HELP...Can I cut wood which is 1/2 inch thick?

I am hoping someone can help me. I need to cut a 1 1/2 " hole in the middle of a 1/2" thick wood board. The wood species is not that important as long as I can get it locally and it’s not extraordinarily expensive. I do need it not to burn too much under the masking, but other than that, I’m very open to suggestions. So tell me GF Community, am I barking up an impossible tree? And, of course, I am a relatively new woodworker and definitely new Glowforge user. Thanks Users!!!

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Depends on the kind of wood, and the kind of machine you have. I cut some nominal 1/2" basswood (actual calipered measurement 0.38") the other day with a Pro in one pass.

So yeah, it’s feasible with multiple passes on lightweight woods. With the Pro. (No guarantees on the other machines.)

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i have not had great success getting through thick material cleanly, although I’ve had my best luck with cedar boards (nominal 1/2", callipered at 0.43"). Cleanest cuts I got involved multiple passes, setting the focal height lower with each pass.

circle cut with multiple passes, no focal height adjustment. Charcoal-like finish on the sides. rectangle had the adjustments, less charing but still evident. no masking used.

Circle has more obvious flare-burns, rectangle has more of an even shading effect.

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honestly, if you just need to cut a 1.5" hole in a thick piece of wood, i would pick up a hole cutter for my drill and just drill it out. it will take less time, make less mess, and make you less unhappy.

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Thanks so much. Would you mind sharing your settings with me? I know I will have to fool around with them but it would be great to have a place to start!. Thanks again.

Thanks for the info and the visuals. As a newer glow forge user, I’ve heard people refer to focal depth settings, and I have a vague understanding of telling the laser to cut at a lower thickness (i think) every pass, but would you mind explaining it to me a little “slower”, lol? What settings would you try.

Also, what do you think about making a jig and cutting as deep as I can on one side, turn the wood over and cut as deep as I can on the other side? Can you foresee any problems I might run into? Thank you again for sharing your info and images.

Hi and thanks for your suggestion. I am what some people refer to as a handicapable perso n and I have some difficulties with my hands both with dexterity and strength. That’s why Glowforge has been a Godsend to me. I’ve tried to use a hole saw but I do not get consistent results and can only get one or two done at a time, and then rest my hands the whole next day, so that would not get me enough production.

What are your thoughts about making a jig and cutting as deep as I can on one side, turn the wood over and cutting as deep as I can on the other side? Can you foresee any problems I might run into? I really appreciate your input.

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i appreciate that.

it could work, as long as your jig is perfectly symmetrical.

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I didn’t keep them or write them down…each time I make a cut on unknown material I just run a small test case…for the Basswood, it was in the neighborhood of 139/FP (with a Pro machine) if I remember correctly, but that was several weeks ago and a lot has happened since then.

Still you can try that, (on Basswood) and go slower if it doesn’t cut all the way through.

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Thanks!

I was able to cut a square out of 1/2” red oak. There was charring but could probably sand it and get rid of most. Search for cutting red oak. Those are the settings I used. I think I had speed down to 100 with full power.

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THIS…

I’d like that ,too. I just don’t get the focal length thing.

I hope some of the information in this thread is helpful regarding focus and material thickness:

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Thank you so very much!

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