Laser engrave productively with the relief mode

Relief mode is a function in which the laser power is processed depending on the gray value of a graphic. Thus, it is possible to process multiple power levels in one operation. This saves processing time and increases productivity. In this guide we show you how it works.

Process type: Standard vs. Relief mode

Standard mode

In standard mode, the desired power is selected in the parameter database using various RGB colors. Multiple engraving colors are processed by the laser one after the other.

Relief mode

In Relief mode, however, multiple engraving colors or power levels can be processed in one operation. The laser power depends on the gray value of a graphic. This means that white is processed without power, light areas at low power, dark areas at higher power and black at full power.
This requires an 8-bit grayscale graphic (256 grayscale values). Color images are automatically converted to grayscale images during printing. Compared to standard mode, the processing time can be greatly reduced.

How much time does it save?

Our engraved camouflage pattern shows you how effective this method is. We engraved this 15x15 cm graphic on our Speedy300, 60W in just under 38 mins in standard mode with multiple RGB engraving parameters (diagram A).

Using the Relief mode, we can achieve the same engraving result in 13:47 using the same speed settings (diagram B), reducing the processing time by almost 2/3.

Even if you process only two different engraving settings together, you will achieve a 50% increase in productivity!

How can I find out whether my material allows multiple engraving effects?

The most accurate way to find out whether your material allows multiple colors when engraving is to determine the parameters using a grayscale matrix. After you have engraved the matrix, choose your desired effects. In our case we chose boxes 22, 30 and 50.

Tip: Let the grayscale matrix run in the same width as your subsequent graphic. Even small differences in acceleration distance can make a significant difference in sensitive materials.

How should I prepare my graphic?

Editing the graphic is the second most essential step for processing multiple engraving effects in one operation. Normally you assign a color from the RGB color palette for each different engraving (see diagram A). With our method, instead of the RGB color values, you assign the grayscale values that you previously selected from the grayscale matrix. So the three different colors would instead be 22% gray, 30% gray and 50% gray.

How do I correctly send the graphic to my Trotec laser?

The “Relief” process type is a prerequisite for your Trotec laser to engrave the grayscale correctly. When sending the graphic, you use exactly the same settings as before when sending the grayscale matrix. You only need to enter the size of your final graphic. Due to the three gray values that we have assigned in our graphic, the laser power output is always based on this grayscale. This means that with a grayscale value of 22%, only 22% of the power entered in the parameter database will be output.

Which settings do I need to set in the parameter database?

The settings in the parameter database are very simple: Use the same parameters that you used before in the grayscale matrix. As already mentioned, we control the power using the grayscale values in the graphic, so no adjustment is required here.

When can I use this method?

Basically, this method is always suitable if you want to process multiple engraving parameters in one job. The only requirement is that all engraving parameters use the same z-Offset value.

This time-saving processing method can be used on all Trotec laser machines.

Further information

Need more help?

Contact the Trotec service hotline where top qualified and motivated laser experts will assist you with any questions or problems.

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