Laser cutting

Is this suitable for cutting wood and thin metal with a laser. I’d like to build models for model railroads so engraving and cutting are what I’m looking for. How does a laser connect, if it is capable to attach a laser (I think this is the unit to build for that). Thanks

Metal cutting laser are probably a lot stronger than you think.

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Like, measured in kW levels of stronger.

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150W co2 will cut 2mm steel if focused properly.

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One day when I grow up I wanna add a C02 laser to my MPCNC. Heck maybe even to a low rider but that would be a lot harder to enclose! Good thing I have a long time before I grow up!

Huh, that’s…quite a bit less power for 14GA than I was expecting.


Although, the lasers I’m used to absolutely flew, I mean north of 2,000mm/s levels of flying.

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Wow, sarcasm instead of straight answers.

Straight answer, you’re not going to cut metal with a laser you can mount to a mpcnc.

Moves along pretty good. You’re right though, the big guys fly through thicker stuff like butter!

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So I can mount one for birch ply up to 1/4" and carbon fiber cloth

That’s still not bad. I actually have not had a chance to see a tube laser of any sort in person. Just a really overbuilt sheet laser, a couple old ones that still pushed around 1.5kW, and a couple neat turrets.

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I’m new to this wh9le laser side of the MPCNC but @Aaryn on here just fast tracked his way through the learning curve with a higher power laser setup than mine. Likely still not strong enough for your needs but it’s a start towards an answer. I THINK I’ve read about a 40 CO2 laser on a MPCNC but believe I also understood a whole other level of complexity involving mirrors and stuff.

I went the laser route thinking I could get quiet cuts but by the time I learned enough to know better (that I needed s much stronger laser than I had queued up) I was already all in on the 2.8w setup. I can cut paper in one pass, card in three but to get through 1/8 hobby ply I believe would take many many passes and an air assist (and a perfectly focused beam). I’ll still try of course :slight_smile:

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I think I’ll stay with a CNC router approach. The metal I want to cut is about the thickness of an eraser shield. Very thin. A router blad could probably cut it just as easily and no blindness plus, to create buildings with brick or board siding carved, the router would make quick work of it on 1/4" Birch ply or plastic for the matter.


The carbon fiber was for making funny car/ dragster - 1/24 scale slot car chassis. I can do it by hand and trim off excess materials if needed.


Sarcasm not required. A straight answer is. That being said, thanks for following up. I’m wondering if it’s possible to use a router blade to cut really thin steel. Something the thickness of an eraser shield.


Yes, the MPCNC with a router could cut that very well. Much better than with a laser. My 15 watt laser @Kelly D mentioned couldn’t get through that. I couldn’t even get it to cut through 4mm wood. My 5.6 watt laser claims to be able to cut 5mm wood so I think it has better optics that can focus better.

For your cuts on that metal I suggest you use a single flute bit on your router. It would be worth testing manually first before you build a machine.

I suggest you buy the single flute bit and the router and test cutting the metal. If it works then build the MPCNC.

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Thanks. That sound like a great idea.

It seems the router is a better way to go than laser. Especially with the fumes. I visited a place today that cuts using an Epilog laser cutter (actually several cutters) and he told me the biggest issue he has, and it damages his machines, is using Birch or any kind of plywood. That’s because of the splinters of metal in between the plywood. They cause reflections and create cutting issues. He does glassware and plaques for the military, engraves stuff too. He liked the idea of a CNC machine. Now to start buying my parts… Thanks

Say what?! THAT’S alarming…for real?

Seeing your other post and this one brings in the complete picture. The hardest part of thin material is holding it. An upcut bit will pull/flex it off the table so typically a Down cutting bit is used. As for actually holding it, glue or a serious vacuum table would be best I suppose. Another way to do it would be to sandwich it between two thin pieces of wood. Fine or small details can be hard to get.


Let us know how it progresses.


I hope you don’t think I was being sarcastic. I read through all of the thread, I don’t think anyone was being sarcastic, just trying to add a little humor to the posts maybe, but I am sure no one meant any disrespect. We all answer dozens and dozens of questions a day, everyone in a while we all get a little loopy or a joke misses its target.


Hi Ryan, I guess it came across surprising me mostly because any question I’ve asked has always been answered professionally. I was literally stunned.

I’ve been frustrated lately because I really need a Lowrider to do my woodworking and my job keeps laying us off for a couple of weeks here and there. That, in turn, prevents me from saving for the machine because I’m always playing catchup.

It’s terrible to be a teacher and not be able to purchase something capable of easing stress (my blood pressure was 181 over 108 last week) and tension not to mention it would help me create items for a summer program to keep at-risk kids out of trouble. I planned to make a lot of old scrap wood into some arts and crafts items the kids could build and paint, light up with LED’s and more. Anyways, I understand. We all get a little loopy.

Thanks for following up. Mike

Yes. It’s part of the milling process. The particles are really small. He showed me a piece he keeps around for people like me. Apparently, as the blades shave away the wood, tiny fragments embed in the material. They’re minute and for anything else don’t make a difference, but lasers are seriously affected by them. It makes sense. And damaging a $5,000 to $25,000 laser cutter isn’t on anyone’s list of things to do today. Yeah, so we learned something new today.