From BenBox to LaserWeb4 - looking to fill in some blanks

Hello, I hope this is the right forum category to post this.

I’ll start off by saying that LaserWeb4 is so far, everything I’ve been wanting. I’ve been using benbox on an Eleks 3w laser from banggood for the last two months. It’s worked, but it’s felt like running with the training wheels on. LaserWeb4 feels like I’ve upgraded to something with an engine, and I just have a couple of questions that I’m hoping someone can help me fill in the blanks on.

To start, I upgraded the firmware to GRBL, that was easy enough. Then I followed this guide for my initial setup:

Right now I’m trying to do an engraving. When I upload a jpg, I do a trace and create a vector, then I create a laser raster of that image and generate the gcode.

So I’ll stop there and ask a question: Is that the best route I should take to create an engraving?

Now I’ve got two more questions based on the result of my engraving. The first is, when I run my job, the laser seems to move across the X axis even if there is nothing for it to do on those lines. For example, if I uploaded an image that is 2 inches bit but only has a quarter inch circle in the center, then laserweb seems to traverse every line before it hits the quarter inch circle in the center. Is that how it should be running? It seems wasteful and makes the process take a lot longer. Can I change this?

The next question is, what settings should I play with the adjust the burn time? In benbox for example, I’d run a speed of 3500 and a time of 7. I’m not sure what the equivalent of that would be in laserweb. How do I speed up the movements and burn times?

Then I have two general questions that I hope are the easiest to answer. Is there output somewhere for how long a job will take to run?

Lastly, is there somewhere that shows you visually where you are on the current job? I didn’t love benbox at all, but I liked that it would do both of those things. I’m hoping I’m just not looking in the right places to see it so far.

Thanks for any help you all can give me. I’m still new to laserweb, but I’m pretty excited for it.

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Sorry for the late answer. I missed that post.

The easy way to do laser engraving from jpg is to just load the jpg into LaserWeb and create a “Laser Raster” operation for it. In this operation you can enable or disable some features.

Trim Pixels means that all white pixels around the grafic will be trimmed, so no useless moves are needed.

Join Pixels means that pixels with same color will be joined to a single G1 move, which results in smoother moves.

Burn White means that all white area are also scanned over with a G1 move (instead of G0) but with zero power. This produces smoother moves, but will need some more time if there is much white in the picture.

I prefer to enable all three features most of the time.

There is no burn time in LaserWeb and most other softwares and wirmwares I know.
The energy that is applied to a point is only depending on power and feed (and focus of the laser). So you should play with power and feed to reach your goal.

Be aware that the firmware is often a speed limiting factor. With grbl on an arduino uno or nano you could not expect much more than 50mm/s for raster engraving. Vector is quicker, because less command are needed.

Unfortunately there is no estimated time calculation.

You should see the actual position of the laserhead on the grid while a job is running. If you don’t see it, you probably need to set the grbl parameter $10=0.

Please check the LaserWeb website for more setup instructions: