Best types of wood for laser cutting?

  • After cutting through tons of paper and cardboard, I decided to try my hand with wood. Well, perhaps not wood but MDF.

    The MDF I decided to cut was just 4mm in thickness but required 12 passes at 500/100% since I was cutting some pieces with delicate edges. The whole project took over 2 hours of cutting but the end product was pretty nice.

    Does anyone have any experience cutting wood with their A3 Pro? I'm wondering which type of wood is best for cutting. Best as in easiest to cut.

    Well, I suppose balsa would be the easiest. So what would be the second best?

  • Developer of T2Laser Software

    @maguro MDF is extremely difficult to cut due to the resins and various species of wood pulp used. Birch ply with a water based epoxy is excellent, it's often sold as Laser Birch Ply. I've also used Alder which is also great but costs a little more for me.

  • GUYS.....
    Please be careful laser cutting MDF.
    The gasses & smoke that come off this are SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS with long term health implications...

  • Thanks for the info. My local lumber shop has 1/8" birch so I'll give that a try.

    As for fumes, I built myself an enclosure using an Ikea hack and its ventilated using a 4" inline fan. I 'm in the process of making a Youtube video on that but I've got so many things on go. Someday...

  • Not sure if this is of help as I recently upgraded my A3 pro with a 10w Endurance laser, but I have experimented with cutting about 15 species of wood, plus laser grade veneered mdf, laser grade plywood - birch, poplar & veneered. I have found solid wood is much easier to cut that mdf or plywood.

    The easiest of woods to cut (in no particular order) were beech, walnut, pine, poplar. I haven't tried cutting balsa as it is too light a wood for the type of work I do, but assume it would also be pretty easy.

    Oak is also cuttable but the grain can be an issue, so not always consistent.

    Mahogany, utile, sapele - very difficult to cut

    If you're in the UK and looking for wood suppliers and have a reasonable selection of woods ranging from 0.8mm - 6mm in thickness

    Hope that's of some help!

  • Thanks for the great info! I'll make note of your findings.

    Really jealous of your 10w Endurance laser. That must be awesome to work with.

  • 10 watts....
    Have a look at this... 15 Watt machine on ebay & will push 8 watts output all day.
    Looks cool & with Air Assist too, no loose wires dangling about & proper electrical enclosures.

  • That looks great as well.
    But with that being said, the great thing about the Eleskmaker A3 Pro is the value you get from it.
    The high powered variants are awesome but they would cost well over $1,000 and you'd still need to build an enclosure and ventilation system. With 40W lasers going for half that price, the cost:performance ratio starts to get out of hand. Well, at least for hobby users like me. :)

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  • said in Best types of wood for laser cutting?:

    which type of wood is best for cutting

    Maple. Both soft and hard maple make for excellent cutting surfaces. ...
    Beech. Measuring 1,300 lbf on the hardness scale, this food-safe, closed-grained hardwood is non-damaging to knives and offers stellar scratch and impact resistance outdone only by hard maple All of these woods you can buy here

  • Developer of T2Laser Software

    @Earld1945 Beech and Maple are both good suggestions, Alder and my favourite Birch also laser well.

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