New to the Glowfoge - please help

Hello - I’m a new owner of a Glowforge Plus and having some difficulties. I’ve created a file - an acrylic sign with the table and number etched as well as a geometric pattern on the sign. Then the outer edge is cut. Pretty easy design…I thought so. I created it in Adobe Illustrator, something I’m relatively new at, and saved it as a .svg file. It says it is going to take 38 minutes to complete. Not quite what I was expecting. Can anyone help me?

Engraving definitely takes longer than cutting, and if your geometric has lots of tight corners the laser has to slow down to make them - so 38 minutes isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

If you post your .svg here folks may be able to give you a more specific answers.

Welcome to the club!

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How tall is the engrave area? I mean physically tall in inches?

The thing that determines the length of time necessary to complete an engrave aside from the LPI density (which you should have set at 225 or less for tall items) is the vertical height of the design on the screen.

The laser engraves by moving back and forth, one line at a time, like the old dot-matrix printers. It takes about an hour or so, at a lower density LPI, to traverse the entire 11 inch height of the bed.

The options you have are:

  1. Reduce the Lines Per Inch engrave density. (Don’t take it lower than 195 LPI if you want to get complete coverage. Banding starts to occur below 195.) Don’t choose the HD engrave setting on large engraves unless you absolutely require it…for acrylic, you don’t, it will actually cause overmelt ridging and give a less appealing result.

  2. Rotate the design on the bed by 90° if it will fit, so that the majority of the engraving is parallel to the X axis. It can knock a lot of time off. The machine can print text sideways and upside down just fine.

  3. Break the engraving up into sections and process one at a time if the design allows it. (Doesn’t work for everything, but some split very well.)

  4. Make it smaller. It’s always an option. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I really appreciate your feedback! I’ve attached my design. If anyone can give some advice on making it print out faster I’ll be very pleased.

Thanks

GEOMETRICSIGN2.pdf (75.8 KB)

Try scoring your lines instead of engrave and see if you like the result.

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Jules - I’ve been reading a bunch of your tutorials! Thank you!
I just turned the design 90 degrees and I’m now down to 29 minutes. I will try breaking it up into sections.

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You don’t have tons of extra nodes, but there are a few that you could ditch: specifically in the script font. You are on the right track with converting the text to outlines, but there is one further step, which is to select that whole chunk text and do a Unite operation.
here is the tutorial I wrote for that:
Text Merge Tutorial jbv.pdf (1.6 MB)

in this case it won’t amount to any real time savings, but you will probably be happier with the end result after 29 minutes of printing. In more complicated designs, and especially with grunge fonts, reducing the overall node count can certainly speed things up.

7 Likes

I find that 38 minutes isn’t too terribly long depending on the complexity of the engrave and it’s size.

Thanks for the help everyone! It sounds like you’ve helped quite a bit here.

I’m going to close this thread. Please start a new topic or reach out to support@glowforge.com if any additional help is needed.