Laser Cutting Issues
Tagged: laser cutting
March 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm #2286
So over the past week I have been trying to cut my own panels on an Epilog Helix 45w laser cutter using 1/4in interior grade Balitc Birch Plywood. Even at maximum power, using the slowest speed and making 3-4 passes I am getting all the way through on about 85% of any given part. I will have access to a 60w laser in abit but not for a while.
I had a local laser company quote it out and they wanted $950!!!!! I can’t do that. Any suggestions? Bill I know you cut yours on the machines I did care to share how? I’d be willing to spend up to $200 for the cutting, but anymore than that seems harsh. I guess I’ll do some more quoting today.March 16, 2010 at 4:21 pm #3502
@MrPaul, 45W might be a little under-powered for quarter-inch material. Shop around, as there are definitely places that will do the cuts for much less than you were quoted.
Here’s one technique that I’ve found to work well for cutting very thick material is to drop the focus down by half the depth of the material between passes. This will help make sure that the beam is focused on the remaining material, not what’s already been cut.March 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm #3503
@MrPaul, I’m surprised you’re having a problem. I was able to cut through 1/4″ Baltic Birch Plywood on the same Epilog Helix 45w Laser (TechShop, right?), in a single pass. I don’t have the settings with me, but I believe it was power at 90, and speed at 10. I don’t recall if I adjusted the frequency, or not. I did use @Chris technique of focusing down half the depth of the material. The only problem I ran into was an occasional spot that didn’t get cut all of the way through. Not sure if it was an extra dense spot in the wood, or maybe a glob of glue, but a utility knife took care of it. I’ll recheck the settings later, and post if there’s a change.March 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm #3504
Thanx all for the suggestions.
@Bill: Yes it was at TS. And I used 1,2, and 5 passes at 90%, 5 speed at a variety of frequencies. There was just too many spots left uncut (any many of them long sections) to use a knife. I did focus half way down as well. I ended up getting the ply from a place in SF instead of WoodCraft, but it was very high quality. Maybe I should give the hard board a try like the designers originally used. Care to e-mail me the name of the place that you used to cut your over-sized parts?
The other option would be to use Acrylic which I know I could cut, but I am a little worried about the fragility of it, and of the fact that acrylic has little to no give. Being sturdy is important, but I would be worried that the acrylic may be prone to cracking and or fracturing unlike the ply which would have at least a small amount of give.March 16, 2010 at 8:37 pm #3505
@MrPaul, Maybe the Woodcraft BBP is a lesser quality then what you purchased and I just lucked out. Not sure what else it could be. I ended up using the BBP because I could not find the 1/4″ Masonite, locally.
I had the over-sized parts cut at, Laser Alliance, in Milpitas. It was $50 for the 4 pieces, with 1 day turnaround and I provided the material. A little pricey, but I didn’t have many options.
As for acrylic, I posted the same question on the forum. You can take a look at the discussion here.March 17, 2010 at 7:15 pm #3506
@ Bill I tried the WoodCraft Ply with the settings you suggested, 3 passes and still 30% un-cut. I think the 60W laser is coming in today I’ll give that a shot.
I tried masonite yesterday as well. I maxed out the laser and it just burned up, had to stop the machine to prevent damaging it and to prevent a large fire.
I also tried solid birch panels. They are very expensive but they came out awesome looking. Problem is that they are not available in the sizes needed for most of the parts. Oh well.
Still hoping to hear back from some local companies re quotes. Damn I should probably just start a build log somewhere.March 17, 2010 at 8:12 pm #3507
@MrPaul, I need to re-cut a couple of parts and have Laser#2 reserved this Sunday. I’ll let you know what happens.March 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm #3508
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