What Are The Best Settings For This Or That?

Welcome to the settings rabbit hole!

Every machine is set up differently. Some are 32w, some are true 40w, and can go all the way to 150w or more. Some people talk percentage of power (which is almost useless for many reasons), some talk mA (actual tube current draw which is the best way to quantify your power). You can see more about analog vs. digital panels here.

The differences in power, beam signatures, lenses, optics, alignment, controller, controller software, air assist pressures/volumes, etc… introduce so many variables into the equation that you will be better off developing your own parameters through trial and error.  This is the the best experience anyone can have to give them an intimate look at the personality of their machine.

Which brings me to materials… media… substrates… whatever you want to call them. The sheer volume of the materials that can be lased is mind boggling when you account for brands, composition, uniformity, quality control, and even different batches and lots, thickness, adhesives, coatings, etc…

There is no reasonable or accurate way to use, or even discuss, settings amongst ourselves unless every single variable was identical between the parties. Right down to alignment angles, optics, materials, and even environmental variables like humidity, tube temp, ambient temp, etc…

The best way to build a settings database is to experiment and document. This learning process can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Either way the experience you gain from experimentation will be priceless so don’t spend your time trying to circumvent “wasting time and materials” because you will be wealthier for having done it.

I do it with LightBurn Software’s materials library. I tweak the settings until I like the outcome and save it. That way i can choose it and apply it as needed. There are some sample Material Library files on the DOWNLOADS page (Use at your own risk).

You can use a test pattern and keep them for reference and/or use a pen and a spiral notebook. You can download this test pattern in LightBurn (.lbrn) format here: [Download not found] If you don’t have LightBurn you can download a fully functional 30 day trial. Check my Downloads Page for more info.

There are other test patterns you can run on each material and keep for future reference.

There are some lists, and plenty of discussions, on this topic circulating the interwebs that you may use for general reference and many of the high-end lasers (and others i’m sure) publish recommended settings specific to their products. A good place to start is your OEM documentation, tutorial, and support platforms is applicable.

Related Articles