_SLMS laser settings discussion

I agree with this, and I think I’ve overheard in recent inductions that there’s a plan to do it.

TBH I’m a bit surprised we’re so liberal with the settings :wink:

In another makerspace I used to visit, you were supposed to follow the recommended settings without any big deviation.

If your material didn’t cut correctly with these settings, it usually meant that there was an issue e.g.:

  • You’re out of focus
  • You picked the wrong thickness
  • The lens is dirty/loose
  • The laser tube is near the end of its life and is operating at reduced power

The rationale was that if you try to solve some of these issues by increasing power/decreasing speed, there’s a risk of setting something on fire - so rather than masking any issues people should try to fix them or contact a lasertech.

Up to @lasertechs, but over the years there has never been any real issue that I ever heard of not to be liberal with the settings as long as the lens is kept clean, typically the only result is the members project may or may not come out well…

@Martyn_Thomas @Brendon_Hatcher any thoughts? Just in terms of adding some official settings, not restricting what people can do.

Just to set the context:

All JobControl settings were imported when Ruby was set up.
Ruby doesn’t group them by user, so we needed up with a BIG list.

Reducing the clutter:

Kyle did an analysis and found that most duplicated settings were identical.
So, with the agreement of the Ruby users, we could remove all duplicate settings.

More useful settings

I have given some thought to a naming structure that would provide much more clarity.
Ruby allows for a name and tags, and both are searchable (but only the name is visible in the drop-down!).
So a proposed naming convention would have to include the material, thickness and what it does (cut, engrave, both or something more).
However, there is no way to enforce it.

Official settings

We could apply a mutually-agreed-upon naming structure to create “official” settings.
This would greatly assist new users.
The task is quite overwhelming, however, as we have no source for good settings.
We would have to create new settings for every common combination of material and thickness.
Perhaps one way around this would be to make this a collaborative process:

  1. User A looks for an “official” setting for their specific material and thickness.
  2. They don’t find one.
  3. They use another material setting created by another user, and it works.
  4. They report the material setting that they used to the laser techs.
  5. The laser techs make this the official one by making a copy and renaming it.


The way that Ruby deals with material setting selection is not very good.
On my own install I found a way to do an empty setting as a default.
It requires an admin login, so I’ll do it when I am next in.


Ok cool. Maybe a discourse thread would be a good place to collate ‘suggested laser settings’ along with their purpose, like ‘maximum engraving contrast’, ‘maximum engraving depth range’ or ‘reliable cutting while minimising back burn’. I have a set I can already contribute, and even having one for each of the plywood thickness would be a good start.

Taking into account what you said about the requirements of a naming convention for the official settings. We could do

_SLMS [Material] [thickness] CP[cutting power] CS [cutting speed] EP[engraving power] ES[engraving speed] Epass[number of passes if greater than 1] [any further notes]

So an example would be:

_SLMS Plywood 3mm CP75 CS1 EP75 ES75 EPass2 maximum contrast

Or using first three letters to be more readable
_SLMS Plywood 3mm CutPow75 CutSpe1 EngPow75 EngSpe75 EngPas2 maximum contrast

One other option
_SLMS Plywood 3mm Cut P75 S1 Eng P75 S75 Pass2 maximum contrast

Any other suggestions?


I think we could stick to Material name + thickness
Then, in the settings we could standardise several colours that provide each of the effects.
For example, for all SLMS settings, red is set to cut, black is light engrave, green is deep engrave.
This would reduce the number of material settings required whilst still providing the maximum use flexibility.


Sounds good. Much simpler :joy:

Can I start creating the settings when I’m next in? I can test and save a setting in Ruby and post it on discourse at the same time.


Yes, go ahead.

1 Like

I’ve started creating a table here Recommended Laser Settings


You need to convert the post to a wiki otherwise others cannot edit.

Perhaps we should use the table to confirm that a setting has been created and stored, rather than a duplicate of the actual parameters? Otherwise people may misunderstand the purpose, and take the settings from the table and make their own material database entry even though it already exists.

I think we should keep the material settings for each material+thickness under a single entry.
You can’t apply 2 material settings to the same job, and most people (I think) would engrave and cut as part of the same workflow.
We can agree on a convention such as Black = cut, Red = engrave and other colours for other effects.

Converted it to a wiki :white_check_mark:
Agree that we should have a colour convention, but could we do red=cut, black=engrave? It’s easier to create a black and white image in software like Photoshop and would take an extra step to convert it to redscale. I think it’s a more common convention.
Happy to put a common engrave setting in each thickness of a material. Would it be worth having a master Engrave setting for that material separately as well in case they get out of sync?

I went through the “default” material settings and yes, Trotec use red=cut, black=engrave.
We can stick with that.

A master engrave setting would be useful if the user is only going to engrave.
They wouldn’t be able to use it to cut without modification.
I don’t have a sense of how common that usecase would be.

I think we should ask people to propose a current material setting by name as a candidate for an “official, _SLMS setting”. We can then test it, approve it and add it to the table.

Kyle found that the vast majority of the settings in the database are identical.
Once we have an approved setting we can identify the duplicates and ask users if we can delete them.


Alternatively, we can ask Kyle for the data dump and then approve any settings that are widely duplicated already (on the basis that those have been tested by loads of people).

1 Like

I’ve made a start on inputting them. I’ll continue on Thursday.

Laser Settings Done :white_check_mark:

I used a bit of 3mm and 4mm ply to confirm the settings but didn’t have the money to pay. Hope that’s ok?



Yeah, no problem but could you not find any random offcuts lying around if you were just testing those small areas? :thinking:

I found it hard to be sure whether the plywood offcuts were 3 or 4mm. The thickness seemed to vary between 3.3 and 3.7mm, so I decided using the marked sheets was more reliable.

Yeah, it’s generally a bit variable on the thinner thicknesses, not much we can do about that really I’m afraid, I don’t specifically measure it when it arrives, I just know for example that I bought 6 x 3mm, 6 x 4mm and 6 x 6mm so when stacked up together it is obvious which is which when I label it

1 Like