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Question #: 14397

Question: How fast can I cut 1/4" wood with the 40 watt CO2 laser?

Current Solution

CO2 laser will not cut wood material fast at all. This is just the nature of the laser energy. The wood is a very low absorbent of the laser energy and you will need to run probably around 10 ipm to cut through the wood. CNC is much more efficient for cutting and laser as more efficient at marking or slowly cutting if you need the small kerf. You will also need a relatively high output air source to cut efficiently. The air will blow away the char (carbon) on the wood. The black char will absorb most of the laser energy not allowing the wood to be cut well. We use a compressor for the air source, but you can use a commercial hydroponic air pump instead.

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Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • can I purchase the 2' x 4' laser with an 80 watt tube?

    We offer a 4'x8' laser system that uses an 80 watt laser tube.
    Vertical Laser XL 4'x8'

    Our blackTooth 24"x20" laser uses a 40 watt laser tube due to the internal size constraints and that the laser tube is mounted on the gantry for ease of aligning and maintaining better power at the cutting end.
    blackTooth 24"x20" Laser

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    can I purchase the 2' x 4' laser with an 80 watt tube?

  • I know you cant cut it but can you etch stainless steel with the laser?

    No you cannot sketch any kind of metal unless its coated from the molecular level or having it coated individually. However there are some types of coatings (Thermark and Cermark) that you can use to coat the steel so that you will be able to use our laser machine to sketch any metal.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I know you cant cut it but can you etch stainless steel with the laser?

  • how can I exhaust the blacktooth co2 laser cutter

    Exhausting the blackTooth laser cutter is a very important consideration and should be taken seriously, especially if you are cutting materials that give off toxic fumes when the material is burned. You will want a 4 inch hose to connect from the blackTooth to a blower, and another 4 inch hose to connect from the blower to the outside. The blower should be sufficient to provide completely negative pressure within the laser enclosure so there will be no escape of gasses.

    The connections at the machine, at the blower and at the location the hose exhausts outside should be thoroughly checked for leaks. Use a gasket, or silicone. Once complete, try cutting a non-toxic material that will give off an odor (wood, or non-toxic plastic) and try the system and determine if the smell is present.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    how can I exhaust the blacktooth co2 laser cutter

  • How long does it take to build the 40 watt laser kit?

    The blackTooth Laser cutter and Engraver can be built in a weekend. Take a look at the build instructions and try to determine if you feel you have sufficient capability to put together the laser system.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    How long does it take to build the 40 watt laser kit?

  • How do I interface to a laser with the Pokey57

    We have a video that shows the connection and implementation of a CO2 laser on the youtube channel here:

    &t=17s

    That video should show how I'm connecing the Pokeys57CNC to the laser tube power supply TL/TH terminal. I also show how to configure Mach3 to trigger the laser on and off using the M7 and M9 codes.

    Let me know if this helps.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    How do I interface to a laser with the Pokey57

  • What metal sheets can I cut with the 80W laser? What thickness, alumium, steel? What about the 100 or 130W upgrades?

    Cutting metals with a CO2 laser is nearly impossible with just the laser by itself, no matter what the power. The wavelength that a CO2 laser outputs is not best for cutting metals.

    However, if you add oxygen as a cutting assist in the cutting process, metals can be cut, but we do not advise this as it is very dangerous.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    What metal sheets can I cut with the 80W laser? What thickness, alumium, steel? What about the 100 or 130W upgrades?

  • WHAT SOFTWARE CAN BE USED WITH THE BLACKTOOTH LASER CUTTER?

    If you take the standard parallel cable BoB (Break Out Board), then you will need control software (Mach 3 or EMC2) and CAM software to make your G-Code (such as CamBam). Personally I use CamBam and Mach 3, they work beautifully but don't expect to turn them on and know how they work out of the box. Give yourself a few weeks to get familiar with the basics. CamBam is VERY powerful software for it's price. I'm surprised how much I keep learning on what I can do with it...I highly recommend it if you want as much control as possible.

    Mach 3 + CamBam as a bundle costs $310. EMC2 will give you a free replacement for Mach 3 and is exclusively for Linux.

    If you use the USB BoB, it will cost an extra $75 + $75 for the software. This is an all-in-one package so no need for Mach 3 or CamBam.

    For etching rasters (jpeg, bmp, tiff, non-vectors, photos), I highly recommend PicEngrave. It has been a labor of love for the past 9 years and John has done a wonderful job with it. It easily compares in quality compared to software that is in the $200-$300 range. John's software runs $40 and can be found here: http://picengrave.com/ (don't let the modest website fool you, this stuff can do amazing things). DotG and the Mach3 engrave plugin are two other options and instructions can be found on Dustans page in the gallery on buildyourcnc.com website.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    WHAT SOFTWARE CAN BE USED WITH THE BLACKTOOTH LASER CUTTER?

  • I JUST BOUGHT THE 3 AXIS W/HEAVY GANTRY, WILL MACH 4 RUN WELL WITH THIS, AND HOW LARGE CAN GO CUT AREA

    Yes Mach3 is a great program. Our 3 axis is 6'X12'X3'using all BYCNC components (incl. redsprout)

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I JUST BOUGHT THE 3 AXIS W/HEAVY GANTRY, WILL MACH 4 RUN WELL WITH THIS, AND HOW LARGE CAN GO CUT AREA

  • WHAT THICKNESS OF MATERIAL CAN THE BLACKTOOTH LASER CUT?

    A standard 40W CO2 laser will cut up to 1/4" thick of material, be it wood, acrylic, card stock, leather, fabric, foam, cork, etc. (Decent speed and final cut are heavily dependent on a strong air assist upgrade)

    Metals cannot be cut due to the power level and wavelength of the CO2 laser. But it can be marked with special solutions like Cermark or Thermark.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    WHAT THICKNESS OF MATERIAL CAN THE BLACKTOOTH LASER CUT?

  • I have a greenbull 5x with the long Z. Is there a laser kit that I can get for that model?

    Yes, we can provide a laser attachment for the long Z version of the greenBull 4x, 5x and 6x. Please call us to get more information and pricing for the laser attachment.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I have a greenbull 5x with the long Z. Is there a laser kit that I can get for that model?

  • WHAT MATERIALS CAN THE GREENBULL MACHINE CUT? LASER ETCH?

    The Greenbull machine can cut a very wide variety of materials ranging from foam to aluminum. We recommend the use of our 2.2kW spindle to allow the greatest flexibility. Aside from that, the most important thing is to use an appropriate end mill for the material you are cutting and to use appropriate speeds and feed rates.



    BYCNC Response:
    Our 40W laser can cut up to about 1/4" materials ranging from wood and acrylic down through lighter materials such as leather, fabric, foam, etc. Speed and final cut are greatly enhanced by an air assist upgrade. We also offer an 80W laser which has approximately twice the capabilities of the 40W.

    Additional Information:

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    WHAT MATERIALS CAN THE GREENBULL MACHINE CUT? LASER ETCH?

  • Will the 40W CO2 laser cut through clear and color acrylic?

    Yes, from our test with clear and opaque acrylic, the CO2 laser can cut fully through.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Will the 40W CO2 laser cut through clear and color acrylic?

  • I just bought the 3 axis w/heavy gantry, will Mach 4 run well with this, and how large can I go with the cut area

    Yes Mach3 is a great program. Our 3 axis is 6'X12'X3'using all BYCNC components (incl. redsprout)

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I just bought the 3 axis w/heavy gantry, will Mach 4 run well with this, and how large can I go with the cut area

  • HOW CAN YOU ENHANCE THE BLACKTOOTH LASER CUTTER?

    Temperature probe monitor. Very valuable. This keeps you up to date on your coolant temperature levels.

    Voltage meter. This will tell you the exact level of voltage/power you are running telling the laser to run at instead of an arbitrary mark on a drawn wheel around your POT.

    Ammeter sensitive to 1mA. This will be sure your not over driving your tube and reducing it's life significantly.

    Hour meter. This will tell you exactly how long your system has been 'on' giving you a more accurate bead on the length of your tubes life.

    Exhaust fan upgrade. The current fan included is 100CFM. You can buy 120mm fans that push 250CFM and I have included a guide on how to go about doing this here. http://buildyourtools.com/phpBB3/viewto ... 8cdd1802bf

    To push the exhaust fan even further, if you have the room/power, I would highly recommend investing in a 600+ CFM "Dust Collector" system. 250CFM is still not suffice to draw all the smoke that can come off of 3mm or 1/8 MDF cutting job.

    A cutting surface. I bought myself a aluminum 'egg crate' mesh from my local HVAC company. They are used a cover for fluorescent lights and work great for low impact cutting surface. They come in 4'x8' sheets and are easily cut to fit. The other side is if you can find a steel honeycomb cutting bed to fit. These can be quite costly or fairly affordable depending where you are looking. The benefit of a steel honeycomb is you can use high power magnets to hold material down.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    HOW CAN YOU ENHANCE THE BLACKTOOTH LASER CUTTER?

  • I wonder if it is possible to do 3d engraving with the 40w laser kit? different depths is the same piece of wood.

    You can cut at varying depths with the 40w laser cutting and engraving machine. Each layer of engraving with the laser will leave behind a black charred film that will reduce the effectiveness of the engraving for deeper layers; therefore, a very strong air assist will be needed to blow this film off of the surface of the material.

    CNC machines are more successful and efficient at carving and should be considered.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I wonder if it is possible to do 3d engraving with the 40w laser kit? different depths is the same piece of wood.

  • If I build a Laser with the components on this site, can I cut the 0.1mm and 0.2mm board? Is it cut in optimal conditions, or if not what you recommend ?!

    What material is the 0.1mm and 0.2mm board?

    Additional Information:
    Steel sheet


    Additional Information:
    Steel Sheet

    Additional Information:
    Thanks for the response. CO2 lasers unfortunately cannot cut metallic materials. Metals are best cut with other types of lasers, or by using oxygen assist. The oxygen assist method is not encourages as the combination or CO2 laser and oxygen is very volatile.

    Additional Information:
    and I can not do this laser to cut the steel plate, but instead of the CO2 tube I put the oxygen tube, or do not I know ?! Do I have a chance in the products on the site to create a laser for 0.1mm and 0.2mm steel sheets?

    Additional Information:
    I can help with an answer, Thanks!

    Additional Information:
    I can help with an answer, Thanks!

    Additional Information:
    Can you help me with an answer? Thank you! **

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    If I build a Laser with the components on this site, can I cut the 0.1mm and 0.2mm board? Is it cut in optimal conditions, or if not what you recommend ?!

  • HOW LATE IN THE SEASON CAN I VACCINATE MY PATIENTS WITH INFLUENZA VACCINE?

    Peak influenza activity does not generally occur until February. Providers are encouraged to continue vaccinating patients throughout the influenza season, including into the spring months (e.g., through May), as long as they have vaccine in the refrigerator and unvaccinated patients in their office.

    Because influenza occurs in many areas of the world during April through September, vaccine should be given to travelers who missed vaccination in the preceding fall and winter. Another late season use of vaccine is for children younger than age 9 years who were vaccinated for the first time in the current vaccination season but failed to get their second dose. For each of these situations, vaccine can be given through the month of June since injectable influenza vaccine customarily has a June 30 expiration date.

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    HOW LATE IN THE SEASON CAN I VACCINATE MY PATIENTS WITH INFLUENZA VACCINE?

  • What is the bill of materials included in the build your own laser 2' x 4' 40 watt

    The general bill of materials for the blackTooth 24"x20" laser system is as follows:

    - The structural components (MDO and Plastic parts)
    - The hardware to assemble all of the structural and mechanical parts
    - Mechanical parts like v-groove bearings, bearings for shafts, shafts, pulleys, belts, etc.
    - All of the motion electronics like motors, drivers, and laser controller
    - Wire to connect all of the electronics
    - All of the laser components including the laser tube, mirrors, mirror mounts, nozzle and lens
    - Pneumatic components including the air pump and tubing
    - Hydraulic components to cool the laser tube including a water pump and tubing

    blackTooth 24"x20" Laser

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    What is the bill of materials included in the build your own laser 2' x 4' 40 watt

  • HOW CAN COOL THE LASER TUBE?

    Cooling is not as tricky as you might think. There is 3 ways to approach this, only 2 really matter for a low scale 40w setup. First one is the cheapest and easiest. The higher the temp of water the worse your performance will be, from what I understand anything in the 30C range is about the most tolerable it gets. Lower is better. But not frozen...from what I've been told a very experienced cutter, he found 8C was the highest power he achieved.

    1. Use a 5 Gallon resovoir system which gives you a fairly large space of water to heat up before you need to tend to it. Add about a cup of anti-freeze to the mix of DISTILLED water. You don't want ANY minerals in the water that might build up in your system. The anti-freeze works to keep algae and other ickies from growing in your water.

    2. Use a smaller resovoir system (or even closed loop) and install 1 or more radiators found in CPU cooling systems with 120mm fans attached. This will continously cool your water system to ambient room temperatures, but with a tiny resovoir it will be difficult to add things like ice-packs to drop the temps if the ambient is quite hot.

    3. Using an industrial coolant system. Overkill and unless your cutting A LOT, this is a very expensive option to take. You can also explore the idea of Peltier cooling but it is extremely expensive electricity/BTU wise compared to an industrial cooler.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    HOW CAN COOL THE LASER TUBE?

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