Material Chart


Would it be possible to get a material chart for etching and cutting published to the forum? This would help us to determine the time and materials that we can use.

Example           etching per square inch(area)           Cutting per time for 1 inch length(per thickness/power)(radius)
plastic ABS           1 minute                                         1/8 inch(30 sec @ 50% power ); 1/4 thick (45 sec @ 75% power)
wood (pine)           45 seconds                                    1/8 inch(60 sec @ 50% power ); 1/4 thick (90 sec @ 75% power)
Cardboard           30 seconds                                      1/8 inch thick(15 sec @ 50% power ); 1/4 thick (20 sec @ 55% power)

~ EDITED to make it easier to read.


I would say that it is not possible.

The time taken to cut a job depends highly on the job itself. If everything is vector cuts, then the job will go very quickly. If you have a bunch of Raster engraves, it will take a long time.

If you are cutting a single continuous line, the job will be very quick. If you are cutting many small individual parts which are spread around the work material, and you did not optimize your tool-path motion, the job will take ages.

Further… what you need in order to cut a material is a specific amount of energy. That energy is determined by the amount of time spent on location and the setting of the laser. So at one speed you can cut your thin material with 10% power, but at a higher speed you can only cut the material with 70% power, and at some speed you barely manage to cut while using 100% power.

Why do you choose specific speed/power settings? Level of detail, and end result of laser after-effects on the material. If you actually WANT to have a burn mark around the cuts or engraves, you should probably move slow. If you will be turning lots of corners rapidly, you REALLY want to move slow. The edge finish on certain plastics may be terrible at half speed full power, but phenomenal at half power full speed…


I suppose at some point there will be a list SIMILAR to that, but generally not necessary since it will be saved on the cloud. As you experiment, I think you can save pre-sets as well for certain materials/jobs.


There probably won’t be any presets, because the variation between e.g. two similar looking sheets of plywood can be infinite. Like, one sheet will be really quick, and the other impossible, and many values in between.

You will be able to create your own presets, and we’ll have performance characteristics for materials we sell.


I’ve been thinking a lot about the software and how I’d like to interact with it. Hopefully, there will be a way to take a design and adapt it to various materials with a minimum of effort.

For example, if we collectively define a red line as a vector cut, but then individual users may further define the speed and power values of “vector cut” per material, we’d all be able to easily cut the same design in different materials without altering the source file.


Many of the responses have been about cutting power/speed. But do note the original poster was asking about time.

I mostly point this out in case anyone with a lot of laser experience is able to give any ballparks for him to work with.


Thank you @jacobturner. I think I made this to complicated of a question. I am seeking this for logistics. This does not need to be an exact. The chart could be GF material only. I have placed custom laser cutting and etching jobs in the past, although is was quite a few years ago. the cost of the jobs were determined by etching per square inch and cutting per inch were how they determined the time it would take to complete the job. If I am not mistaken, GF appears to doing the same thing to show when a job will be complete.

As for raster images. Assume everything is vector.
I was thinking this is something people will need access to outside of the printer. My two reason are below.

  1. we are a maker space and we will need to schedule time on the GF. Having our members calculate the area of an item and the percentage of the area etch will give you one time. Calculating the radius of an item will give the length of the cutting. (I could keep going on this. )

  2. we are planning to go onsite to schools to be part of their STEM programs. We will have different amount of time with each class. There will be times were we can print one item and be fine. But their will be times where we would want all the kids of take something. So knowing this information would allow us to schedule the appropriate about of time.


While useless to you right now, once the software is available, you can just load your cut into the software, and it will give you a time approximation. Do not click the “Send to Forge” button, and you will just have an estimate of time.


For very rough approximations, figure 400mm/min for 1/8" materials, and engraving at 8000mm/min, with a selectible number of lines per inch but where 100 is adequate. (I don’t remember what we’re actually using right now).

Yes, I know, we can’t keep our metric/standard units straight.