Scorch marks, burn marks, etc.?

hey y’all,

I’ve tried several of the materials that GF has provided in that free materials packet, but everything thing I do (especially when engraving) I get scorch marks.

  1. Any way to avoid or limit this?
  2. Do I take the protective film off the wood before engraving/cutting it?
  3. Any other suggestions?

Thanks y’all!!!

1 Like

A picture might be more telling here.

1 Like


How’s this? :wink:

Hmm. I have an idea here. The smoke stains are one thing.

But - can you also post the exact image that you used?

1 Like

I’d rather not…at least not for this image.

Ok. I was hoping to confirm before making guesses.

Was it a raster image?

It looks to me like the background wasn’t very clean. If it’s not transparent or pure white (255,255,255 on a histogram) it’s going to get engraved.

A couple of things can happen here - JPEG compression artifacts are notorious for doing this. Also, if you’re erasing the background in Photoshop - a lot of times the eraser won’t completely erase the pixels. They will still be semi-transparent, difficult to see… and leave marks just like what you’re seeing.


Thanks JB! I appreciate the tips. It’s actually a vector image, drawn in AI and saved as a vector PDF.

I’ll check the color settings regardless… :metal:

100% sure nothing is getting rasterized in PDF? There are several different PDF export presets that can do that. Does the text have any sort of Illustrator effect applied to it?

Like I said - it looks like the laser is firing at those spots so something in there is saying “fire here.”

The smoke stains look pretty normal to me for really deep engraves like that.
I’ve seen many similar. The material is being burned and the residue has to go somewhere. It’s why they provide the masking on the front and the back for the Proofgrade materials. Saves cleanup.

What looks a little odd to me is the beading up that it is doing, but that might be a function of the shape of that curve - the laser side heat might have caused it to bead up when it slowed and swung around the curves.

1 Like

Make sure you don’t have double lines, the laser should only need to make 1 pass. If it is cutting twice (or 3 or 4 times) you can get scorching like that.

1 Like

Thanks! :slight_smile:

1 Like

It looks like there is no masking. Did you make the cuts with the masking removed? Your picture shows smoke stains on the wood. Try a cut with the masking in place. :grinning:


David, so I am an idiot for removing the masking. Next topic? :laughing:

But jokes aside, I appreciate it. Didn’t even occur to me. :smiley:


Your instinct to remove the masking wasn’t totally wrong, it just kind of depends on the circumstance. With a deep engrave with big blocks of pattern, I’d certainly leave the mask on. I agree with others that you are seeing hot resins bubbling at the surface and masking would make short work of removing it. Sometimes though I remove the masking when engraving. I take it off when I want the slight discoloration smoke can cause, when I have super fine detail and the making would be a huge pain to remove and when I have light engravings that are unlikely to make it through the masking and will leave a hot masking goo on top.


And there are cleaning methods you can use (vinegar, alcohol, orange pumice hand cleaner) that you can use to remove the resin and stains after the fact.


I have had good luck with alcohol hand cleaner. It is somewhat thick so does not run badly or soak into the wood as fast as straight alcohol and usually has a hand softener in it that does good things to the wood, not drying it out so badly. I use the terrycloth rags that are available in bulk, they stain permanently but do not shred like paper towels do,


Thanks for the help, everyone! @npgraphicdesign, are you seeing better results after following these suggestions?

1 Like

hey Vee, definitely seeing better results. Thank you!

That’s great! I’m going to close this thread - if the problem reoccurs, go ahead and post a new topic. Thanks for letting us know about this!

1 Like