One of the areas you should focus on as an engraver is to increase productivity. With increased productivity, you stand a chance of maximising profits. There’re 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 minimise 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 repeatedly moves from left to right (x-direction) across the print area. Then it runs in the Y direction until it finishes engraving the graphic (or image) from bottom to top or vice versa. This process takes a lot of time.
On the other hand, when vector engraving, the laser head traces the lines. Vector engraving saves more than half the time used in raster engraving. By doing it this way, 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 the job of engraving key holders. And I had to engrave a circle around the words in each keyholder. What I did was to raster engrave the words first. After raster engraving the words, I then laser-cut the line. It took me 2:04 minutes to etch 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 etching them.
Reduce the Power and Increase the Speed to Vector Score the Wood
Usually, the vector mode is for cutting materials. But remember that our intention is not to cut through the material. What we want is to score the wood.Settings for Cutting Wood of 5mm Thick
For instance, in the example above, we used hardwood 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 three passes. But to score the wood, we set the speed at 70% and power of 30%. Refer to the two images above for the settings we used. With this method, we increased the speed setting and reduced the power setting. With these settings, the laser just burned a thin line into the wood.
However, what we want isn’t a thin line but a thick one. What do we do? The answer is in the next step.
Defocus the Lens to Get Thicker Vector Lines
The laser machine has a strict focus 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 object. 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 that, remove the material to remain with where you are going to create a vector scoreline. 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 by learning tricks through which you can reduce laser engraving time. Vector scoring lines is one of the methods we use to handle work that would take longer in a 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!
Laser machines that are usually smaller in size and fit in your household without taking up much space are known as DIY laser engraving machines. These machines are not meant to engrave on mass production or batch production lines. Rather, they are designed to engrave on smaller objects and that too individually. They have smaller engraving area and have their own sets of software that run the machine.
Thank you, Raja, for this additional information.