So when you look at JDS or other products for lasers, they specify % power for X type tube, and speed as so many mm/s.
Has anyone converted glowforge speeds to mm/s? I’ve googled, and searched in this forum - probabaly not for the right thing, but as it is glowforge speed is like a cop pulling you over and saying “Hey, speed limit here is 45mph” and you reply - “I wasnt’ speeding, I was only going like 800 zooms…”



Here you go, the translation.

So old is mms? And new is zooms?

If you stop and consider, the only purposes to talk about speed (velocity) is to compare two or more speeds, or to make a judgement of time required.
Here is what I mean:

Compare: A is faster than B

Calculate a time based on rate:
Total distance / Rate = elapsed time. Like calculating how long something will take. For example, laser cut path is 500mm. Cutting speed is 2mm/second. Cut time =250 seconds. Useful for cost estimating a job for instance.
Glowforge tells you how long a job will take so in a way we don’t really need to know. Be interesting though…

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Technically velocity is speed in a given direction; so we need terms invented for left and right.

Speed is just how fast something is moving.

Though I am being pedantic.

One of the things learned beyond how long a job will take is the power you might want for a different speed. Using standard units allows you to transfer knowledge learned from one laser to another. Similar to what we can do from a GF Basic to a GF Pro as long as you use power of 100 or less.

For instance, speed A & power % B from a 45W laser could tell us how to run it on a GF Pro or vice versa if both of the lasers used the same unit. Since they don’t (most of the rest of the world uses % of total power for the power setting and mm/s or in/s for speed), we need to use the calculator to translate GF settings to standard units. We can do that for speed but they didn’t publish a conversion from zooms or pews to % of power (100 isn’t 100% as Full is more and 50 isn’t 1/2 power as the power scale is non-linear).

It makes it hard to take a project some ran on a ULS and determine the settings to run it on a GF. We spend more time testing & repeating jobs than we need to if standard units were used.

The other thing the standard speed unit teaches us is that the GF is slow compared to other lasers :slight_smile:


Thanks james.
yes, it’s slower. but trying to engrave some stuff for my grandson’s birthday and wasting material is not fun. The speed calculator will help I think. If only there was a ‘power’ conversion too… because - we get material from sources that say - 200mms/ with a column of % for various power lasers… is power 30 = or close to 30% of a 40 watt? guess I’ll find out! :slight_smile:

Yeah it’s been an issue with those of us who have other laser experience or if you get a design spec’ed for another machine. What should be a simple process to just recreate the project on our machines becomes a tedious process of trial & error until we get the settings dialed in. And if we want to share something we’ve done, it’s the same thing all over again. GF has declined to address this as an issue. It helps keep the system partially-closed somewhat like Apple products - possibly an attempt to keep us in their ecosystem when replacement time comes. :man_shrugging:

yeah, well if ours dies and we can’t fix it… guess I will list it for parts! :slight_smile: Great to learn and play on, make a few bucks on the side, but if I want to really make $ it’s going to be with something more commercial grade…


Hi @jamesdhatch, point taken regarding comparing to other machines. Standard units definitely let you compare apples to apples.

Must be nice having more than one laser “mutter mutter mutter …” :rofl:

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I can imagine spending weeks and $$ on materials just translating what you can do on glowforge… arrgh.


Port / starboard?


right way, other way… :wink: