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Discover How to Reduce Laser Engraving Time of Lines on Wood
One of the areas you should focus on as an engraver is to increase productivity. With increased productivity, you stand chances of maximizing profits. There are several ways through which you can achieve this. But in this post, I would like to share with you how you can reduce laser engraving time when engraving lines to double your productivity. It will help you not only to cut down on the processing time but also to reduce the engraving cost as you will use less electricity to finish jobs.
Reduce Laser Engraving Time by Vector Scoring other than Raster Engraving Lines!
Let us begin by understanding the difference between raster engraving and vector engraving. When raster engraving the laser head moves repeatedly from left to right (x direction) across the print area. Then it moves in the Y direction until it finishes engraving the graphic (or image) from bottom to top or vice versa. This takes much time.
On the other hand, when vector engraving the laser head simply traces the lines. Vector engraving saves more than half the time used in raster engraving. This means that by vector engraving you drastically reduce the laser engraving time, which in turn saves a lot of your time to work on other jobs.
Many times, you get jobs where you have to engrave lines. You will reduce laser engraving time if you choose vector engraving as opposed to raster engraving.
For instance, in the image above, I had a job of engraving key holders. And I had to engrave a circle around the words in each key holder. What I did was to raster engrave the words first. After raster engraving the words, I then vector engraved the line. This took me 2:04 minutes to engrave the words alone of the two key holders and 0:06 seconds to score the lines around the two pieces of wood. That was a total of 2:10 minutes.
But when I raster engraved both the words and the lines, it took me 4:43 minutes to finish just one side of the two key holders, which was more by 110%.
You can imagine if you have a job of 100 key holders to engrave, how much time you would save by just using the trick of scoring lines instead of engraving them.
Reduce the Power and Increase the Speed to Vector Score the Wood
Usually, the vector mode is used for cutting materials. But remember that our intention is not to cut through the material. What we want is to just score the wood.
For instance, in the example above, we used hard wood of 5mm thick to make the key chains. To cut through that thickness we usually set our 40 watts laser system at a speed of 9% and power of 100% with 3 passes. But to score the wood we set the speed at 70% and power of 30%. Refer to the two images below for the settings we used. This means we increased the speed setting and reduced the power setting. With these setting, the laser just burned a thin line into the wood.
However, what we want isn’t a thin line. We want our line to look thicker. What do we do? The answer is provided in the next step.
Defocus the Lens to Get Thicker Vector Lines
The laser machine has a strict focus for it to produce quality work. But when you lower the table a bit with your material on, it loses focus. What happens is that it spreads out as it fires the material. And by so doing, the lines become thicker. The more you defocus the lens the thicker the lines become. How do you effectively defocus the lens?
Get a piece of wood or any other material of half an inch and place it on top of the wood you want to vector score. Then focus the lens on top of the piece of wood. After focusing, remove the material to remain with then where you are going to create a vector score line. Run the machine. There you are with a thick line created in just seconds. And that’s a proven trick we use to reduce laser engraving time with lines on wood.
Time is money in engraving. One of the ways you can become efficient with your jobs is learning tricks through which you can reduce laser engraving time. Vector scoring lines is one of the tricks we use to handle jobs that would take longer in a very short time.
Are you a laser engraver? Which other trick do you know that we can learn to reduce laser engraving time? Please use the comment section below to share with us!
Hello! My name is Charles Kiyimba, a creative engraver, a professional teacher, a passionate blogger, a self-made graphic / web designer and the founder of Goleza Designers Ltd, an engraving business that turns images into real products. Through my hands-on experience, I share with you free helpful information on our products and services, business, marketing and personal development. Always dive in for more!
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