Miniature Bases - Defocused MDF Engraving

So, this is the technical stuff for this post.

I wanted to get smoother MDF engraves that didn’t take an hour each.

I went through all the default settings before experimenting with power levels and whatnot.

When that didn’t help, I decided to try defocusing the laser.

I started at 0.2", then 0.3", up to 0.4" for a 0.118" thick piece of MDF.

I had to increase the power / lower the speed to compensate, but I ended up with a super smooth engrave, that only took 2mins for a 1" diameter circle.

Here’s my experiment log:

It’s missing my headings, so it’s Speed / Power / LPI / Passes


Thank you! I’ll have to try this soon.

Very good intel. Thanks for experimenting and letting us know what worked.

BTW, Pro or Basic? That will help us understand the “Full” power one as that setting is different between the two machines.

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Yes, excellent work up! (I’m going to tag your post with “settings” so folks can find them.) :grinning::+1:

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Right, yes sorry. It’s a Basic.

For this particular base, could you a de focused score instead? It would be loads quicker, and might be good enough for what you are doing…

I noticed the little peg you are using to hold down the board. Do you have a file you would share of that? How reusable is it ?

The creator of those pins shared them in the Free Laser Designs section. Look for Honeycomb Pins.



I have another, similar project in mind that I’m planning to try that method. The issue I foresee is that there wouldn’t be any kind of texture on the surface of the stones, so they won’t paint very nicely.

Got you, just seen your other post and understand now.

Great post! thank you!


Question about this. My time is coming in at 6.5mins using these settings.
What am I doing wrong? Also…I’m trying a 2"x2" one.


I’m not entirely sure I understand your question. The more area you have to engrave, the longer it will take.

A 1" circle has an area of 0.79, and a 2" circle has an area of 3.14 sq in, so there’s about 4 times as much engraving to do.

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I’m sorry. I thought this was a 3x3 test. Not a standard 28mm base. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

But while I have you here. A) thanks for the great work! and B) have you had any luck using this technique to get bases with beveled edges like the games workshop bases???

Ahh ok. The main post was a 3" circle, it took 11 mins.

As for the bevels, I haven’t tried it, but you should be able to just engrave a (white->black) gradient of the appropriate width and then cut around it?

I have wondered about this too but never really looked into it.

Experimentation time!