Splatter when engraving acrylic


I just received my Glowforge two weeks ago and i have been experimenting with different materials. E
I engraved a small acrylic piece (4" x 2") with 12 to 18 pt lettering and there is some splatter outside the area the should be engraved. It is not residue from the masking, but looks like small dots the have been engraved or burned into the surface. I am using PG medium clear acrylic. Full speed and 60% power. When i slowed it down the splatter was worse. Anyone else run into this or have a solution?


Was your source image a vector or a bitmap, like a JPEG?
It looks like “noise” in the source file.


My first suspect would be my file. I have seen ‘garbage’ in a file that was all but invisible do that. What is your design software? I use Inkscape. I would go to outline view and select all. See if anything shows up.


If you need it, I have a Vector SVG of the Weyland Ytani logo.


I concur. When you zoom in on a jpeg to 6-7-800% the amount of noise (which I believe are usually compression artifacts from the JPEG process) is generally staggering…

It’s definitely the worst on files with solid backgrounds like the OP posted, if it was a raster… I generally have to clean them all up in Photoshop. Dust & Scratches tool will get you there and then a final look through just to make sure.


I sometimes increase the contrast, then change the file to greyscale with just 2 or three levels, or just Black and white.


If the source file is a JPEG format, try using PNG instead. PNG is a lossless format so will not have compression artifacts.


All i want to know, is when we find the acrylic splatter… we are going to kill it, not bring it back not study it…


I created a JPEG in photoshop just using type for all the lettering and brought in the logo. Then brought that into illustrator to make the cut out. Have not used these programs too much especially Illustrator.


i would highly advise learning the basics in illustrator if you have it. the type is a little easier to handle in illustrator and will always be cleaner than if you do it in photoshop and convert it to jpg.

as mentioned above, jpg creates artifacts. it also makes edges that are not as smooth.

you’re best off creating anything you want to be smooth in illustrator, so that when you create an SVG, the lines are vector. just make sure to convert the text to outlines (ctrl or cmd shift - O) before making the SVG.


Only time I saw this is from noisy jpgs. The masking takes care of any possible spatter from debris. I agree. Do the whole file in AI and just have the filled text that has been turned in to closed paths. There is a tutorial in the Tip and Tricks for AI.


That would be cool thanks.


Just a note, though - you should either go straight to PNG from some known clean source (vector file or a bitmap), or do some cleanup like mad_macs suggested. If you just convert your noisy JPEG to PNG without doing any cleanup, the lossless PNG will faithfully reproduce the noise.


I’m just waiting to see fellow geeks doing stuff like this with the Wallace Corporation logo…

BTW Blade Runner 2049, for those that haven’t seen it yet, is a more than worthy sequel to the original…


I am 99% certain that it was completely clean in photoshop. However, the moment you saved it as a JPEG file is when those artifacts were created.

If you want to avoid them, just save as PNG.


Shoot me a PM if I forget. It’s 3AM. I’ll forget.


This may be a basic question. But if all elements are vector how do you choose which ones to cut and which to engrave.


You can choose to convert in the software between cut/score/engrave. However, the way to design to spec is cuts and scores will have stroke and no fill; engraves will have no stroke and a fill.

For something like your original design, to Engrave the letters, they would have a fill but no stroke. You’d then want to convert to outlines, or when saving to SVG, check the option that says convert text to outlines.


Put priority on making sure each element is a different color. The GF app will automatically make stroke/no fill into cuts and fill/no stroke into engraves, but it doesnt matter if say everything has fill because you can change the operation assigned to each element as long as it’s a different color.

Edit: and now that coffee is kicking in I see @jbmanning5 already mentioned you can always change operations… hahaha :slight_smile:


Exactly – GIGO!