Lighter print: Using lower laser power or pre-processing your image?


#1

Hi,

I’m experimenting with some materials, namely at the moment cork, but this question really applies to any material. I am looking to get the following result:

  1. A light-ish print - something that does not print any darker than it needs to - or etch into the material any deeper than it needs to.

  2. Something that prints quickly. Ideally I’m looking for the sweet spot of the most efficient print. I.e. I can print some logos on material that take 10 minutes each for example… or with my optimized setting, 1 minute each.

I always leave my speed at full when printing - so that can’t be the bottleneck. The question becomes, what do I alter?

  1. The laser power - will a lower power make for a naturally lighter print? Will this impact speed?

  2. The image itself - do I have to increase contrast or some other aspects of the image before it hits the GFUI? For example, instead of having BLACK as one of the colors, if I lighten everything up, will it create a lighter print on my material?

  3. Or perhaps the setting I have not named yet… Lines - I think it’s lines per inch in GFI? (Is this the same as DPI in my programs [photoshop, etc])

SO to sum up:

  1. A great quality print (great resolution i.e. does not look pixelated or down rez’d)
  2. … that is not too dark (because I think this impacts speed)
  3. that prints at the maximum speed possible (because I would like to launch into production and print multiple copies of things at some point).

Thoughts?

Thanks! :medal_sports:


#2

Your biggest factor here (for engraves), as far as time, quality, and to some degree darkness is going to be LPI.

You’re already moving the head as fast as it will go.

Making it lighter or darker will then come down to your power setting. Higher or lower power won’t make any difference in time.

LPI, lines per inch, can make an image darker or lighter as you change values because the beam will be overlapping more with higher values, less with lower. LPI also has a lot to do with the quality of the engrave… but, too much might be a waste of time as some materials just can’t hold a ton of detail.

Here’s what you’re looking at: everything is connected to everything. Test. Make changes slowly and record them. See what works and what doesn’t. Test some more.


#3

As for cork, there have been lots of discussions of setting if you search. My experience is that cork takes almost no power to engrave, you can get a dark image with a very light touch.

Here’s a cork use where I was specifically going for a lighter engrave, even with the low settings I still had to lightly sand it to get my desired “aged” effect: