Finding, Buying And Using A Laser Machine To Engrave And Cut Wood
When it comes to engraving and cutting wood, most guys are familiar with how to engrave by hand tools and cut with a portable saw, as well as use an automatic CNC router to get this job done. Is there a better woodworking tool on the market? As it turns out, laser machines are another option for the hobbyists to make personalized wood projects, as well as a good partner for industrial manufacturers to upgrade the woodworking business plan. Lasers feature with high precision, fast speed and simple operation in popular woodworking. The laser beam is projected on the surface of the wood, which can accurately and efficiently complete the engraving and cutting of any graphics. In addition, there is no die wear during laser processing, as a result of less material loss and higher yield.
In this guide, we will explain to you what type of wood a laser machine can engrave and cut, how it works on wood, and easy-to-follow operation steps, as well as how to get your own laser wood engraver cutter for your business.
What You'll Learn In This Guide
- What Type of Wood Can A Laser Engrave and Cut?
- What Is A Laser Wood Cutter Engraver Used for?
- What Laser Machine Is Best for Cutting and Engraving Wood?
- Laser Engraving Cutting Wood Video Tutorials & Instructions
- How To Purchase A Laser Wood Engraver Cutter?
- How To Laser Engrave and Cut Wood for Starters?
- Things To Consider for Beginners
- Laser Wood Engraving & Cutting FAQs
What Type of Wood Can A Laser Engrave and Cut?
Solid wood is unprocessed natural wood, including mahogany, rosewood, teak, walnut catalpa, oak, ash, yellow pineapple, elm, maple, birch, beech, camphor, pine, poplar and fir.
Plywood is a three-layer or multi-layer board-like material formed by peeling wood sections into veneers or sliced into thin wood, and then glued with adhesives. Plywood is used in house construction, interior wall decoration and door panels. It features with light weight and good bendability on the outer surface of the shape.
Density board is a board made by separating wood or other plants into fibers, using the interweaving between fibers and their own inherent bonding substances, or applying adhesives, under the conditions of heating or pressure. It is mainly divided into HDF, MDF and LDF. Density board is used in some fields such as furniture manufacturing, building materials, vehicle and ship manufacturing, and packaging materials.
Particleboard is a wood-based panel that is made of wood or other wood and fiber materials that are glued together under pressure and heat. It is used in the furniture and construction industry and in the manufacture of train and car carriages.
What Is A Laser Wood Cutter Engraver Used for?
A laser machine is used to engrave and cut most wood to make personalized crafts, decorations, signs, arts, gifts, logos, names, letters, ornaments, earrings, coasters, furniture, boxes and arts for hobbyists and industrial manufacturers.
What Laser Machine Is Best for Cutting and Engraving Wood?
In the field of laser wood processing, it usually includes YAG solid-state laser, CO2 laser and fiber laser. According to their different laser wavelengths, the application fields are also different. In addition, the composite water conduction nanosecond laser processing technology that combines nanosecond laser technology with water jet cooling technology has attracted more and more attention from the precision processing industry.
YAG lasers can be divided into continuous wave and pulsed YAG lasers. Pulsed YAG lasers are divided into nanoseconds, picoseconds, and femtoseconds. Their single pulse energy is high and has a certain repetition rate, which is more suitable for processing wood than continuous lasers. A large number of scholars have used YAG pulsed lasers to build experimental platforms to study the laser energy required by different woods. Experts from STYLECNC built a wood laser cutting experiment platform, studied key technologies such as high-beam quality solid-state laser resonators and solid-state laser cooling systems, and used YAG pulse lasers to cut red pine, walnut, yellow pomegranate, and water with a thickness of 2mm. Laser cutting experiments were carried out on different woods such as willow and maple, and the influence of cutting process parameters and wood macroscopic and microscopic structures on the quality of the kerf surface was analyzed and discussed from two aspects: the microscopic appearance of the kerf surface and the performance of the cutting process. Laser energy, cutting speed, and wood air-dry density have a great influence on the kerf width. Generally speaking, the kerf surface quality of ring-porous wood is relatively good, while that of diffuse-porous wood is relatively poor.
The CO2 laser uses the transition between the vibration and rotational energy levels of CO2 molecules to generate laser light, and the output laser wavelength is 10.6 μm, which is the most commonly used method in wood laser cutting. Wood has relatively good absorption of CO2 lasers. When performing simple marking or engraving on wood surfaces, usually low-power CO2 lasers can achieve better results. However, when engraving or cutting a pattern with a deep thickness on a large area of wood, a high-power CO2 laser is required to achieve it. When CO2 lasers are used for wood processing, the processing effect is directly related to the characteristics of wood species and texture. STYLECNC professionals use CO2 lasers to engrave triploid poplar, sylvestris pine and larch, birch, plywood and five-plywood, bamboo and other wood materials with different hardness, and study the processing parameters (focus distance, laser power, airflow Type and pressure and feed speed, etc.), workpiece material, moisture content and fiber direction, the relative influence of factors such as cutting quality (kerf width, depth, flatness, quality, etc.) and cutting efficiency. The study concluded that for CO2 laser cutting, deep cutting depth, narrow slit width, smooth cutting surface, high parallelism of cutting surface and small heat-affected layer are important evaluation indicators for good cutting effect. Generally speaking, the smaller the cutting speed, the larger the laser current, and the larger the groove width and depth. STYLECNC research concluded that because wood is a natural product with heterogeneity and anisotropy, the effect of CO2 laser cutting is directly related to the type and material properties of wood. For wood, light-colored wood is easier to be vaporized by laser, so it is relatively more suitable for engraving. For wood with dense material and relatively high density, a high-power CO2 laser is usually used for cutting operations. When laser engraving on plywood, the engraving depth should not be too deep under normal circumstances. STYLECNC experts used CO2 lasers to carry out the research on laser direct marking two-dimensional barcode technology on the wood surface. They selected different tree species of wood and directly marked the DM barcode on the surface, and found out the relationship between the laser parameters and the depth of the marked barcode. The material properties of wood under laser marking are revealed, the relevant factors affecting barcode recognition and the parameter optimization based on the effect surface method are obtained, and the ideal DM barcode contrast laser parameters are obtained taking larch material as an example: defocus amount -10mm, line spacing 0.2cm, scanning speed 40mm·s-1, laser power 18W.
Fiber laser is to dope the pump material into the optical fiber, and after coupling the specific wavelength laser emitted by the semiconductor laser, the laser is generated by the optical fiber, which is usually used in metal cutting. The fiber laser with a wavelength of about 1 μm has a relatively low absorption rate for wood. Compared with other wavelength lasers, when cutting wood with the same process parameters, the cutting depth is small and the kerf is uneven. It is easily affected by the texture density of the board: when When the moving direction of the laser beam is parallel to the direction of the wood grain, the cutting depth is relatively large and the slit is narrow; when the moving direction of the laser beam is perpendicular to the direction of the wood grain, the cutting depth is relatively small and the slit is wide. When a traditional fiber laser cuts a wood board, due to the low absorption rate of the wood board to the fiber laser, the cutting wood board mainly relies on high-energy-density laser conduction heating, so the local part of the spot is usually accompanied by obvious high-temperature combustion. However, the energy conversion efficiency of fiber lasers is relatively good (at 20% to 30%), and it has the advantages of small physical size, good power stability, narrow focus, high brightness and good beam quality, so a large number of researchers have mixed them into Thulium (Tm), doped with ytterbium and other treatments. At this stage, some manufacturers have developed high-power ultrashort pulse (femtosecond, picosecond) thulium (Tm) fiber lasers, which can achieve ultrashort pulse laser output with high repetition rate and high stability in the 2μm band, which is conducive to improving The absorption rate of wood to laser, so as to realize the cutting and engraving of wood surface.
The utilization rate of laser energy in wood laser cutting, engraving and other processing is directly related to the absorption ability of wood to laser. Therefore, when choosing a laser, it is necessary to consider the absorption wavelength of laser energy by different components of wood. In the structure of wood components, cellulose molecules have the strongest absorption ability for lasers with a wavelength of 8.30-10.00 μm, and the wavelength of CO2 lasers is usually 10.6 μm. Therefore, CO2 lasers are relatively used in cutting, engraving and heat treatment of wood materials. However, the beam quality and energy conversion efficiency of CO2 lasers have certain defects. The conversion efficiency is generally 10% to 15%, and there are problems such as the rigidity of the beam guiding and focusing components, and the large volume of the entire system. Lignin molecules have relatively the best absorption ability to ultraviolet short-wavelength laser with a wavelength of 355nm, and the heat-affected layer at the incision position is thinner, and the incision appearance quality is good. 355nm ultrafast laser has narrow pulse width and high single pulse energy, small thermal effect during processing, good processing effect and high precision, and has broad application prospects in the field of wood fine processing.
Ultraviolet laser can be mainly used for laser engraving and marking. For wood laser cutting, it is still in the exploration stage, and it has not been extensively studied in the field of wood science and technology research. Ultraviolet lasers have a short wavelength, allowing a small theoretical focus diameter and short pulse width, enabling micromachining, while the treatment zone around the heat-affected zone is relatively easy to control. When cutting wood with UV laser, it may only be possible to selectively chemically modify the surface layer without destroying the texture of the wood, so it has good processing applicability. The thermal degradation of wood materials and the pyrolysis of lignin and cellulose are both characteristic. The formation of heat-affected zone (HAZ) in the process of wood laser processing will affect the tensile strength of wood to a certain extent. Relatively little research has been done on the composition of the affected zone, especially the enrichment or degradation of thermoplastic lignin on wood laser-cut surfaces, which may be of great significance for the study of the mechanism of UV laser processing wood process. At present, there are relatively few researches on the application of ultraviolet laser in wood processing. In fact, with the continuous prevalence of intelligent manufacturing of furniture and wood products, the production of two-dimensional codes of furniture parts and the matching of machine vision recognition are all realized by furniture. The key core technology of intelligent manufacturing, while the traditional two-dimensional code marking by printing or pasting is easy to be worn or damaged in the process of sanding, primer spraying, etc. Therefore, UV laser marking is used to carry out two-dimensional Code implantation is an important way of intelligent manufacturing of furniture and wood products in the future.
$3,500.00 - $4,800.00
STJ1390 is an affordable entry-level CO2 laser cutter for beginners to cut out 2D/3D shapes and contours with softwood, solid wood, MDF, plywood to make personalized signs, puzzles, gifts, arts and crafts.
$2,800.00 - $18,000.00
Mini compact CO2 laser marking machine with 30W Synrad RF laser tube is used for small business of wood, MDF, plywood, acrylic, plastic, fabric, and leather.
$4,500.00 - $6,800.00
CO2 Galvo laser marking machine is a high-speed and ultra-fine engraving system for organic materials like rubber, fabric, wood, paper, glass, stone, ceramic.
Laser Engraving Cutting Wood Video Tutorials & Instructions
These videos will show you how a laser machine cuts and engraves wood at raw speed from the most intuitive angle, so you can determine the true capabilities and performance of the machine
How To Purchase A Laser Wood Engraver Cutter?
When you experience so many functions a laser wood engraving. cutting machine can perform, you can get pretty excited about getting one. Lasers are fancy because of the personalized woodworking projects you can get to engrave and cut with them, such as woodcuts, wood crafts, signs, decorations, and an endless list of things.
There are different specifications of laser machines, and they vary according to table size, function, power, and technology. So, you should consider some things before buying as following.
Plan Your Budget
Getting a laser machine requires your money, You need to understand your financial ability, and is it worth buying?
Set Your Goals
You need to understand what you are buying a laser machine for? Your goal will determine the type of laser to get, the features it should have, and what laser power should you use.
Research Makes and Models
After you set your goals, you have to search and research a wide range of laser machines on the market. You can search online or experience in physical stores to check which types or models are suitable for your business, and select a few popular brands and manufacturers for comparison.
Compare Costs and Features
This is a critical step where you compare the features and costs of various machines based on your needs and budget. You'll need to compare various parts and accessories, as well as service and support, before finalizing your options.
How To Laser Engrave and Cut Wood for Starters?
Laser wood cutting uses a focused high-power-density laser beam to irradiate the wood surface. When the power density exceeds the threshold, the energy of the beam and the heat generated by partial combustion are absorbed by the wood at the cutting site, causing a sharp rise in temperature and vaporization of some woods. It is a cutting method in which part of the wood is burned to form slag, which is blown away by the auxiliary gas.
Laser wood engraving refers to the high-power laser beam radiating on the surface of the wood to be engraved, which is then converted into heat energy, and then the surface of the wood is thermally decomposed and carbonized through the action of instantaneous heat flow, thereby partially removing the surface of the wood to form laser-engraved patterns from your desgins.
Here are 8 easy-to-follow operation steps for beginners and professionals.
Step 1. First turn on the main power switch, turn on the voltage regulator, and turn on the water chiller (let the water in the laser tube be filled and cycle for 1-3 minutes).
Step 2. Turn on the power of the host of the laser cutting machine and reset the machine.
Step 3. Turn on the power of the fan and the air pump.
Step 4. Turn on the laser switch (turn on the laser machine to emit light), and then turn on the light switch.
Step 5. Press the burst button to detect whether the light is emitted.
Step 6. Turn on the computer (the USB cable of the computer is connected to the machine interface), open the control software, and click the up, down, left, and right keys of the software to check whether the machine is moving. The movement of the machine indicates that the computer is connected to the machine.
Step 7. Place the wood and adjust the focal length (generally, we only measure the distance from the cutting nozzle to the surface of the wood). Long focal length lenses are used for thick wood cutting, and short focal length lenses are used for fine wood carving.
Step 8. Operate the computer to transfer the designed file, then locate and test whether the file size is within the effective range of the wood, and start carving or cutting.
Things To Consider for Beginners
Getting familiar with how to engrave and cut wood with a laser machine is not an easy jobs for beginners, which will take time and effort, you should pay attention to the steps and details to get the expected results for your goals. Consider what you want to engrave and cut, set the parameters you want in the software, and determine if the quality of the final wood engravings & cuts presents what you want. Follow this guide diligently, and you'll be an expert on laser wood engraving cutting, as well as get what you want and need.
Laser Wood Engraving & Cutting FAQs
Laser cutters can cut wood up to 30mm thick. However, most lasers are more efficient when the material thickness is between 0.5mm and 12mm. In addition, the thickness of wood that can be cut with a laser depends largely on the power of the machine. Higher wattage machines can cut thicker wood faster than lower wattage machines. For best results, choose a laser cutter with a wattage of 60-100.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, a laser machine can be easily operated to engrave and cut wood due to its user-friendly interface, easy-to-use software and excellent performance. It is compatible with a variety of software, allowing you to use any graphic design software to complete the layout file making, and use the laser machine to engrave and cut directly on any type of wood.
If you want laser engraving wood without burning it, you need to ensure that you can engrave it once to avoid secondary damage. Moreover, you should use fast speed and low power, as well as use an air compressor to assist blowing.