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Photo laser engraving process.
With the diode laser, you can do a very effective and nice photoengraving on many materials like wood, plywood, slate, cardboard, and hardboard.
For photoengraving, you need to have a dynamic PWM option on your board. Most GRBl compatible boards support it including Ortur, Neje, and Eleksmaker Mana board. Most 3D printer boards with Marlin firmware do not support dynamic PWM that means that you can not change laser power for every single dot.
Also, it is important to know that photo engraving is possible if the PWM frequency is more than 1000 Hz. That means that laser power can be changed every millisecond. Some PWM boards only support 250-500 Hz frequency that does not allow get high-quality photoengraving.
A satisfied buyer of a laser engraver usually quickly masters the technologies of simple image engraving on various surfaces: on wood, plastic, glass, metal.
Keep in mind that sometimes you need to prepare an inversed image. For example, if you want to engrave something on a black surface by removing the paint then the image has to be prepared inversed.
We have a lot of community members on our Facebook page helping with nice photo-engravings.
After becoming familiar with the simple drawings engraving, one wants to go over to printing photos with the interplay of light and shadow. Here the problem of halftones arises. The engraved photos come in black and white, without the soft interplay of light and shadow.
The specialists of the Endurance laser lab tried to solve this problem using various software for laser engravers. Today we will move away from popular programs such as Benbox or RIBS and take a closer look at Acan, a less known program for laser engraving.
On Benbox you need to setup Smin and Smax (min power and max power)
That means that you setup minimum power for white color and max power for black color. It depends on your engraving speed. So mostly it is an experimental parameter depending on your laser power, engraving speed, and type of material you want to engrave.
(Keep in mind that ACAN machines have their own firmware).
This program is free, runs without installation, and has all the necessary functions you need when working with a laser engraver. The main buttons that perform typical functions are standard and do not need to be explained since the user understands them intuitively.
In addition to the full version, there is a light version Acan-mini with limited options for customizing texts and images. (In the mini version we failed to add a caption to the picture).
Usually, the photoengraving speed is about 1000-2000 mm / min. However, it depends on your laser power, the speed of the PWM of your board and the quality of your frame, and the conditions of the belts.
There could be some waves and blurring if you do photo engraving too fast.
Here are the Acan functions absent in Acan-mini:
1. A wide choice of settings for writing texts.
2. Ability to set the tilt degree of an image.
3. Pictures and/or texts superimposition.
4. Work area perimeter marking before the start of engraving.
5. Two modes of operation: engraving and cutting. The mode button is at the top of the program.
6. Possibility to load the G-code.
7. The archived Inkscape, a free editor of vector graphics to create g-codes for laser cutting, in the program folder.
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The interface buttons of the Acan program have images of the actions, they perform when activated, which makes the program easy to use. Acan-mini has buttons with captions in Russian or Chinese, which makes it difficult for other language speakers to use the program.
Both programs perform their functions but have a number of drawbacks that manifest themselves when you use the programs. One of them is the problem with accurate image dimensioning.
However, both versions allow engraving gray tones.
Here you can watch a video where the Endurance laser lab specialists demonstrate the work of the version of Acan-mini and engrave a picture with various gray tones.
Prepare an image for greyscale laser engraving using Photoshop
Image processing for the creation of high-quality grayscale
To get high-quality engraving with well-defined grayscale, you need to save the image in the Bitmap mode before you start the laser engraver. We used the graphics editor Adobe Photoshop CC for this.
To save the image in Bitmap mode in the English version of Adobe Photoshop, perform the following steps:
1. Open the image in Adobe Photoshop.
2. Convert the picture to the grayscale mode. To do this, go to the Image/Mode/Grayscale menu. The image will turn gray.
3. Convert the image to the Bitmap mode (Image/Mode/Grayscale).
4. In the drop-down menu select Halftone Screen and Round.
The received “grainy” image will ensure tone gradation engraving on various surfaces.
Prepare an image for laser photo engraving using T2Laser software
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Was done with 10 watt Endurance laser and T2Laser software
More g-code examples
Acclaim Crafts – Photo Engraving with a 10 Watt Endurance Laser (Read a full PDF guide)
Laser cutting and laser engraving for home and for business.
Advantages of Endurance lasers
Multi-level testing system.
The guaranteed duration of the continuous operation ~48-72 hours.
True continuous power output
Our products have the rated power output as advertised – unlike Chinese analogues.
Can be turned on and off with 3.5-24V.
Variable power output.
Plug and play
Universal and compatible mount.
Compatible with most 3D printers and CNC machines.
Friendly return policy
Do not like the laser?
Simply return within 30 days and get a full refund.
Laser attachments and laser engraving (marking) machines.
Why do our customers buy lasers and engraving machines from Endurance?
We assist and give advice by Phone / Email / Facebook messenger / Telegram / Whatsapp / Viber.
We help to install and tune the laser. We offer qualified after-sales support.
Everything you need
We ship everything you need in one parcel to get started.
We ship all units within 4-24 hours. DHL express delivery allows you to get the package in 3-5 days.
All our lasers are tested and could work up to 10000 hours.
Do you have an old model? Upgrade your unit with more powerful one.