Looking for information on lasers

I am thinking about getting a laser and am very new to lasers. I am hopping to get something that can burn images and also cut through plywood upto maybe 1/4 inch. What should I be looking for? is the 2.8w that is referenced strong enough for that?

I just installed a 4w. Have not been able to cut through 1/4". Probable can get through 1/8". Maybe a 10w or larger.

for cutting plywood you are better off with a co2 laser. I have a 3.5w led Chinese laser and it engraves wood well, but it’s not going to cut it without a bunch of slow passes and probably air assist. Just my 2 cents.

I have successfully cut some common 4.7mm luan plywood from Lowes with a Banggood 3.5 watt laser and 5 passes at 80-100 mm/min with air-assist but I think that was the odd sheet. Not all plywoods cut equally well, even of the same thickness… I think it depends on the glue used in its manufacture. 1/8" craft ply is probably pretty consistently cut with 4-5 passes, with or without air-assist.

Craft sticks I cut with a single pass at 80-100 mm/min… no air-assist

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A couple of NEMA17 motor mounts in 4.7mm luan (again, I think this was the odd sheet)… air-assist helps with smoke-staining and number of passes

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Same ply… air-assist nozzle and laser shroud in background…

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1/4" is probably asking too much of a 3.5 watt laser… CO2 is definitely the better choice there.

– David





Followup showing my most successful cut with 3.5 watt laser and the air-assist setup I used. This was 5 passes, full-power, 100 mm/min, constant focus on top of material… it is crucial to get absolute best focus for cleanest, quickest cuts

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When you say “constant focus on top of the material”, do you lower the laser on every pass? Or do you keep the laser at a constant height for the entire cut?