I’m getting some inconsistent cuts when cutting through 1/4” at 135/full to create plywood panels for cabinet door inserts (shutters). This is very detailed piece with many pieces to be removed when done. It takes 40 minutes to cut one panel. Sometimes cuts work perfectly. Sometimes not. I’ve started cleaning lenses and mirrors between every cut (seems excessive). I keep slowing down the speed. What causes “skips” where the laser only cuts through 3/4 of the panel thickness for approximately 1/2” in length in a few places? How can I remedy this? I’m a relatively new user…
Sounds like you might need to examine each sheet of the plywood with a strong flashlight behind it looking for air pockets and glue plugs. Try to avoid them with your cut placement, because you can’t laser through an air gap, knot or a Bondo plug. It just chars. (That’s what it sounds like, without seeing the cuts.)
I would attach pictures but don’t see that option. (Not too tech savvy) The pattern pretty much covers the entire area like a fabric. This plywood was purchased through another vendor because I need to stain it and the stock plywood comes with a glossy finish and won’t take stain. How often (minutes use) should I go before wiping lens and mirrors?
Wiping the lens and windows isn’t going to help if there are hidden gaps in the wood. The only way to see them is to shine a strong flashlight through from behind…you can see the gaps and mark them with a pencil and try to place your design cuts around it.
(Every bit of the cheap stuff that I tried at Lowe’s and Home Depot wound up being not worth the time spent on it…too many vugs and plugs.)
The least objectionable of the non-PG plywoods is real Baltic Birch ply. (Not Birch, Baltic Birch.) And it comes in different grades… the cheaper cuts still had some air gaps. ( But not as many as junk plywood.)
I think some folks have also had good luck with manufactured sheets from Columbia Forest products, (Home Depot), but I’ve never tried it, so can’t tell you how it works.
I use this quite a bit – it has an MDF core, so no voids, glue plugs, or bondo. It isn’t finished, so you can stain and finish it as you see fit.
It depends on what you’re cutting - I use the dirtiness of the laser tube as an indication - when it’s got a light covering of dust, so do all the lenses. So I wipe them all (to be clear there’s no need to wipe the laser tube, I just do so I can use it as my visual clue).
This sounds like your material is inconsistent- which is totally normal for natural materials that aren’t specifically made for laser cutting (like Proofgrade).
1/4” plywood is notoriously fickle this way. Instead of slowing your cuts down which will cause lots of char, try keeping it fast and running a second pass.
Also before moving or taking out the pieces, try lifting just a few to check if they’re cut through.
If not, leave them be and run the job again. The GF will cut in the exact same spot no matter what the camera shows you.
Thank you… to Ella and others who have contributed to my knowledge base!
A follow up question on running a second cut:
Does the laser, when cutting a second time, penetrate too deep and damage the machine (obviously not or you would not recommend it). That was a concern of mine.
Does the tray ever suffer damage from the laser?
I attempt to cut pieces out with an exact knife but this is laborious and often not very effective (damaging).
Learning is fun. I’m increasing my understanding.
The tray does not suffer damage from the laser. Running a second pass will save your hands and fingers from the exacto knife.