Questions, so many questions

Hi forum peeps!

I think this forum is an outstanding source of information, and I have spent lots of time reading up on various things, to the detriment of my household chores. At the risk of asking something that has already been answered, I have a few questions I thought I would throw out there.

  1. When engraving on non-proofgrade material (wenge to be exact), should I be concerned about flame-ups? I have tested a small portion to check the depth using the proofgrade maple settings, and it came out good. But there were a lot of flames in certain spots blowing towards the front that immediately went out. I am just wondering if that is harmful to the machine or if I should dial back the power some (was set at full power, 1000 speed).
  2. If my design does not exactly align with the edge of the wood, and some of the engraving overlaps it (basically lasering the honeycomb tray), will that cause any issues? I tried to get the outline as precise as I could but am worried it is not perfect and don’t know what happens if it isn’t.
  3. If my material (wenge again) is very dark so that I have trouble seeing how to line it up in the app, what can I do to prevent the design from lining up outside the edges? I want to engrave all the way to the edge of the material because it will be joined to another piece, also engraved.
  4. Kerf - I have read lots of posts about kerf, but now I am wondering how to adjust for kerf on a really shallow engrave. I read Jules’s document and used it to cut my inlay pieces (which are veneer), and that worked perfectly. As for the engraved hole in the wood, I think it needs to be just a hair wider. Do I just make it wider in Inkscape or try to come up with some kind of kerf value per that document?

Thanks so much in advance, I will also add that I am completely new to all this. Very exciting stuff!

Thanks!

I have some wenge but have not tried cutting it as yet but in general it is good to have a test piece that you have cut and engraved over a range of numbers and keep that as a reference. If the smoke occasionally goes to flame, it often cannot be avoided, but not a good thing. If you are cutting, the flame will reduce the effectiveness and perhaps not cut through. If you are engraving it can burn the down wind parts that stick up.

If you are engraving two pieces to be joined it might be best to join them first. If you want to see the edge a white tile or sacrificial scrap can show you where the edge is. Another alternative if the wood is wide enough would be to cut at the edge of the engraved area and that you can do in the design program .

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Yes but no - quick flames that go out are gonna happen - but if your material seems prone to flaring that’s one it’s worth camping yourself in front of the machine so you can quickly pause it if the flames don’t go out!

I do this all the time - the laser can’t hurt the crumb tray. What it can do is leave flame marks on the material (on the underside of it as well) which can be cleaned, but if you find that it still cuts through at a lower power then definitely lower the power, no need to waste it :slight_smile:

My first suggestion is to get masking and carefully cover (or not carefully, but then cut the edge to match) so you have a nice white sheet to see through the camera, plus that makes cleanup at the end go better - keep in mind that if your design has very delicate parts you may want to set the minimum power to 10 or so to make sure it gets through the masking)

I’m not a kerf adjuster yet so someone else will have to help there!

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No, but it’s going to be hard to see any engraving on wenge. :slightly_smiling_face:
(Flames the size of a birthday candle are common with some materials, and won’t hurt anything as long as the air assist fan blows them away from the lens in the head.)

Nope.

Put some wide white masking tape down on the bed, then set the wenge on top. *

Could probably tape down some copy paper too. But do tape it down, you don’t want it loose.)

Yes, depending on the depth of the engrave, you can wind up with a buildup of resins, glues and ash against one front face inside the engraved hole. You can compensate for that by making it a little bit larger, or just use a small scraper to clean out the hole. I use a sharp 3 mm chisel to scrape it clean for tight fitting work

All good questions…you’re gonna have a great time with this. :smile:

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Thanks! I can’t join the pieces first, because then they would be too big to fit in the Forge. Basically trying to make an inlay with veneer on top of the wenge that will join to another piece. I’m just terrified to actually cut the big pieces for fear of starting a fire lol.

Thanks! I will get some masking, there were a lot of char marks that did not come off, so I think that will solve that :slight_smile:

Thanks! I’m only trying to cut a channel to inlay some veneer, you are right about how dark it is. Maybe I will run another test with lower power to see if it gets the right depth without being so scary during the print :slight_smile:

And thanks for everyone’s reply, very helpful! I’m sure my household would prefer I just get this over with, but I just want to make something magical :slight_smile:

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I’m so sorry, but you’re hooked. I recognize the symptoms. :rofl:

(I love wenge, it’s a clean cutting, strong wood. Wish Glowforge carried it.)

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You can run a very useful set of tests with this-

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There are some things you can do with an extra outline around an engrave to define the edge a bit more with a score or low power cut, however you do it. I’ve used it to zap the insides of engraves to make them a bit crisper where the soot builds up.

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