Spreadsheet for Non-Proofgrade Materials

I just got my GlowForge and am super excited to start using it. I really don’t want to use my proofgrade materials to get the hang of the cutter so I figured I’d use some other materials I have scraps for. Problem is I have no idea what settings to put. I started with cardboard and tried a low setting, then up’d it a little more, etc… Once I got the right amount I started a spreadsheet.

Now after starting that spreadsheet it occurred to me that others have probably gone through this same process and have spreadsheets they may want to share with settings. Does anyone have anything like this? If not, as a community I’d be happy to put up a doc we can all share and add to somewhere. It would be pretty simple just need material name, thickness, engrave speed, engrave power, cut speed, cut power, cut passes.

Let me know if anyone has anything like this!
Thanks,
Dan

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It exists, search the forum for it.

I forget the url, but it’s definitely out there.

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I don’t have a link to the original posts for this spreadsheet, but here’s the direct link to the Google sheets file: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sWOebDU94HwezYPbHa3YdtXjpLbEl_vEPvCb1dSByL4/edit#gid=2079951607 (Look for the GF laser settings tab)

It’s a little misleading being called Glowforge Links as this spreadsheet is much more than that. It has tabs for suppliers, settings and tutorials. I always had a hard time finding it in the forums, since I was looking for “non-proofgrade settings” document, not “Glowforge links” document. (I’m not criticizing the creator’s name for the file).

You can also add your own settings to the spreadsheet so everyone can benefit.

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Wow, I had never seen this, thanks for asking the question!

This is a spreadsheet that @GenieSoul posted a long time ago.

https://community.glowforge.com/uploads/short-url/9ZrqCGseFZMk1A1IkU5Oh51ZR44.xlsx

…from this post…

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Before I start — I in no way mean to diminish people’s hard work and generosity in setting up public settings lists. Sharing what we know is a gift and much appreciated.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone use these spreadsheets after a certain point?

What I mean is that this is something that every new user wants, but once you get comfortable with testing and some experience with manual settings, it seems of less/no use? Experience will get you in the ballpark, and you’ll still need to do a test run, so it seems superfluous to bother with the settings on the list.

Granted I keep a spreadsheet of settings that I’ve used on materials, but they’re mine and are often very different from someone else’s due to differences in specific material pieces. It just seems like a canonical list of settings can’t ever happen, there’s just too much variability in materials to ever get there.

Thoughts? Is there a use case that I’m missing?

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I would consider this a good place to start if you’ve never used a material before. I mostly use plywoods and MDF, I wouldn’t even know where to start if I were using stamp rubber or glass or striated wood, so having a starting point could save me a lot of testing time by putting me in the ballpark right away. I could probably search the forum for what other people have done, but it can be annoying finding the exact thing you’re looking for in the forum.

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this is my feeling as well. if i’ve never used a material before, i usually search here for someone’s settings as a starting point. i could probably fudge a starting point, but if someone’s already done the work, i potentially save some time (and material) by using someone else’s starting point.

You’re not wrong there!

Yeah that was what I was saying about “some experience with manual settings”.

I kind of lump various things into groups. Hardwoods, plywoods, minerals, vitreous things (tile/glass), plastics, rubbers, maybe one or two others. I know where the ballpark is on all of them at this point, and can make pretty good guesses when I get something new. For example, I’ve never engraved glass, but I have done tile and they aren’t that far off. A quick materials test centered on what works for those things will dial me right in.

Same goes for plywoods and hardwoods (though hardwoods are a bit more finicky, world of difference between rosewood and maple, but you can get a feel for that too).

Anyway I’m not saying a central spreadsheet is useless, I just wonder if it helps that much after you’ve gotten your feet wet.

Testing my theory:

Tiles like hot and fast with higher LPI. I suspect glass likes the same. I’d jump immediately to my material test without even bothering to search. But if I did…

Glass-
Help with engraving Glass - Settings (new)

100%/850 speed/340 lpi

Salt shaker settings
Full/1000/340 lpi

Seems like the theory is fairly correct, hot and fast with high LPI. YMMV.

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I maintain my own spreadsheet because I use several different lasers, and I convert from my other lasers to the Glowforge from percentages into the min-max settings. I know that my scrapwood cuts the best at 150 speed, or what was 38% speed. I’ve also used it to convert from 40 watt to 45 watt, and externally I’ve added my 60 watt down to 45 watt conversions. For the Epilog, I was able to export the settings and same them as a file, so when I had my employees/contractors run files for me, they were using my exact settings.

It’s kind of like art and printing - everyone has their own touches and arrive at their results based on their own preferences and experiments. I am very picky about how deep I want my engraves, and I frequently re-run the same project over and over at different intervals. My clients expect the same results every time whether they ordered 50 this year or 200 the next or even the 20 the month after. (And when Proofgrade settings get adjusted, trust me, I and they notice.)

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The Tips and Tricks section has all kinds of stuff and almost everything has been discussed and documented. It is not necessarily evident where to look, but there are over three years of excellent examples of just about every material or process. Some of the earlier ones are out of date because of UI changes and power profile differences, along with understanding Basic, Plus and Pro capabilities.

But it is nice that you thought about sharing your discovery process.

I hope that all the new users can benefit from the forum. I hope that folks get the assistance they need. It’s not always easy to know what question to ask. There are folks who are getting Glowforges who have little or no digital design experience and are not used to on line communities. Hard to imagine that these days, but I just thing of some of my own family members.

YouTube videos are still popping up with helps and hints.

I think your idea of starting with cardboard is great. I do a lot of it, but it isn’t the most safe of materials so requires eyes on the job at all times. Your design and settings really make a difference as flare up potential.

Thank you, this is quite helpful!

This spreadsheet is awesome!

Hi Everyone! and Thanks to who posted the spreadsheet! Is this spreadsheet considering you DO or DON’T cover your material in the Vinyl paper?

Dan,
Thank you for doing this. As a newbie its very helpful to have this resource. It saves a lot of time that could be spent on designing.

Judy

Whether or not you mask depends on the material you are using and what you are making. In general, the settings shouldn’t be effected by masked or unmasked. When using non-proofgrade materials, it is advised that you do testing before committing to your final project. The setting in the spreadsheet is what has worked for at least one user, and is a place to begin in dialing in your own settings.

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Thanks so much!