Hey everyone, newbie to laser use here. We have been outsourcing patches on laserable leatherette for a while but decided to bring this capability in-house so picked up an Atomstack A5 Pro and Lightburn to learn the ropes.
Things have gone pretty well but having some trouble figuring out the cause of this “striation” effect we’re getting. We don’t see anything like this when running the Lightburn Material test, but it shows up as soon as we try running an actual design. We’ve run about x30 tests adjusting speed and power up and down but always get the same general result, although to different degrees.
In the comparison pic below, the patch from our vendor has a very clean, solid black throughout. Our patches however end up looking “washed out” rather than dark black when viewed from a distance, due to this striated effect.
We had assumed it was maybe related to speed, but we still get this even when dialing things way back, to like a single 2x3 patch taking 20+ mins. What settings should we be messing with to sort this out? Line Interval? Lines per Inch? Something else?
In the event that it matters, the material we’re using is the “Bamboo” leatherette from Hydbond, whereas the vendor’s material is the “Bamboo” leatherette from JDS.
These are the settings that seem to be giving us the “best” results so far:
Any help would be very much appreciated!
I guess now that I’m looking at these pics side by side, it occurs to me that it seems our laser is cutting this horizontal line in many vertical passes, which seems… not right. But there are certainly other parts of the design where vertical passes make much more sense.
I think you have multiple things going on…
First is the material… although the changes in the material are fairly faint, it appears to change the results. Area between the red marks is lighter… The full size you posted may be easier to see.
The other is that I expect lines to be relatively straight and a tighter (smaller) interval. If you do go to a smaller 0.05mm interval it will likely double the run time.
I assume it was lased scanning in the direction of the lines that appear up and down in the photo?
The letters are totally different… same material and speed? different results? They look much more black.
I’ve never worked with this material… so these are just observations.
Thanks for the reply! The letters are in fact etched at different settings, yes. But it didn’t start out that way. The letters have always come out more of a solid black than the outline around the patch, I assume having something to do with the fact that the outline is a thicker overall line than that of the lettering. So we split out the outline into its own layer and started changing the settings, which helped some, but we still can’t get it dialed in.
It was definitely lased in the direction of the lines, yes. Which in this case was actually horizontally along the X-axis, as the patch was rotated vertically during lasing in order to align the “grain” of the bamboo pattern. I guess it’s worth seeing what happens if we fire it the other way instead…
I should also note that we’ve only had this thing for a few days, so not sure if this might be related to initial calibration issues such as belt tightness, etc.
When the lines wiggle, first suspicion is mechanical.
If you can tell what’s happening to the material where the beam strikes it can clue you into what’s happening.
Is it melting the material. are the dark area where it was struck by the beam or are the light parts struck by the beam?
Interval can make or break results with these…
I suggest you watch this Laser Everything video on photo engraving. They explain clearly how to use the proper interval. This will be useful as long a you laser things. Well worth the time.
Generally you run the X axes in a scan it has less mass and can run faster than the Y axes. If you rotate anything, rotate the material.
Are you sure you’re not burning it?
I suggest you use laser tools → material test to help you figure out a suitable speed/power.
Hey Greg! Intersting theory… I guess I should note that the setting in which the lasing is being performed is an unconditioned warehouse in the Southeast, so humidity could potentially be a factor. I had planned to run some additional tests but have been very wrapped up the past few days. Will hopefully get a chance to get to it tomorrow… Will keep everyone posted on results!