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Cutting thicker Plywood

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  • Cutting thicker Plywood

    Hey there,

    Has anyone had success cutting thicker pieces of plywood using multiple passes? I am looking to cut 1/2" Baltic Burch. I did see a box in the wood shop that is 1/2 ply cut on the laser. Any suggestions on the setup and process would be appreciated.


    Last edited by Theo; 02-02-2020, 12:13 PM.

  • #2
    I've only done 1/4" and then laminated the pieces together. Most advice I've had is that 1/4" is about the most you can do.

    From the thicker cuts I've found two things:
    The type of wood matters - Baltic birch lasers very well and clean, construction grade plywood burns at the edges significantly.
    The thicker the wood the wider the cut ends up being due to the way the laser lens focuses the light into an hourglass shape. It's this very intense ligtt focused to a small point that cuts most effectively.

    Click image for larger version

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    Those wood feeler gauges are used to set the laser height so that the focal point of the laser places the middle of that hourglass right in the middle of the wood thickness.

    My suggestion:
    If doing two passes you could try adjusting the z-axis height down after the first pass so you make sure that the focal point is right in the middle of each cut depth. Try experimenting with a few passes on the edge of the piece to cut though the first 1/4" using the 6mm height on the feeler gauge (this puts the focal point down 3mm from the top of wood), figure out that ideal cut speed, then use the feeler gauge to set the z height so that the focus point is in the middle of the bottom 1/4". That would be equivalent to a 18mm thick piece, so I think the laser nozzle is going to be just barely above the wood at that point. The laser focal point should be down 9mm from top of wood at this point.

    Maybe you need to run the second pass at a different speed, the best way to figure it out is trying some small test cuts and writing down your settings for each one, then close in on the ideal process.

    And then document what you did and post it here to share the knowledge around - knowledge sharing is what makes Makerspace's work!


    • #3
      Sounds good. I will post what I find.



      • #4
        We have had a member cut a 2x4. I think he brought the power to 35% and a low cutting speed.