Three Tips for Using a Laser Cutter for Wood Projects

Woodworking is one of the most common reasons people buy laser cutters. The tool is much safer and easier to operate than many traditional woodworking tools, and it completes projects faster and to a higher level of preciseness than most woodworkers are capable of on their own. Inexperienced users of laser cutters may have questions about the type of wood they should buy and how to use the new equipment. Here are three simple starter tips.

Choose Wood Carefully

Hardwoods need more power and time to engrave than softwood but have more contrast. Many people prefer the look of engraved projects on a hardwood like oak because the engraving stands out more prominently. Be careful about using plywood and veneer because they use glue to bond the layers of wood. The glue can cause a problem for some lasers and produce an uneven result. Veneer is okay to use if the engraving does not go through the solid surface layer of veneer.

Get Neater Edges

With a laser cutter wood can have incredibly delicate details. It is useful for large projects or even small items like scrapbook embellishments. Always make certain the wood used for these projects has time to dry before cutting. Damp wood or soft resin can cause the edges of the cut to be less clean and destroy the most intricate details of the design.

Address Burn Marks

Lasers burn through the wood to create designs or cut out shapes, so it is only natural that some burn marks are on the material after cutting. Reduce the extent of the scorch marks by covering the wood with a low-tack masking tape. Wipe any burn marks with denatured alcohol and a white cloth after the cut is complete.

Buy cheap wood or use scrap pieces for practice to learn how to run the machine. After a few attempts, it will become much easier to predict the final look of the project and learn how to carry out a specific design. Over time, it becomes much easier to determine the type of wood that works best for every project and to solve any small complications like scorch marks or engraving depth that many new users experience.