New material cut test method

Don’t know what settings to use on a material? The only way to be sure is to test. Good news! You can effectively test on a thin strip on the edge of your material, it’s fast and easy.

I use this shape to do so (SVG attached):

Material_test

Click here to download/save

Or click here for the ZIP: Material_test.zip (3.3 KB)

To use:

  • Set the first operation to score (the numbers). You’ll use these to identify your cut pieces later.

  • Set each of the curve shapes to a power/speed combo that you want to test. I usually set a constant power and then alter the speed, starting lower than I think I’ll need and ending higher in steps of ten. For example: speed 150, 160, 170…240. (this typically works well at full power on a pro for most 1/8" (~3mm) hardwoods and plywoods)

  • Alternatively you can set a constant speed and vary the power. There are some cut shapes that might work better at a known lower speed, this would let you back into the correct power. This is useful especially in very tight tolerance inlay projects with complex shapes. 95+% of the time I use the first method.

  • (Optional) I usually cut the pink and orange segments (the outline) at the lowest speed in my example (150 in this case). This will cut the entire test out of the material and leave a cleaner edge.

  • Align it on the edge of your material, and cut away.

Once it runs, inspect your cuts and decide which one looks best, the scored numbers will let you trace the settings back in the GFUI. Now write the settings down. I often get excited and forget to do this; I always regret it.

It’s scaled to be 0.5" tall and just over 3" wide, but you can alter it to fit your needs.

**Pro tip:**

Name your material test job in the GFUI with the settings, so it would be something like "Material test 150 to 240". That way you can make other tests on different ranges/power settings, and know which is which by looking.

**Pro tip part 2:**

Did you know that the GFUI can be deep linked? That means that if you load your job in the browser, you can bookmark that specific job. So, setup your test, then bookmark it for later use. You can just jump straight to your new material test job via the bookmark, no more rummaging through the GFUI. (This works for any job you will want to come back to, don't be shy with bookmarks!)
93 Likes
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Two things I learned doing this…
#1 leave a space behind the cuts that way if 8,9,&10 cut all the way through the pieces don’t fall off.

#2 if you engrave a circle or square above each cut with a standard LPI the one piece of wood becomes a permanent record. but be sure to label it!

Great idea! :partying_face: folks have been wanting a way to put all the designs in a filing tree!
You can build that tree in a bookmark folder and no longer have to search. :heart_eyes:

8 Likes

Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

2 Likes

Some very useful tips here, thanks! And thanks for the file.

1 Like

best pro tip yet

3 Likes

I already love your test trip :heart:

This. THIS IS MIND BLOWING! How did I not know this??? I could save a bookmark into my design folders (which are already nicely sorted) and it’ll just go there?!?
I think my only question is, does the link still work if you remove the design from your dashboard?

6 Likes

One way to be sure…

I could see it going either way. It all depends on how GF decided to handle it in the database on their end. I wouldn’t count on it lasting forever even if it does work, at some point GF might clean up “deleted” designs to save disk space and improve database performance.

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Nope you get the “unexpected error” - so no cleaner on the dashboard, but if I’m only ever looking at the most recent designs who cares how busy it gets!

Thank you!!

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This is definitely up to you, but I like them to fall off. I want to see the edge quality and char levels at each cut test.

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Thanks! I’ll plan to use it on that 1/16 walnut…

2 Likes

Why thank you, sir!! Great post!!

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This is probably a dumb question, but how do I download the file? It opens as a URL, not an Inkscape file. Thank you! I really want to use this file because it’s GENIUS!

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For everything in this forum it’s a right click on the image and save as svg - IE and Edge will not work - you will need to use Chrome/Safari/Firefox/or some of the others :slight_smile:

image

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This is AWESOME!!!

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This is great. I’m running Home Depot 1/4 Maple and having a REALLY hard time getting anything to cut constantly. Even this test, I ran 120-210 as my 1-10 cuts (all at full power), and only 1,2,3 actually cut through all the way. I’m cutting test circles and they either don’t burn through, or they burn the wood to a crisp. Starting to wonder if something’s up with the machine. I JUST got it last Wed.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
~Donna

Not all plywood is great for lasering. Was this ply advertised as laser-able?

Filler in plywood can vary greatly, and some filler is very resistant to the laser.

2 Likes

What he said. Unfortunately plywood from local hardware stores tends to cut very poorly. There are air gaps in it, inside. Knots. And sometimes they fill patches with a product like Bondo. (Can’t be cut with a laser.)

If you are stuck using it…shine a flashlight through it and mark the spots with a pencil where the air gaps and glue plugs are, and place your design so it doesn’t hit them. (And pray that the Proofgrade gets restocked soon.) :slightly_smiling_face:

Some folks have had better luck with higher grade Baltic Birch plywood. It can still have issues, but there usually aren’t as many.

3 Likes

It is the Purebond Maple Plywood 10 pack from Home Depot that literally everyone else seems to be using. The machine will cut most things on the left side of the any wood, but nearly every cut on the right never cuts through regardless of the settings used. So, we’re really confused about what we’re doing wrong. Thank you for offering suggestions!

Thanks! We will order some Baltic Birch and see if that works better.

If that happens consistently, (cutting through on one side but NOT the other ) and with different woods, it’s a machine issue and you will want to notify Support.

Test it on a few different materials. Make sure the material is pinned down FLAT. Any warp will affect the cut. And check to make sure the tray is seated evenly down in the dimples without any crumbs in there.

4 Likes