- Keep extra material inventory to practice on and to do test runs.
- Keep your laser system clean, especially the optics, to get the best results.
- Use the materials database settings provided by the laser system manufacturer, then tweak as needed to achieve the desired results.
- Buy materials from reputable suppliers that indicate the material is designed for or compatible with laser processing. Look for suppliers that advertise in trade publications, exhibit at industry trade shows, or are listed on the equipment supplier’s website.
- Learn the “ins and outs” of the design software. A good time to do this is while waiting for delivery of your laser system.
- Consider using a third-party photo preparation software designed for laser engraving instead of trying to manipulate photos in a design software. This dramatically simplifies preparing photos for laser engraving and consistently gives more predictable and better results.
- Always double check the laser focus, even if using autofocus or programmed focus, until you are comfortable with all available focus methods. Being out of focus is one of the most common causes of bad results, plus it can be frustrating because the cause is not always obvious.
—Kirstin Scott, Universal Laser Systems