Hello all! Newbie user here, cutting on some 1/4 in birch plywood from Lowe’s. I know others have discussed challenges they’ve had with this product - but, for better or worse, this is what I’m stuck with cutting for the moment.
I’m making a bunch of memorial ornaments for my aunt’s funeral this weekend. They have largely come out surprisingly great! However (like others have reported), sometimes my cut doesn’t go all the way through. Unfortunately, I don’t figure it out until I have moved the surface, so I can’t easily re-cut without some jittering of the line. So - I’m trying to decide whether it’s better to have it cut with two passes, or whether I should just slow down the cut speed to reduce this issue. I previously had it cut twice (by accident) and it seemed pretty… High energy, with a lot of charring on the bottom suggesting the laser was bouncing around or heating up the crumb tray. So - I’m worried about fire, either way. What do you think is the safest choice?
My current cut settings (basic): full power, speed 140, focus height 0.25 and 1 pass. (this is plenty sufficient for virtually all of the cuts - just a couple areas have been problematic, but that damaged the product.) Thanks friends!
Yep, all completely normal when cutting on plywood from home improvement stores. There are usually voids and dense glue plugs inside that will cause those flare-ups, char everything, and fail to cut through.
About all you can do is check the material and try to lay your cuts around the bad spots…grab a high power light source (flashlight, light table) and move it around behind the material…you can spot the bad places and circle them with a pencil so you place your design cuts where they don’t hit them.
This is absolutely true, however it is also the case that many woods are hardened by heating, and charcoal can insulate the wood below from being cut. So many times one cut does a better job than many.
In addition some of the more flammable woods like Zebrawood are more likely to ignite if the passage is over charred wood than (the same engrave especially) over fresh wood. So less than a firm answer it can be really squishy and dependent on the particulars.
Sorry I wasn’t clear. II was referring to the laser hitting the crumb tray and reflecting back onto the material and marking it. The masking on the back prevents that, unless your power is really too high.
I had to do thousands of tokens, and pulling the mask off before running the file saved like a week of weeding, so I used plain light cardstock to protect the back.
I used household ammonia to wipe the tokens on both sides to clean off the smoke stain.