Burning on fine cuts with Colorshop Woods

Hi. I am wondering if anybody has any advice on this issue. I purchased some colorshop woods sheets from Johnson’s Plastics Plus and I did a cut test prior and on the test I found speed of 240 with full power worked well. When I cut with those settings on the colorshop woods most cut nicely but as you can see the very fine pieces that were cut like the little points in the centers of the flower petals burned, more so on the back but some on the front. The first photo is the front and the second is the back. Any advice is appreciated.


Did you use any masking? That should stop it. And if not, is there any way to clean it, like with denatured alcohol or anything? Or does that affect the colors?


I drop the power by 5-10 points when doing intricate cuts. You might need to do some testing – my preference is to find a setting where the tiny bits just barely cut through, and need a small push to pop out.


Mask the parts if you have them un-masked. IF that fails, then you might want to split your design into 2 colors, one for bigger cuts, one for these fine details. Then drop the power or raise the speed for the finer bits ( as Geek2nurse suggested).


Thank you all. It does come with masking on it. I will try to see if I can get it off with denatured alcohol but it looks to me like it is burned not just marks. If not I can try to lower the power as suggested and see if it works. I just need to figure out how to separate the smaller parts of the design. I’m still getting used to illustrator.

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This is my preferred test method:

If you are masking and you’re still seeing excessive burning on the back, go back to step 1 and test:
you’re overpowering the cut.

When cutting extremely fine points you are almost always going to be prone to some charring. To combat that follow @geek2nurse’s advice, but if you really want to get the best results in these cases try doing multiple fast passes. Pick a fast speed (300+) and then back into the number of passes you need to make to get through the cut at about 85 power. The combination of slightly lower power and higher speeds will make the least impact to your surrounding wood. You can get very precise delicate cuts using a method like that.

“So, evansd2 you do that all the time then, right?” Nope, I almost never do it. I go hot and fast, a slight bit of discoloration is either something that I will accept with the design or I will modify the path to eliminate thin spots. My time is the most important thing to me, in general I will change my design before I’ll make the job take longer. YMMV.


Thank you. That is the test I used. I found in the test 240 /full was best. With the fine details in the flower it burned though. I will do further testing with what you suggested. Thank you and everybody else for the continued help!

Is you masking nice and smooth? I find if the tape lifts it will burn more. Also, is your piece nice and flat?

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Ok, so I have it worked out. I did a bunch of testing and if I stay at the speed I was already using (240) and dropped the power to 100 and did 2 passes it works perfectly. Thank you all for your help!


one thing to keep in mind is that lots of tiny design bits cut slightly less than broad full straight lines. In tight curves and sharp points the head cannot go through at top speed and automatically cuts the power in response to how slow it has to go. so the settings will be a bit different on a big rectangle than a bunch of curly bits. of course the material can make a big difference as hard maple might not notice while zebrawood will have a coal get started and maybe burn off the whole point.


Hmm I never considered this implication of clean corners, that’s interesting. I haven’t run into it, but it may be that either I overpower things enough that it can take the reduction and still work, or as you say it may come down to material choice.

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I have run into it a lot. And I think that there is implications in PG settings also that are on the edge of working, is may burn extra on straightaways and almost not go through one side or another in the curly-swirly bits usually needing assistance, and yes the higher the speed the greater the difference.