Problem with distorted output

Total newbie here, both to Lightburn and laser engraving. I am testing my newly assembled Atomstack A5 Pro and I’m having issues with distortion in a simple text engraving. The distortion only seems to affect curves, with straight lines looking pretty crisp.

  • I have tried manually running one pass at a time, checking in between, and the laser follows exactly the same path each time, so the printer precision seems fine.

  • I have tried manually homing the laser to a different start position and the distortion pattern looks identical, so it doesn’t seem to be an issue with the running gear.

The photo shows the test engraving on a piece of plastic veneered chipboard, so flat and smooth.

Any advice?

This looks mechanical to me. I would review the assembly to ensure things are snug and moving smoothly without binding, jumping or loosing steps. The motion should be smooth, transitioning from X axis moves to Y axis moves for making curves. This looks like it is jerking its way around these transitions, indicating the lack of smooth, fluid motion.

Thanks, you are right, it is mechanical. The running gear is fine, but the manual z-axis mechanism has a lot of wobble at full extension (i.e. when using thin stock). I have tried instead lifting the workpiece to the laser and the result is perfect.