Speed up my process

Hi all,

I’m using my 80w CO2 laser to fill and cut some parts for a business.

Because we’re making a lot of these now, I want to speed up my process.

Currently my settings are (also shown in the pictures)
Fill 350/40%
Cut 16/75%

It’s taking around 4.5 hours to make 40 of these which is way too long. I engrave both sides and just one cut.

What settings can I play with to speed this up?

Try selecting ‘Fill shapes individually’ in the ‘Cut Settings Editor’ window - that could cut down substantially on traversal moves, and consequently save quite a bit of time.

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A couple of other strategies to consider:

  1. If you can afford to, decrease line density on the fill so that you’re not running as many lines
  2. Could you flip every other row or column with an offset to increase object density? That should reduce travel on a per object basis. This is irrelevant from a speed perspective if you do “Fill shapes individually” but could potentially still save material.
  3. Potentially reduce the engraving speed. If your machine is like typical setups it’s likely capped at 300mm/s. In that case, you may be slowing yourself down by trying to use a higher speed.
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I’m currently running a line density comparison as we speak, from 0.0800 all the way up to 0.2200 to see how the quality changes.

I’ll have a look at flipping the shapes.

What direct relationship does speed have to the quality? If you go for a lower speed and higher (0.1500) line density would you see a huge degrading of fill?

Best to think of these as separate dimensions. Line density will have its own effect on quality and is really characterized by an ideal value, rather than linearly better in one direction. In contrast, in general the faster you go the “worse” the quality in the sense that it pushes the mechanical limits of your machine. However, this discounts individual characteristics of materials. Some simply burn better at faster speeds with higher power. So this really deserves some material testing to give you a sense of what you’re comfortable with.

Speaking of quality, in general again, doing individual shapes would generally result in lower quality than doing the whole thing in consistent sweeps. But you may not even notice a difference or individual circumstances may also cause that not to be the case.

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Most of the time is spent engraving, rather than cutting, so that’s what needs the most attention. However, fiddling with that can reduce the overall job time by a few tens of percent, because you’re limited by what the material will tolerate in terms of speed and power.

As @berainlb points out, what you must do is increase the density of those shapes, so that each pass of the laser engraves as many of them as possible.

You already have a way to index the sheet when you flip it over for the second operation, so you don’t need a fixture for all those little parts. Lay out a pair of them as close together as possible:

Then use an array to fill the material:

You can probably do better than that, but you get the idea.

Time the results of using Fill Shapes Individually, because once the laser gets up to speed, that pass should engrave as many shapes as possible before slowing down again. If you can double the number of shapes per pass, you can cut the overall time in (about) half.

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Thank you both for your input. It Looks like that by staggering them as ednisley has suggested means I can get 4 more per sheet. Also filling as all shapes at once in this new arrangement plus increasing the line interval a little brings my fill time down from 2.02 to 1.06 plus I get 4 more units out of this!

Tomorrow I’ll play with line interval, speed and power a bit more to figure out the best setting for my type of wood.

Thanks guys, you’ve just increased my production by about 30%!

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I know this video is on photo engraving, but it’s the best one I’ve seen on how to figure out the best dpi for any laser and/or material… anytime you use the laser for anything other than cutting, this will be valuable.

It’s worth the 40 minutes of time invested and will tip you off on how to use the Lightburn dot width adjustment.


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