Job Settings

A set of appropriate job settings is one of the most important technology for getting good laser results.

Colors in Cutting

In Color mode, refer here for more details, there are ten pre-defined colors available for cutting in EaglePrint. A set of cutting parameters, associated with a color, will be applied automatically to the thin outlines which are assigned the color.

Colors

In general, cutting and etching on different materials with different thicknesses and surfaces require different sets of parameters. In practice, we recommend to create a one-to-one mapping between the most commonly used operations and the first few colors, e.g. 3mm acrylic cutting to the color Color 1 , 5mm plywood cutting to the color Color 2 , surface etching to the color Color 3 , and temporarily assign other operations to the last few colors when necessary, e.g. 2mm cardboard cutting to the color Color 6 . When setting parameters, all you need to do is just assigning the outlines the colors.

The colors are available in both RGB and CMYK, in order to support a wider range of drawing software and use cases. Uncheck the option CMYK to use the RGB colors.

# Color Hex R G B
1 Black Black #000000 0 0 0
2 Blue Blue #0000FF 0 0 255
3 Cyan Cyan #00FFFF 0 255 255
4 Green Green #00FF00 0 255 0
5 Yellow Yellow #FFFF00 255 255 0
6 Red Red #FF0000 255 0 0
7 Magenta Magenta #FF00FF 255 0 255
8 Purple Purple #9900CC 153 0 204
9 Orange Orange #FF6600 255 102 0
10 Pink Pink #FF99CC 255 153 204

Check the option CMYK to use the CMYK colors.

# Color C M Y K
1 Black Black 0 0 0 100
2 Blue Blue 100 100 0 0
3 Cyan Cyan 100 0 0 0
4 Green Green 100 0 100 0
5 Yellow Yellow 0 0 100 0
6 Red Red 0 100 100 0
7 Magenta Magenta 0 100 0 0
8 Purple Purple 20 80 0 20
9 Orange Orange 0 60 100 0
10 Pink Pink 0 40 20 0

To assign an outline a color in CorelDRAW, for example, select the RGB or the CMYK color mode when creating a new document, make your design, select the outline and then click the color on the palette or set the color value by yourself. Refer to Use EaglePrint with CorelDRAW for more details.

Sometimes, if you want to process just a part of your design, uncheck the option Enable of the colors of the shapes which you want to ignore.

Ignore A Color

You can also print only the selection to do the same thing if the drawing software support that, refer to Drawing Software Use Cases for more details.

And, by enabling the option Order and assigning each color a sequence number, you can sort the shapes of different colors during cutting, refer to Processing Sequence for more details.

Cutting Parameters

Cutting Parameters

Here is a list of parameters for cutting.

Parameter Description
Min Power The minimum power for cutting.
Max Power The maximum power for cutting.
Speed The speed for cutting.

Sometimes, especially when cutting thin sheets in a high speed, the material will catch a lot more heat at the start, end and sharp corners because of the low feeding speed at these positions and results in over burnt edges. In these cases, you should set a low minimum power, e.g. just above the firing threshold, and the software will generate a linear power curve, then the machine will adjust the power level based on the real-time feeding speed.

Colors in Engraving

In Color mode, Windows will spool thick outlines and fills all in black, and convert images into black and white in a simple but ugly way.

Colors in Engraving Original
Colors in Engraving Spool

For getting better engraving results on images, we recommend to use Adobe Photoshop or some other professional image processing software to do halftone by yourself, refer to Use EaglePrint with Photoshop for more details.

Engraving Parameters

Engraving Parameters

Here is a list of parameters for engraving.

Parameter Description
Power The power for engraving.
Speed The speed for engraving.
Step The space between scanlines.

And here is a map between the step values and the corresponding engraving DPI.

Step DPI
1 1000
2 500
3 333
4 250
5 200
8 125
10 100

Sometimes, if you want to ignore the engraving part of your design, just uncheck the option Enable.

If the option Union objects is checked, all the separated parts will be treated as a whole when engraving, reduce the overall processing time, especially when there are lots of small parts close to each other. You should uncheck this option if there are just few parts far from each other, avoiding very short laser firing time on long scanlines.

The option Unidirection is for single-direction engraving, refer to Engraving Correction for more details.

By default, EaglePrint will engrave a part from the bottom up to prevent the engraving surface from being contaminated by the exhaust airflow carrying smoke and dust. Check the option Top to Bottom if you want to engrave from the top down.

Engraving Correction

Laser engraving involves high speed moving of the laser head. In this progress, laser should be triggered simultaneously with the position control. But unfortunately, there must be some timing difference between these two execution subsystems. In a result, each scanline will shift a little with its ideal position, which will be even worse in a dual-direction engraving, and you will see jagged edges, shown as below.

Engraving Correction Illustration

In this figure, the black line represents the ideal position of a scanline, the blue line is the real position of a scanline from left to right, and the green line is the real position of a scanline from right to left. In this example, laser is triggered a little late than the position control of the laser head.

The simple way to solve this issue is to use single-direction engraving by checking Unidirection in the engraving parameters, refer Engraving Parameters for more details. Every scanline will shift the exact same and align with each other. But in this way, it will take much longer to finish the job compare to dual-direction engraving, because the laser head travels back instead of engraving back.

EaglePrint has a setting to correct offsets in dual-direction engraving to balance quality and efficiency. To use this function, you need to measure the response of your machine at a specific speed.

  1. Draw a rectangle in 80mm x 10mm, set it to engraving at the speed of, for example, 400mm/s, and set Step to 20.
  2. Laser the rectangle on a cardboard.
  3. Measure the distance between the ends of the scanlines.

In the engraving parameters, set the reverse compensation value to the option Dual direction reverse offset. You may need to do this multiple times, making minor adjustments to get a clean result.

Engraving Correction Settings

NOTE

The reverse compensation value could be minus, depend on your laser.

Processing Sequence

When printing, Windows will split the paper horizontally into narrow strips, and spool all the shapes and images in each strip from top down. You can let EaglePrint process the job in that order, or in an optimized one which fits your needs better, e.g. engraving before cutting, inner before outer, less traveling, outlines of a color before outlines of another, etc.

First, engraving is always before cutting if it is enabled.

And, for cutting, check Inner path first to process inner outlines before outer ones, check Path optimize to shorten traveling path.

Cut Path Optimization

Set the sequence number of a color smaller than the number of another to process the outlines of the color before the ones of the other. The sequence numbers of more than one color can be same, means that the processing order of the outlines of those colors will not change.

Cut Colors Order

In the example above, the color black, blue, cyan and green are for cutting, the color yellow is for etching, and the user just cares about doing etching before cutting.

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