GS Step By Step
Here are all the steps, in one place, for the Grayscale Laser Tool Calibration window and then the Image Settings window.
- Start off by creating a new laser tool to support this specific engraving job.
Be detailed and name your new laser tool with the type of wood, the laser burn direction and if its GS or B&W. Below is an example.
- Click the Laser Tool Calibration link (shown below).
- Clicking the Laser tool calibration link will open that window.
Now, work through the four tabs.
- Tab 1.
Adjust for the laser beam diameter.
Adjust the dark and light feed rate speeds.
Burn the test pattern.
Take a picture of the test pattern.
- Tab 2.
Load the picture of the pattern into BCL.
Mark the test pattern with the 16 square cyan matrix so BCL can analyze the 16 shading color values.
- Tab 3.
Adjust feed rates. Look at the graph and see if there are any ‘shelf’s’ or horizontal lines. If so, adjust the feed speeds to remove the ‘flat lines’.
Go back to tab 1 and re-burn the test pattern again and repeat up to tab 3.
- Tab 4.
Check the blue current results line against the green ideal line.
If needed, move the blue line so it’s on top of the green line.
Go back to tab 1 and re-burn the test pattern again.
Repeat all tabs to get back to this tab 4 for a final check.
When you’re completely done, click the green End Calibration and Save Current Values button.
Your laser tool calibration parameters are now saved to disk.
You are now finished calibrating your laser tool.
- Next, load load the DXF file with the image in it.
- Assign your laser tool to the image object.
- Select the image0000 in the Toolpaths tab.
Right mouse click and select Display Image Settings menu item.
- The Image Settings window will display.
- Adjust the Size or Size by Percentage if needed.
- Adjust the position (X, Y) the image on the main canvas if needed.
- Check the Real Preview checkbox.
- Visually look at the preview image to see if it looks too dark or too light.
Adjust the Brightness and/or Contrast to get the image to look the way you think it should.
- Test Burn tab.
To save time, you can select a small area of the image to test burn to see how it will look. This will save time from having to burn the whole image, only to discover it came out too dark or too light.
This is a great feature to save a lot of time.
- Click the mouse pointer icon to enable the cyan dotted lines so you can select an area of the image. When clicked, the icon will change to a tan color.
- Now, mouse over the photo on the left side, and click where you want to start the selection area. Hold down the mouse button and drag the dotted cyan lines to mark the test burn area you’re interested in.
You can drag and select in any direction.
The right side preview image will change to show you the selected area.
- If you have not connected BCL to your laser machine yet, click the Disconnected button and connect now.
- Click the jog arrows if needed to position the laser head over your material.
- If you wish to know a time estimate of how long the selected area will take to test burn, click the little stop watch icon (shown below).
- When ready, click the Burn Selected Area button and the test area will start to burn.
- After the test burn is finished, make any adjustments (brightness and/or contrast) and test burn again.
- IMPORTANT: Your laser tool has already been calibrated for the GS shading color values. Do not attempt to change the laser tool parameters as the way to adjust the preview image. If you change the laser tool parameters, you will have to re-calibrate your laser tool all over again.
Due to the complexity of the laser tool parameters, there isn’t the relationship you think there is. Meaning, if you were to reduce the feed speed, you would expect to see a darker image burn, but in this case, you wouldn’t see that.
So, the lesson here is once you have calibrated your laser tool, leave it alone and adjust your image inside the Image Settings window only!
- Once you’re happy with the test burn, you can click the red X and close the window.
- Click the G-code Generation tab in the main BCL window.
- Click the generate g-code to generate it for the whole image and when ready, send the laser job to your laser machine.