is not as high and acceleration is not an issue. On the glowforge the head has to reach the required speed make the pass and then slow enough to turn enough and speed up again in the opposite direction,

That starting and stopping issue gets worse the faster you go so much that a higher speed can actually take longer to do the job.

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