Laser cutting & engraving parameter setting guides
Please note. These are basic guidelines only, giving you a better understanding of the parameters to use or start with. There are lots of factors that can effect guide figures and parameters such as material types (by manufacturer), environmental and age of the tube.
You can typically cut up to 5 mm acrylic, 6 mm soft woods using a 40w laser. A basic rule with cutting acrylic – the slower the cut, the nicer the edge, so if you reduce the speed enough you can achieve a smooth polished edge.
Other Engravable Materials (40W)
You can typically cut up to 8mm acrylic, up to 8mm soft woods using a 60w laser. Use the speeds and powers calculator below to give you indicative figures to test on your material making sure you follow safety guidelines .
Other Engravable Materials (60W)
You can typically cut up to 10mm acrylic, up to 9 mm soft woods using a 80w laser. Use the speeds and powers calculator below to give you indicative figures to test on your material making sure you follow safety guidelines .
Other Engravable Materials (80W)
You can typically cut up to 15 mm acrylic, up to 12 mm soft woods using a 120w laser. Use the speeds and powers calculator below to give you indicative figures to test on your material making sure you follow safety guidelines .
Other Engravable Materials (120W)
You can typically cut up to 20 mm acrylic, up to 15 mm soft woods using a 150w laser. Use the speeds and powers calculator below to give you indicative figures to test on your material making sure you follow safety guidelines .
Other Engravable Materials (150W)
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Laser cutting & engraving general tips
When cutting acrylic on a CO2 laser you will always achieve better results when using cast acrylic as opposed to extruded
acrylic. We always recommend you purchase cast acrylic when laser cutting as you will find using cast acrylic will get you
better results than extruded acrylic.
Always remember to check the air regulator is fully open when cutting wood; the more air blowing onto the wood’s surface, the cleaner the finish and less burning.
When engraving onto laminate always advise turning off the air compressor or restricting the air regulator – this will give you a
much cleaner and clear finish.
However, please remember to reconnect the air compressor again before cutting the laminate to prevent the material
Paper & Card
You can cut material as fine as paper and card without any burning or singeing around the edges as long as you cut at a high
speed. You may find it is best to turn off the air compressor as it can sometimes blow and move the paper whilst cutting.
There are many variations of fabrics and textiles which can be cut on a CO2 laser, such as leather, denim, silk, netting and
more. It is difficult to determine the exact speed / power setting for each material – it is a game of trial and error. We advise
using a scrap piece of material and cutting a small square or circle until you fully cut through the material with a clean finish.
For tough fabrics like leather, start cutting at a speed of 25mm / sec and 30% power.
For finer fabrics such as silk, cotton, netting etc try 50mm / sec and 15% power.
Other engravable material types
There are a variety of materials which cannot be cut on a CO2 laser, but you can still engrave them.
Please see examples of materials that can be engraved only below:
Granite – Marble – Slate – Glass – Anodised Metal – Ceramic
As these are tough materials, a high amount of power is needed to engrave past the surface and mark the material, please
use the below settings as a rough starting point.
Glassware – If you lay a wet piece of kitchen roll on top of the glass to keep it cool this reduces the flaking and will help to create a smoother, higher quality finish. Turning off the air compressor can also help.
Metals – You can engrave onto some metals that do not have an anodised layer with the assistance of a thermal marking
spray or tape, there are many of these available but Cermark seems to be most popular.
Materials to avoid:
There are a few materials which produce toxic fumes when cut on a laser machine, these include but are not limited to Polycarbonate and PVC. Any material containing chlorine is also toxic.
It is normally apparent if a material is toxic, as when cutting, the material will produce a thick brown / green cloudy smoke
which has a very powerful smell.
If you have any concerns regarding the materials you are cutting or how to extract them safely please consult a filtration and extraction specialist. Alternatively your material supplier should also be able to advise you.