Woods for Laser Cutting and Engraving

By Greg Weber | Posted: 04/16/2013 3:22PM

 

I produce laser cut wooden gift items. I use all kinds of wood, but mainly I work with alder and balsa wood, because they are perfect for laser cutting and engraving. I wanted to share some of my experience with you here. The laser machine I use is a Trotec Speedy 300.

Which wood types are ideal for laser cutting?
When choosing the wood type you want to use you need to take care of the density and resin content. So far I had the best results with balsa and alder wood because those types show no residue and they get you clean edges.

What is important for laser processing wood?
The key to clean engraving results and accurate edges are the laser parameters, especially laser power and speed. On the websites of the laser machine manufacturers they usually show the recommended settings, but I rather rely on my personal experience. I suggest you test different laser settings for each new material you'd like to work with. You might even end up having different results on two similar laser cutters.

Does the laser cutting burn the wood?
I often read that people are concerned about the wood being burned during laser cutting. This can be prevented by using the correct laser parameters. If you’re not quite sure about that, I suggest asking your laser machine manufacturer for help.

Where do I find ideas for gift items made from wood?
Normally I produce my own ideas but I also like to search the internet for free templates. As I am using a Trotec laser machine, I like to work with their templates, because they include the laser parameters for each project they show on their website. Here you can find some of their templates: http://www.troteclaser.com/en-US-US/Laser-Samples/Wood/Pages/Wood-Samples.aspx

I recently cut and assembled a wooden tea light holder as a gift for a few friends.

 

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