Question on settings for 3D engraving

I am doing 3D engraving on walnut. My designs are black and white. when I ‘print’ with the forge I seem to get various depths. Not heights - meaning the overall design is flat on top but the depth at which it is cut into the wood varies. How do I control the depth at which it cuts? I want it to cut about 1/4" deep or just a bit less.

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I’m not sure what you mean exactly… “Depth” and “height” seem to mean the same thing in this context as far as I can tell. Not sure what settings you’re using but…

You can select 3D Engrave for some Proofgrade materials. That should give you something close to what you’re looking for. Although you may need to adjust to get 1/4"… that’s pretty deep.

Alternatively you can select “Vary power” on any material and adjust settings as needed. Vary power will apply more power (deeper engrave) to darker shades.

Let me explain better. I am making a stamp and I want the design to be 1/4” deep or a little less. Right now it is only going about 3mm deep. I’m using almost full power, like 96%. I did not choose proofgrade, I chose walnut. Will telling it is something proofgrade get it to cut deeper?

There are a couple of ways to engrave for depth.

3D and Variable Power engraving is done with grayscale images, the darker the color, the deeper it cuts. There isn’t any way to specify how deep it goes though, except by setting your gray shades, and it only works on rasterized images.

The other method is to run a few tests and vary the LPI (lines per inch) setting. The higher the LPI value, the deeper it cuts, and the longer it takes to print.


Oh I did not know that about lines per inch. I’ll have to try that.

3D engraving takes the grayscale value of your artwork and then modulates the power accordingly to the min/max power setting. You can’t specify a depth ever. If you need a specific depth, you need to get there by testing.

I know it is a greyscale thing. That is why I stated the design was in black and white. So is it just a crapshoot each time as to how deep the engraving will be?

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No. You experiment with your material using a template - here’s one example of many shared here - until you find settings that give you the results you are looking for.

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One thing I have noted is that when I am trying for a very deep engrave, I sacrifice time to lessen charring by going over in multiple passes to get to a depth I need.

Although it is buried in a long post, in the design file I have two squares that I have set up that I can use for testing depth engraving. Since I need it to be 1/2 depth engrave and that can vary with materials, I usually test with these small squares. Then I can match them up and see how flush they are.


I wouldn’t use 3d engrave to make a stamp. Just use engrave and adjust your power up and your speed down until you get the depth you’re looking for. Assuming of course you have a clear image to work with. If it’s grey scale then you’ll have to adjust it to get it black and white first.

No, you just need to test. If power is already at full you can slow down speed or run additional passes. Too slow can result in lots of char (and melting on acrylic) so you’d be better off with more passes in that case

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It looks like you’ve received some great advice from our other community members. Thanks folks!

This question is outside our team’s scope. I’ve moved it to the Beyond the Manual so the discussion can continue there.

I would. The whole idea with that is that you can have sloped sides to strengthen your stamp design, which you accomplish by doing a greyscale fade away to black from your white stamping area.

There are lots of other threads about this concept, I don’t know where they are, I’ll leave it as a search exercise for the reader.


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