Laser head goes same speed whether on or not?

Hi all -

I’m doing some experiments with Cermark substitutes according to suggestions on other threads here. This involves full power, 100 speed prints for getting solid dark grey marks on brass. After my first experiments, I just started a larger print with a lot of white space in it, and was dismayed to find the length of time scheduled. When it started printing, I could see why - it is travelling at the same minimum speed whether the laser is on or off. Why is this? Is there some setting I’m missing? Normally the head travel when the laser is off is quite rapid.

Source is a jpg, but it is pure white and pure black, no greyscale. As such, I’ve told it to do greyscale at minimum 90 power.

Given that the design is about 80% white space, I’m assuming I could save at least 70% of the nearly four hours this is going to take if it were to build its gcode to properly skip over whitespace. Any way around this?

Nope. Currently not set up that way. (It does have high speed travel to and from the engrave now, but the engrave speed is currently set.)

I’d suggest lowering the LPI if you can afford to. Probably not something you want to do on metals, but it works out just fine on woods. Keep it an 195 or above, but the lower you can get it, the more time gets taken off your print.


Ugh. Well, there’s a job for the programmers… I assumed that was straightforward enough it would have been in version 1.0.

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And be sure to orient the bulk of your engraving in the horizontal direction. You can save a significant amount of engrave time vs vertical.


You could break it up into pieces and do each of them separately but you would have to do that in your software and create the breaks where they would have least interference,
If it is pure black and white that might be easier to trace into vectors and do the job as several filled vectors.


Yeah, I’m going to have to work on converting these things to vectors. I’ve had very bad luck with that so far (which is why I tried this one with the raw jpeg), but it’s mostly a matter of deducing what glowforge actually sees in a SVG file, and then learning how to use Inkscape to get there.

Not much of a reach. Bitmaps can only be engraved, Vector graphics can be cut, scored, or engraved, and you can choose.

If you have a clean graphic Path > Trace Bitmap will do a nice outline though you may want to play with the settings.

The head has to speed up and slow down - they discovered a tiny (like less than a few percentage points) advantage to speeding up/slowing down in between so scrapped it. There’s a chance a 2.0 or 3.0 will have a lighter head in which case the advantage might grow, but I wouldn’t count on it!

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I’m sorry you’ve run into trouble with long engrave times during some of your prints. I see you’ve already received some information and suggestions from other community member. Thanks folks!

Would you be able to share an example of one of the design files you described in your first post? I’d like to take a closer look to ensure that your Glowforge is operating as expected. If you’d prefer to share the file privately, you can email it to us at Thank you!

It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email