I just bought a basic 40W laser engraving machine a couple of days ago and love it. Now I'm trying to figure out resources and materials to use. I was wondering if anyone could recommend woods and acrylics that work well with low powered lasers. I'm looking for more of an engraved look and less of a scorched, burned feel.
Also what woods and materials could I possibly cut shapes out of that is fairly strong? Something similar in strength to 1/8 plywood; I couldn’t cut through 1/8, so I was thinking 1/16 plywood, but it's so expensive any cheaper similar strength alternatives? Balsa is to thin for my purposes.
When I bought the machine from China, it mentioned that I could engrave on metal if I coated it with a special chemical, but if never mentioned the chemical, what do I need to purchase and what metals work the best?
Finally, what are some good websites for affordable resource materials and blank engraving items?
I know its a lot of questions. Thanks for you time!
I have a 40w Chinese machine and I can cut 1/8 plywood in one pass using 10ma and 5 for the speed, this is with Moshi, so yours may be different, but 40w is plenty for 1/8" ply. 1/8" plexi cuts about the same as the plywood, 1/4 in plexi cuts at 15ma, speed 3. It can be done.
Any questions, just ask, I have only had my 40w for about 4 months, but I play with it alot.
Last edited by mondo50m; 03-12-2012 at 08:03 PM. Reason: more to say
Here is a link TherMark Laser MarkingWhen I bought the machine from China, it mentioned that I could engrave on metal if I coated it with a special chemical, but if never mentioned the chemical, what do I need to purchase and what metals work the best?
CNC is only limited by our imagination.
Thanks for the links. Yeah I use Moshi too and couldn't get it to cut through the 1/8". I'll try your settings. I haven't messed with the power and speed settings much, I'm still learning the software. Did you have to make multiple passes at those settings or did it cut right through?
Mine cuts right through in one pass. You may have to mess with your settings a little bit. Make sure that the focus is correct also. I made my table moveable (manually) so I could change the focus spot with various material thicknesses. Whe I am cutting 1/8" plywood, I have the bottom of the the focus lens holder, 47mm from the material to be worked on. This gives me close to the 50.8mm needed for correct focus. Remember also that
plywood is not uniform throughout. There can be small inconsistencies in the wood that can cause the beam to not cut through. Various degrees of hardness and softness can make a big difference.
40W should be Ok for 3mm plywood cutting. Just pay attention to the focal length and speed.as mondo50m said.
Also, make sure that all of your mirrors and the focus lens are as clean as possible. A little smoke that has accumulated on them can make a big difference in the lasers ability to cut through materials. I forgot to clean my focus lens yesterday before using the laser and I had to go almost all the way to full power to get the laser to cut through the 1/8" plywood. Another note, get good plywood, I use birch plywood. My wife gets it from Michaels. I quess any craft or hobby shop should have it. I believe it is about $3 per sheet (12" X 24"). Not really cheap, but it usually pretty clean.
I have cleaned all of the outer lens, but I have not messed around with the main printing lens (guessing this is the focus lens) for fear of messing up the alignment. What is the best way to take this apart and clean it? I've attached a photo to better explain my question.
Also I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on some of the Moshi output settings.
My current settings in Moshi are
Carving 16 CM
Outline 20 MM
Norm 40 MM
What does Versa, Slope and Partition do, and what settings do you recommend?
Thanks again for your time and patience!
The red line on your picture is pointing to another mirror. This mirror deflects the beam to the focus lens. Just loosen the screw and move the holder to remove the mirror, no fear of knocking out the alignmnet here. The place where you said you unscrewed it and cleaned the fitting is where the focus lens sits. You unscrew the part and the lens should come out with the holder. 16cm carving means that if you are doing text or engraving, the head will be moving at 16cm per second. Outline 20mm means that when doing vector cutting (cutting out a part) the head will be moving at 20mm per second. This is way to fast for 1/8" plywood, it should be 5mm per second. Normal means that the head is going to travel at 40mm per second when the head is moving from one positon to another. Partition has no effect when cutting out a part. It affects the engraving of a piece of material. The higher the partition number, the faster the engraving will be done, but resolution will suffer. Versa means it will output a mirrored image. I have not figured out what slope does yet. To cut 1/8
plywood, the outline setting should be on 5, and the power of the laser shoud be about 10.
Any more questions, just ask.
Last edited by mondo50m; 03-15-2012 at 12:54 PM. Reason: not correct
Have not heard from you in a while as to wether or not you have gotten things organized and working. Everything ok? Did you get it to cut 1/8 plywood?