Richlite scoring flame

It’s been quite awhile since I started a new topic. All the previous topics about using Richlite as a laser material have been closed so…

I have been using Richlite for banjo fretboards and peghead overlays. It’s a very, very hard material made from resin infused paper. Much harder than ebony and it looks and feels good as a fretboard material. The problem is that it can’t be cut with a Glowforge laser and even high power score lines aren’t deep. There is something about the material that makes the score lines fill with gunk. Multiple passes don’t help since the lines would need to be cleaned between passes. So my only solution is to accurately score the fret positions with the laser and use the score lines as a guide for a standard fretsaw. That process works fairly well and because score line position accuracy is computer controlled my fret spacings are always perfect. I’ve seen a bunch of banjos, guitars and mandolins come out of major factories before the use of computer controls with incorrect fret spacing. It was common in pre-war Gibson mandolins.

But I digress. Just wanted to mention that when I score Richlite the material or gasses expelled from the cut lines have a lot of flame. Shows the importance of a good air assist fan. I know, other materials, acrylic comes to mind, will have flaring but the flames coming off the Richlite score lines are 2-3 inches long. Luckily my air assist fan is working quite well and forcefully blows the flame away before rising near the head. I have read where the company had enabled sensors to detect flare-ups. Not sure how well that works but was fairly concerned that my cuts would be stopped mid design and ruin the fretboards. Anyways, this is more of a post than a good topic.

BTW: just noticed that after three years of listening to the never changing ticka-ticka-tick of the focus motor after a job and during head calibration that the pattern has changed recently. Don’t like change. What’s next, faster processing?


When you know the noises a machine makes and it suddenly changes… :grimacing: I don’t care for that either.


Yes, it’s like when a Mother hears a different sound from her baby … she thinks something is wrong.

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