Settings: Padauk

I recently acquired some 1/8" Padauk from Inventables:

After some experimentation, I’ve found the Proofgrade settings for Medium Basswood Hardwood yields the best overall results. I did try other settings, including lower power, higher speed, multiple passes, etc., and didn’t observe a significant advantage over the Proofgrade settings. The manual equivalent to Proofgrade Medium Basswood Hardwood is: speed=200, power=Full, passes=1

Despite how dry the wood feels, the Padauk “juices out’ quite a bit and gets carmelized/burnt by the laser. Lower power settings did little to reduce the effect. In fact, I wasn’t able to cut through the 1/8” panel below 50% power - I presume the resins in the wood are pooling in the kerf and absorbing the beam power, apparently indefinitely.

Fortunately the cut edge of the Padauk cleans up nicely. The photo below shows the cut edge before and after cleaning up (scrubbing) with 70% isopropyl:

The engrave settings for Proofgrade Medium Basswood Hardwood also work well:

If anyone else has their favorite settings for Padauk, I’d like to hear about it!

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Great find and post for others. The edge cleanup is phenomenal. Doesn’t even look lasered.

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Thanks for sharing! I’ve got some Padauk that just arrived today from Inventables as well and was wondering where a good starting point would be.

@Lotema, I’m curious how your material will behave compared to my results. I should have noted that my second choice was the Proofgrade setting for Medium Cherry Hardwood - that pretty definitively cut through the Padauk, but with more char and a deeper/blacker engrave than the Basswood Hardwood settings.

I’ll have to try that edge cleanup, looks very nice!

For 1/4" padauk, I’m using 120/full pro/1 pass, though I’ve had a spot that didn’t quite manage – dropping the speed to 110 works, but gives some extra char. For engraving I do 1000/full pro and 270dpi.

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I’ve also been using Inventables 1/8" Padauk. I mask it with paper tape. For unmasked wood I’d subtract about 5 from the power settings to get similar results, but I strongly suggest masking it.

For my Dala horses I used the following settings:

All cuts were at 210/Full (Pro) power.

I think I’ll try a slightly lower power or higher speed next time, as this cut through very easily but left quite a bit of char. I was able to remove most of it with alcohol but not quite all of it. I’l be trying Windex wipes on another batch.

Upper-left

Score: 125/11

This was in focus, so it has 0.18mm wide lines.

Nothing particularly special to report. The lines are very crisp and clean, almost as if they were drawn using a pen.

Lower-left

Score: 200/40

I adjusted the focus to be 0.3" above the surface of the wood, to get thicker lines. The lines end up with a V-shaped cross section. At the surface they’e about 0.45mm wide. The narrowest part of the groove at the bottom is fairly light in color but the sloped sides are charred.

I like the way this one turned out, although the start/stop points are more noticeable than a normal (in-focus) score.

Upper-right

Engrave: 1000/Full (Pro) power @270lpi

This went about 1.2mm deep into the wood and charred it quite a bit.

Lower-right

Engrave: 1000/60 @225lpi

This only went about 0.2mm deep and only slightly darkened the wood, making dark red marks. I like the color, but I think I’ll try slightly more power next time to make it a bit darker. The lower LPI setting seemed to be sufficient on this wood due to the fairly coarse grain it has. I might even try it one setting lower next time.


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@tim1724, nice work, I like the lower-left too. That version also features what I call ‘coloring book’ style, which I find gives me the most bulletproof results by avoiding large engraved areas.

For reference, the engrave settings I used (Basswood) were:

speed=300
power=6
grayscale= convert to dots
pattern density= far left and far right
LPI=450
passes=1
focus=0.132

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I was finally able to give a try to the Basswood proofgrade settngs. I think it worked pretty well. I went bold and engraved 3 of the Catan brick tiles on my one and only current piece of Padauk. I’ll have to test around with some other settings later but Basswood settings did seem to do a good job without over-charring.

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@Lotema, that looks really nice! I take it you used transfer tape to protect the surface during engraving and cutting?

The holes in the center are interesting - rounded corners. I’m guessing you engraved the circle before cutting it - nice effect!

Yeah, I masked the piece before engraving. The pieces are from the Glowforge “Settlers of Catan” PDF file. I just cut three of the brick pieces since that’s all I had wood for :slight_smile:

Green valley sells padauk at good prices.

I love a good settings post! Thanks for sharing this, including the great image of the cleaned-up wood. I have some of the same wood and now I’m really looking forward to using it.

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