Can my glowforge plus cut 1/2" wood? I know my proof grade is about a 1/4" yes?
The short answer is : maybe.
I’ve cut 3/4" wood with my Basic. With multiple (MULTIPLE!.. like 15) passes I was able to cut 3/4" acrylic as well. “Wood” is too generic a term. Too many variables there. Like any non- material, you’ll need to experiment.
I figured as much, I obviously will have to do some experiments, but thought I would get a feel for what anyone else may have done. Debating on just wood glueing 2 1/4” together after cut ir trying the 1/2”. Gonna have to be adventurous looks like .
You could search the forum for older posts that discuss 1/2" wood and find a few posts. Some of the best ones have the older pre-release settings, but discuss technique and settings.
Results vary with density of wood and whether or not you have a Basic or Pro.
It is possible. There hasn’t been a recent posting of documented tests on different woods to show what is possible with the production machines and the different settings.
The “Thick” proofgrade is 1/4". The “Medium” one is 1/8"
I’ve cut 1/4" woods in the past. But as @Tom_A suggested, not all wood is the same. If you look at this post, I cut Yellowheart and Walnut.
But I tried cutting Purple Heart, and it did not go well.
You can try cutting 1/2", and you may find the right settings. But it may be easier to cut 2x 1/4" and stack them. I do that a lot with Baltic Birch plywood. I know I can cut 1/4", but it’s faster and easier for me to cut 2 x 1/8" layers and glue them together.
I have Cut and Engraved a fair amount of 1/2 inch wood but the species you are cutting can make the difference between cut and charcoal. Maple, Walnut, and Paduk can be cut at 100 full power in one or 150 full in two cuts. Most other woods are a bonfire if you try that.
One thing I tried was to engrave half way and then you are only cutting a quarter inch thick. the only way I was able to cut half inch plywood but still a lot of charred edges to clean up.
This was 0.58 Walnut
Thanks guys, lots of info to consider and thanks for sharing experiences.
BTW: I’ve found that thicker plywoods hide a lot of sins in the inner layers. Big open pockets and/or big pockets of glue or composite weirdness. Causes totally inconsistent results and/or big flare ups.
Yes, the GF can cut 1/2" maple. I did a deep engraving a logo (photos to follow)then cut out a 5.25" disc around the logo.
Wood: 1/2" maple. I picked it up at a specialty flooring lumber yard in the Bronx. They let you go through their collection of wood and pick the planks you want. The plank was 13’ long x 14.25" wide. Rosenzweig Lumber
It is not really retail but if you arrive in jeans and a flannel shirt they will let you roam around. When you first get their ask someone on the loading dock to direct you to the office. It is in the back.
Pass 1: Speed=100 Power=Full Focal Length= auto Result: .115" Deep cut
Pass 2: Speed=100 Power=Full Focal Length=.385 Result: .216" Deep cut
Pass 3: Speed=100 Power=Full Focal Length = .285 Result: Cut complete
Note: I used a depth gauge to measure the cut depth after each pass and changed the Focal Length accordingly. For new users the Focal Length tells the laser where to focus the laser beam. After the first cut the wood (wood to be vaporized) is now .115" thinner than before.
Important Note: On the last pass the wood started to char in the upper left corner. I recommend increasing the speed and making 4 or more cuts. I can sand off the charred area but it isn’t pretty.
Someone with a good band-saw and planer setup could do very well if they got good wholesale prices turning 8/4 lumber into the range the GF could handle. You would not be able to waste money shipping it a bunch of times back and forth across the country, but hand picking the wood at that point would help a lot.
All wood will char when you try and cut 1/2". The big question is how well it stands up to the charring. Paduk stands up the best in my testing but I would plan on sanding off 0.1 from the sides unless you want to leave it black.
Do you have a Pro? or is that maple especially tough? At 100 speed full power you should have cut most of the way through. Looking at my tests even the 120 speed made it through the 0,368 and the 100 had flashback all with the focal length at 0.368
Sacrificing 1/2 to one inch off the end of each board and keeping the result as a reference helps a lot even in identifying that two boards are the same or different when they look the same or different. I have been surprised both directions.
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