Pickguard / guitar engraving

Settings i used here (instead of MoaG)

i can share some settings with you, but honestly, the body there is a different material (that looks like it has a lacquered finish) and the settings i used for the pickguard were very specific to the bitmap that i used. I did a lot of testing of different variations of the bitmap with editing in photoshop.

the guitar body i engraved on was okoume, which is similar to poplar in the hardness scale. so i started with proofgrade poplar settings and dialed it back just a little. since i have no idea what kind of wood that guitar is or how much it would take to get through that lacquer coating, i have no way of knowing what would work for that body. i’ve only engraved unfinished wood bodies.

the pickguard was 1/16" black acrylic, done at 400/full power (basic)/225/vary. but, again, that was very dependent upon the image i used and i ran 7-8 small 1’ square tests to make sure i had both the contrast in the image and settings the way i wanted.

it’s really important to have something to test on that’s either the same material or very close.


Testing is where you can learn the most. I keep my test parts small so they complete quickly and don’t use too much material.


With that in mind, it always surprises me when someone asks for settings for a particular material.

Perhaps it’s just me, but from square one it was obvious that testing is required four different materials. That always seemed like kind of a treasure hunt to me, and I enjoyed it.


I enjoy it too, now that I know more what I am doing. As a new user I felt quite tentative adjusting settings, but once I understood that a pass with a power level of 5 at a reasonably high speed was not going to cause a problem ever I started having fun. I love tuning and tweaking.
The most fun I’ve had to date was doing very deep engraving to cut pockets in acrylic. The consistency in depth is excellent. Plus/ minus .002" @ .187" deep on a 1/2" square pocket. That is almost certainly because of the uniform properties of an individual piece of acrylic.

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I typed a response earlier but deleted it.

If I have a large job or material is limited, I always test in a small area on the material I’m about to use. Obviously you can’t always do this, but it only takes one or two failures to wish you had.

I won’t trust even my own test settings for every piece of similar material, when a couple of minutes can confirm they will work perfectly.


i don’t mind when people ask for settings in general. i’m not going to guarantee them, but it’s always good to have a “starting place”, even if you’re going to test. i search the forum here when i use something new for that starting point. then test.

this instance is a little difficult. because unless you’re buying that okoume body, settings for the guitar will be different. and unless you’re engraving a very similar pattern in the acrylic, those settings will be different. but i don’t know what the patterns the person who asked me for settings wants to use, so i don’t know if these are going to work.


I guess that you do not always have some scrap to play around with. Then you could do a light pass and re-run if needed.

Yeah since the pre-release I’ve had several years to play with this thing, and of course I explored everything I could get my hands on so I have a good chance of nailing what I want off the bat. That doesn’t mean I don’t upload the design to see what it looks like to the laser, and back up to adjust the design… :no_mouth:

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You can, and that’s the safe mode. But if you engrave multiple lighter passes, you get a different darkness of engrave than on heavier pass.

Yes, that makes sense. I have not done any picture engraves to date. I have used engrave very effectively to cut pockets though. That works well.

I have a picture of the Hindenburg moored at Lakehurst that will be my first picture engrave attempt.

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if you’re engraving for depth, it doesn’t matter. if you’re engraving for color/contrast, it can make a difference.

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