I spent some time with the glowforge to test settings for engraving our instrument panels. This is powder-coated aluminum from Hammond. The cases are used in a variety of our projects, but despite cutting holes on the CNC, we haven’t ventured into CNC routing labels and have relied on our tape-based label-maker. It does ok, but laser-engraved labels really up the look. With some time to kill, I ran a few tests on the inside of one panel. The end result is to run with 1000 speed, 50% power, 340 lines-per-inch, and 0.15″ focus height.I mainly tuned for power and lines-per-inch so there may be some additional gains by adjusting speed and/or focus height. I’m very happy with the early results and not sure how much more tweaking I’ll need to do.
Below are the photos (via binocular scope) of letters after the run. The first three are a “D” that is just under 1/4″ tall. Full power and full resolution is overkill and chars the aluminum. 50% power is sufficient to penetrate the powder-coat but the resolution (190) was not sufficient to clear out the full letter. I found 340 lines per inch to balance these expectations and leave a clear, shiny aluminum substrate.