Why is my Raider so dark?

I used the Excel sheet with the Glowforge settings 600 and full power for Bamboo cutting board and it out so dark. On top of that the score didn’t come out at all. What should I have done differently?

We can only discuss setting for non Proofgrade materials in the Beyond the Manual section. I will move this post over there so the discussion can proceed.

I am not sure what Excel sheet you are reading, but it seems to me that 600 is too slow. Have you washed/cleaned the engrave before taking this picture? Search the forum for bamboo and you will find many different settings and comments that bamboo is “difficult”.


The starting image will matter too. You’ll want to pump the contrast a great deal.

What does “pump” the contrast mean?

Basically it means you want your colors in the image to run from white to black (usually). Are you familiar with a histogram? The idea is that you’d want your histogram curves to cover the entire range to get maximum contrast.

Generally you can do that by eye, but on a technical level a histogram is the way to verify what you’re seeing.

There have been a few threads about preparing images for engraving, let’s see…

Here’s one:

There are more, check out this search:


Bamboo is also notoriously fickle. For example I have a set of cheese spreaders that came laser engraved with a logo, some of them are nice and dark while others have no color at all even though they’re all the same depth.

Bamboo (and some other materials) only work well with high contrast designs. Your image needs to be simplified, with stark contrast - something like these, depending on your preference:
image image

That char will scratch away unless sealed. In your case, you can rub it away on purpose. You may be very pleased with the results.
I use Fast Orange and an old toothbrush for the deep engraves, and the Fast Orange wipes for flash/char on edges of cuts.

Here is an example of cleaned and charred with a 3D project:



Thank you!

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