Shouldn't the faster the speed the faster the print?

I am still new so maybe I don’t know squat lol. But I figured the higher the speed setting, the quicker the job would go. That doesn’t seem to be the case on something I am trying to do. at 1000 the job will complete in 2 minutes. at 1500, with no other settings changed, it now will take 2:40. At 2500, it will take over 3 minutes.
I dont understand? I thought the point was adjusting the speed up, keeping the power the same, it will engrave less deep, but also be a quicker job (seems logical, it engraves less so it is quicker).
There aren’t multiple passes or anything.

There are many factors at play for the total print time. Perhaps some of the other parameters have changed also?

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The laser head needs to accelerate and decelerate more at higher speeds and will make things longer depending on the horizontal width of the engrave. its a balancing act to get faster prints from higher speeds. its not a straight forward issue, that much is certain. There have been lots of discussions about this and people testing on the forum if you do a quick search.


Thanks for the information, @primal_healer. It is a bit of a balancing act so that you’re able to both have quick prints, as well as effective ones. I’ve got a bit more information on printing speeds as a whole, comparing our different models as well.

Cutting speed depends on many things:

  • The 45-watt Glowforge Pro cuts about 20% faster than the 40-watt Plus and Basic.
  • The faster the laser moves, the more power is required.
  • Thicker material requires more power and more time. Twice as thick takes more than twice as long to cut through.
  • The chemical composition of the material makes a huge difference. Some 1/4" plywood cuts quickly; some 1/8" plywood is impenetrable.

For engraving, speed depends on three things:

  • How fast you move the laser head - slower makes the engraving deeper and, in some cases, darker.
  • How big the area to be engraved is. The head must move over the area to be engraved, and while Glowforge is smart about setting its path, two dots an inch apart will take longer than two dots right next to each other.
  • Your Glowforge Model: the top speed of the Glowforge Pro is 3 times faster than the Basic, and the top speed for the Glowforge Plus is 2 times faster than the Basic.

The average print takes about 12 minutes. The longest prints - full detailed engravings that cover the entire bed - can take up to 3 hours.

You can also follow this link here to learn more about working with Manual Mode:

To continue this discussion, I’ll be moving this thread from Problems and Support to Everything Else.


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