How to Measure the Cutting Speed of Your Laser

With some simple tests, you can determine your machine's cutting speeds

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It’s relatively easy to measure the cutting speed of your machine. In your graphics program, set your page size to the size of your laser’s work area. Draw a rectangle the same size as the page (in CorelDRAW double click on the rectangle tool), center on the page, and set the line weight to hairline. Increase your page size by 0.1″ in both the horizontal and vertical. This puts the rectangle on the page instead of on the edge where it will not print.

Set your page size in your print driver to match the drawing page size, set your speed to 100%. (The frequency settings have no effect on the speed test.) Send the job to your laser and run it. You’ll want to make sure that your job starts and ends near the home position of the lens carriage. If it doesn’t, flip and mirror the rectangle until it does.

Record the time, in seconds, that it takes for the job to run. Divide the rectangle’s perimeter measurement by that time – for example, (36+24+36+24) inches/35 seconds – and you’ll get your machine’s fastest cutting speed in inches per second. Note that this is your maximum cutting speed, your speed of light, so to speak. You can approach that speed; however, you cannot exceed it.

Next, run the same test job at 50% and then 25% speed. You’ll see that at half speed, the job takes twice as long. At one-quarter speed, the job takes four times as long, and so on. Vector cutting speed settings and time are in a simple inverted linear relationship.

Jim Puentes COOLaserCraft

Jim Puentes

Jim Puentes opened COOLaserCraft in 2008, providing his clients with marking, cutting, and fabrication services. Contact Jim at [email protected]

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