3 Tips for Laser Engraving and Cutting

Laser cutters have certainly helped to improve the way we manufacture many materials.  From wood to ceramics to rubber, laser cutting ensures accuracy and efficiency every time. Whether you are looking to build your own crafts or want to increase productivity for a small business, investing in a laser cutter could be a great idea.

However, if this sounds appealing to you, it would be a good idea to consider these things before using a laser cutter.


TIP #1: Preparing to Cut

Before you even begin cutting or engraving with a laser you need to know that this process results in heat and where there is heat there is smoke.  This smoke can stain the edges of the cut or engraving, which can be attractive, if that is the style you are going for. At the same time, though, you can simply use masking tape to avoid this effect.

Similarly, you should make sure if your machine has cutting presets.  And then—whether using a preset or setting your own guides—always makes a test cut with a piece of throwaway material.

TIP #2: Layering your Program

The great benefit of a laser cutter is that you can program the machine to make cuts for you.  But if you put the whole design into the system at once, the machine will only make the cuts as a whole unit. However, if you layer the program it allows you to have multiple components in your design all as the same file (instead of a new file for each different piece) as well as control the order of cuts.

TIP #3: Wood Grains

If you are looking to engrave/burn a logo into a solid piece of wood you will also want to pay attention to the grains.  Natural wood has grains that are not uniform. The grains represent different types of growth and each will burn differently.  Darker grains are more furtive while lighter grains are softer.

If the wood is a composite like plywood, though, you probably won’t see any grain. Of course, synthetics burn differently as well. In addition, you need to know if the wood has a veneer. Engraving will burn through this veneer to expose the material underneath; make sure you like what you see beneath the veneer before moving forward.

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