Office, Workshop, Lab notebook: logging the prints

I have been working off a spreadsheet for the time being but will import it to HanDbase. Just don’t want to take the time to design the data entry form.

In the meanwhile, what would you consider as essential for recording prints? What fields, what data, what observations.

It would be interesting to make it relational. Have a design table linked to a print table so you can document the iterations of a design that you document in the other table.

What is your current practice. Thanks for the guidance!


I’m just commenting to make sure I notice other replies. I have been wondering this as well. There’s the obvious things like material, speed, and power. I’m sure I could get carried away with lots of other data that ultimately wouldn’t be that useful. I’m looking forward to hearing what others have to say.


This is just a suggestion. As I do not currently have a laser, these are the things I can think of off the top of my head.

Material-Operation [cut/engrave/score]-Settings [speed/power/focus]-Location On the bed-Operation time-Observations-Comments


I don’t have a laser yet either, but what about recording how the laser did? Items like char on the edges of wood, any flair-UPS , did paper discolor on the edges, and are the edges of acrylic cuts polished.

It will not let me spell up s.


I have been very lackadaisical about recording my findings, mainly because I never knew if they were going to change.
The few times I made an effort iI would just jot down some notes on a piece of paper and take a picture of everything including the notes. I figured I would make a spreadsheet and transcribe the notes “eventually”.
In the mean time I try to name the pictures in a reasonable way and keep them in a folder with the SVGs and any source documents.
When I am looking for notes I just scroll through my folders and view the images.
This does not scale well!


I had planned on keeping notes with the file, material and any common setting changes. I may need to adjust after playing with the software though


So I keep a little Moleskine notebook (may go to HanDbase myself - interesting looking product).

I have the following info:

  • Project number
  • Reference project if any (this is for iterations of a project over time so I can follow how I got to this one)
  • Date
  • Start Time
  • End Time
  • Elapsed Time
  • Design file used
  • Design source (if I used someone else’s design)
  • Name of the Picture of laser settings in the software (I take pictures with my phone of the settings - easier than writing them down)
  • Name of the Picture of the end result (can we attach pictures as fields in HanDbase?)
  • Material type
  • Material size
  • Material source
  • Material cost
  • Cut power
  • Cut speed
  • Engrave power
  • Engrave speed (these give me a starting point next time - I usually have a fair number of different cuts/engraves in a single project so these are the settings I used most in the project, the settings picture will show me the rest by line color)
  • Material acquired date
  • % Material used (e.g. I do a lot with stock sized material - 12x12, 12x24, 18x24 that I won’t use up for a project so I don’t want to “price” a full sheet when I only use a quarter of one)
  • Number of iterations needed to get dialed in (like did I have to make 3 before I got the settings right)
  • Masking type
  • Finishing (how I intend to finish it - paint, natural, oil, etc)
  • Comments (anything special about the cut occur or I thought of to make it better next time)
  • Who it was done for

I don’t do this for a living but do like to know how much things cost me in time & materials so I can estimate what it will take for something I make for someone. I think this would be useful for someone doing it commercially though.

In a database I’d add some sort of classification system so later I could find holiday gifts or signs or utilities (like my calibration tools), etc. Right now I keep those in different directories in my overall LaserProjects folder on my laptop so I can go find things by subject/topic by scanning the files but having a database field would make it easy to find which one I was looking for pretty fast.


In a database version links to the files would be great (and some provision for searches on the back-links so you could answer questions like "Does this design cut OK in X kind of wood, or only in Y kind of wood and in acrylic?)

I like the idea of recording how many tries to dial in. And/or some kind of big comment field…


Great comprehensive list. I’m saving it for myself as a guideline. Thank you!


This is similar to what I use for CNC plasma cutting and CNC milling, With lots of perfect additions! only thing I would add is the thickness of material.


LOL! Thanks, that’s in the notebook but didn’t make it into the transcription :slight_smile: I updated my posting so it’s there for @marmak3261 when he gets to it.


While this may not scale well, I’m not sure there is a consistent set of information to be collected for every project. Personally, I find this type of ad-hock documentation to work best for me when I next come around to work on that project again.

I fully understand this does not work well for sharing findings with others.


It does seem a shame that a logging facility viewable by the owner is not part of the package. I know it has been discussed.

I hate entering data more than once and if the metrics are part of the workflow, surely it can be available.

Not a priority in the moment, and since the Proofgrade and the catalog designs just work, not much of a need. It’s predicable.

Only thing is how close to the edges without causing issues with the swarf flying up and drifting over the cutting area.

Anyway, we’ll continue this journey and I’m sure it will happen some day.


It occurs to me that it’d be great to have the Glowforge capture a record of each item cut. I’m thinking:

  • Photo of material before starting (from the camera in the lid)
  • Photo of the finished piece (from the camera in the lid)
  • Time/date of start, and time to cut
  • Material (from the QR code)
  • Item ID (if the design is from their catalog)
  • Filename (so that we can keep track of our own designs)
  • Settings
  • A place for adding free-form notes

This would all be very easy for their software to capture, and it’d help us track our usage, keep track of what works and what doesn’t, etc.

Yeah, not as critical as shipping, but assuming they capture the info on their servers, they can add the UX later. :slight_smile:


Great idea for the hopper! (cc @tony)


Wow…thats alot of detail…I generally record material, thickness, power and speed settings for vector cut, vector engrave and raster engrave. I also note the kerf for each as well.


Yeah, it’s potentially overkill but it’s the engineer in me :slight_smile:

I teach laser classes (operations & design) at the local MakerSpace so some of this helps them because they provide materials. So I do it for everything so it becomes a habit.

The time stuff is something I found to be pretty useful - I tend to do things that I will end up repeating later for someone else and I like to know before I jump in whether I’m going to be spending 20 minutes or 2 hours babysitting the machine :slight_smile: