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I'm still struggling with instructions

I hate to ask stupid questions, but I'm still completely confused with PicEngrave. I am using PicEngrave Pro 5, generating the code, and then using Universal GCode sender.

Most of the posts I see here are regarding PicLaser lite. I am supposed to be using that instead?

I also read this very detailed response and became completely confused. lol.


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"Hi Kathryn,

The origin is anywhere you zero the X&Y axis with the EmBlaser and that will be the lower left starting point of the engraving. I'm not familiar with how Cut2D sets things because I never have used it and it's for vector not raster engraving.

Feedrate. You should set that between 90-100IPM to start. If it burns too light, lower it. If it burns too dark, increase it.

For successful photo engraving results, you need to determine your focal point/burn line size.

Pixel Resolution is how the gcode will be generated for the step over and step ahead incremental moves in the program when it generates the gcode.

PicLaser Lite calculates at 100 pixels per inch (3.937mm) so if you burn line size of the laser diode is .01" (.254mm) then the actual Pixel size of the image should be used to insure correct engraving size. The setting for the Pixel Resolution in PicLaser Lite should be .01" (.254mm)

This will be for engraving at a Horizontal or Vertical engraving angle. This is to insure the burn width will be laid down next to each other when it steps over so no un-burnt lines show up in your photo engraving.

If a 45 degree angle is used, then a Pixel Resolution of .011" (.2794mm) should be used, but you will need to compensate the image's pixel size for this 100 pixels per inch (3.937mm) calculation. Engraving at a 45 degree angle with a .01" (.254mm) Pixel Resolution setting, will cause the burn line width of .01" (.254mm) of the Laser Diode's focal point to overlap to much.

To calculate this compensation is to multiply your pixel size by .909 only if your laser diode's burn line width is .01" (.254mm) and you need a .011" (.2794mm) stepover (Pixel Resolution) for engraving at a 45 degree angle.

Example: If you want your engraving to be a 2000 X 2000 pixel size, then multiply it by .909 and re-size or resample your image to 1818 X 1818 pixels and set your Pixel Resolution setting to .011" (.2794mm) in PicLaser Lite.

This type of calculation of the pixel size is required based on your burn line width you get with your Laser Diode's focal point to insure photo engraving size and accuracy when setting your Pixel Resolution in PicLaser Lite.

The DPI of the image needs to be more then 100 DPI to get successful results. When you change the DPI in an image editor, it will change the pixel size also, so you will need to change it back to the calculated pixel size to insure it engraves the correct size.

Our PicEdit Lite software program does these calculations automatically to re-size the image based on the Pixel Resolution used in PicLaser Lite. It also has image adjustment feature for Sharpening, brightness, contrast and gamma and can Dither an image with 11 different Algorithms to choose from.

We do all our image sizing/editing for our photo laser engravings with this simple image editor. http://www.picengrave.com/PicEdit Lite.htm

With our EmBlaser, we are getting a .005" (.127mm) focal point/burn line, but the calculations need to be based on your focal point/burn line size.

Max. Laser Value. determines how dark the darkest shades in the image burns. Min. Laser Value determines how light the lighter shades in your image burns. We have been using a Min. 10 and Max. 255 with a 120IPM (3048mm/min) feed rate.

Laser Off Command. Use a M05 there.

Laser Control Command. Use a S there.

Set for GRBL.

Engrave Outline. That is for burning a border around your engraved image and the No. Passes will determine how many times it will repeat around the the same border.

Machine Setup Codes. Use a G90 G94 there.

Thanks for being one of our new Pic Product Customers.

Jeff"
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I'm from a photoshop background so when I read resolution, I understand that to be pixels per inch in a photograph. In Picengrave, is that term used to refer to the stepover?

Essentially I'm confused on the setup. After I select my image, how do I know what settings to use for that image? Do I need to create an Emblaser Profile to reuse? Do I need to calculate the above equations for each and every picture? Do I need to engrave at a 45 degree angle, or is horizontal sufficient? I feel like an idiot for not being able to wrap my head around this. I've done fine with raster images on Cut2D, but that's because I can see exactly what scale/size I'm engraving. The resizing of the images is very confusing for myself, having no previous engraving experience.

My goal is to understand the program and then work up to the 3D printing Jeff has been so great at displaying! They look amazing.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am willing to name my next child after you if necessary.

Comments

  • I hope I don't come off rude regarding the quoted answer by Jeff. It's very comprehensive and informative. I'm grateful to have someone like him answering our questions. I just need to understand it better.
  • Hi Michael,

    I understand it can be confusing for a beginner. but after using it a few times, a light will come on and you will see everything very clear.

    When I first started using gcode along time ago to program CNC machines, I said to myself, WTH is all this gibberish!! :-D After a day of playing around with the basic codes, I started to understand things better.

    As you know, using any new software requires a learning curve and I was in your shoes at one time when I started using PicEngrave also.

    Please no comment John. LOL

    To get successful results, requires a good eye with the image editing and that is really hard to teach someone. Viewing image raster gcode in a simulator or gcode viewer is really useless, especially with S laser power commands because there is no depth like using Z axis depth commands for spindle engraving.

    A vector gcode is easier to see as the axis moves because they are spaced out in some type of pattern, where raster axis moves all side by side each other throughout the whole file and just looks like a square or ellipse depending.

    The only way view what results your trying to achieve when laser engraving a photo is to select the "View Gray Scale" in the main page or the image editor, unless it's already a gray scale image.

    Here are some recommended settings with the EmBlaser and PEP5 for a starting place.

    http://forum.darklylabs.com/index.php?p=/discussion/71/faster-photo-engraving

    I see no reason to repeat any of my quoted statements you included above. PicEngrave Pro 5 works the same way as PicLaser Lite, except it has many more features to choose from. Even the image editor works the same as our PicEdit Lite program does.

    If you need anymore information, that is what we are here for.

    Thanks.
    Jeff
  • Thanks for taking the time to answer again Jeff. I love the software and just want to master it immediately. Is that too much to ask? lol. Once I get caught up on my other engraving projects I'm going to set aside a few hours to just get in there and play around.

    Thanks so much for the head start.
  • I come from a photoshop background also and the terminology had me a little confused initially, until I understood it.

    The biggest understanding I made was with respect to image resolution and engraved size.

    The following formula helped it make sense for me:

    Engraved width = #horizontal pixels x Pixel Resolution
    Engraved height size = #vertical pixels * Pixel Resolution

    So an image which is 1000x1000 pixels with a pixel resolution setting of 0.254mm will end up 254mm x 254mm in size

    Similarly, if we wanted to create an engraving 400mm x 200mm with a pixel resolution of 0.2mm
    The image we would have to use would be:
    400/0.2 = 2000 pixels width
    200/0.2 = 1000 pixels height

    Hope that makes sense.
  • Thanks @DarklyLabs for the added info.

    Michael,

    To better understand how your images Pixel Width and Height needs to be adjusted for the Pixel Resolution (step over/step ahead) used in PEP5 for the correct engraving size, open an image in the editor and use Auto sizing.

    Type in your Pixel Resolution (Laser's burn line width) like shown.

    CaptureDL

    Then adjust the Pixel Width or Height and see how it changes the engraving size. When your done, just click on the image and it will re-size to your monitor.

    Engraving at horizontal and vertical is fine, but try to engrave across the grains in the wood. I light sanding across the grains also helps.

    The reason in my examples I use 45 degree angle, you can use a slightly larger Pixel Resolution which saves on engraving time. If you use the same PR as when using H or V angle, the burn lines will overlap too much.

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