Laser Cutting

How to use a wood laser cutting machine

In the previous tutorial, we have stated the steps of the laser marking process on woods. We tried to clarify each of the tricks and strategies. In this article, we will focus on the laser cutting process. In general, the steps for both of the methods are not the same. To laser cut at home, you must pay some attention before go for laser cutting. Laser marking requires less power than laser cutting. Therefore, at the end of this tutorial, we will demonstrate the reasons for taking the laser cutting machine’s precautional steps. 

Laser marking Vs. Laser cutting

Usually, a mini laser engraver for soft materials such as wood, acrylic, plastics, etc., is a 7W – 20W powered machine. You may not need a powerful laser machine; instead, a 7W laser source is enough to mark any wood pictures.  On the other hand, a laser cutting machine for wood requires a power source above 15 W., But this 15W laser source can only cut sheets and hard papers. If you increase the thickness of the materials, you must increase the power source.

Laser marking operation is a complex and slow process. The only reason is, the laser marking needs every point to burn. But on the other hand, laser cutting doesn’t require each of the spots to cut; instead, it cuts the way the design border goes. Thus, the laser cutting process is more comfortable than the laser marking process.

Usually, due to specification and power source, laser marking machines are comparatively cheaper than laser cutting machines. A 20W laser cutting machine can cut most of the soft materials except metals. So, a 20W laser cutting machine is suitable both for laser cutting and engraving. You do not need separate devices to observe these processes. Just adjust the power limit and set the settings accordingly.

Choose an appropriate laser cutting machine and wood species

The right chosen laser machine can be the best friend for your laser engraving business. Power and stability are the essential sides to consider. Whenever you decide on the best laser engraving machine, consider its specifications, reviews, and other vital factors.  Check the article “Best Laser Wood Engraver” to know how to choose the best laser wood engraver and get the top 10 laser engraving machine in 2021.

However, Choosing a laser engraving wood is also an essential factor to consider before laser cutting/ engraving. Usually, alder, cherry, and maple are popular I laser engraving. Check the article “how to choose the best wood for laser engraving” to know the details about laser cutting on woods and how to choose the best wood for your business. 

How to laser cut

Laser cutting is not very difficult to operate. Only by using a computer and maintaining the safety tips we can easily laser cut. It’s like digital printing on woods. Just set up the design and locate it. That’s it; you are ready to print or etch the surface of the wood.

laser cutting
cutting edges

Preparation

You have to know that the laser beam burns the point it hits. So, the track it moves, it keeps burning that track. So, the design must be in PNG format, and the design boundaries should be high quality. Now, Import the image on laser cutting software. There are a good number of laser cutting software available on the internet. But it is better to use the referred software for your laser cutting machine. Finally, Position the design on the software panel. Convert the image into the software format. And then try to understand the position of your design on the wood you want to cut.

laser cutting
Settings

Power, speed and frequency Setup

This part is the most critical section to know well. Depending on your device’s power and frequency, the laser burns the selective thickness of the material. Let’s say a 20W laser cutting machine requires 100 mm/min or S100 speed to cut 2.8 plywood in 2 rounds. In this case, depending on your choice, you can adjust the power, speed, and frequency of the laser beam. What can be the change if you change the digits? Well, regarding this, if you decrease the rate, you can cut the 2.8 mm of plywood in 1 round. On the other hand, if you minimize the power to 50%, the machine may require four times to cut the object. Depending on the quality of your cutting object, you can decide on these three factors.

Laser focusing

Suppose you are done with the power, frequency, and speed settings, better to know this step carefully. The design’s position may have deflected or outside the object surface; in this case, you can take a demo laser printing moving to avoid the mistake. Set up the focal length of the laser beam and initiate a demo printing. You can see the laser tracks. If it requires changing the design position, you can change and see it again if you have placed them perfectly.

Testing

To check the power and frequency settings you have imported on the software, you should take a demo plywood test. It will help you understand the necessary power and output frequency of the laser source. You can easily cover the losses before you jump into the details.

Safety tips

According to ANSI Z136.1, laser machines are low-risk machine if the device is fully enclosed and interlocked. Yet, it has some harmful sides. You should know them carefully.

  1. The invisible high power laser beam can cause severe eye damage, such as blindness and severe skin burns. 
  2. Improper use of modifications and controls may cause serious injuries. So, DO NOT disable any system’s safety features and DO NOT operate the laser unless all covers are in place and interlocked.
  3. The high-intensity laser beam creates a high temperature and a significant amount of heat. Therefore, keep away the materials that can catch fire during cutting operations.
  4. Laser cutters generate fumes, vapors, particulates, and metal fumes from the substrate that can be highly toxic. Therefore, all-laser cutter systems must be equipped with a fume exhaust system and filtration system.

Summary

Laser cutting is a perfect choice for any design business. Cards, letters, banners, signboards are all useful products nowadays. People are looking for cheap, productive materials that can fill their demands. A laser cutting machine can be the best choice to fill all these.

Maintaining all the safety precautions and tips a laser machine is the easiest thing to operate. Have patience and read this article you will understand 50% of the laser cutting machine. We hope we could state the steps of the laser cutting machine correctly. Please comment below if you didn’t understand any of the steps.

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