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Question #: 6794

Question: what is the thickest plywood you can cut with the lazer

Current Solution

Our blackTooth laser cutter and engraver, will cut up too 1/4" wood, and acrylic. This will be the norm with our machine.
Trying to cut a thicker material is possible but will need certain adjustments, ex. lowering the laser nozzle/focal point as the cut is made, lower and lower till the complete cut is made. We however do not recommend doing this with our machine!

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Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • Hi im interested in your new 4 x 8' laser , what is the thickest mdf sheet it can cut through ?

    We have not specifically tested for this data point, but a general rule of thumb is that an 80W CO2 laser can cut wood up to about 1/2 inch. Actual results depend on a number of variables -- power level used, amount of air assist, focal length of lens, number of passes, cutting speed -- and each of those has its own tradeoffs. We are planning to do some of these tests in the near future and post the results, so stay tuned for more in depth information.

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    Hi im interested in your new 4 x 8' laser , what is the thickest mdf sheet it can cut through ?

  • What is the max thickness of material that the 80W laser can cut in plywood?

    An 80 watt laser can cut plywood up to 1/2 inch thick. Make sure to use a high pressure source of air to knock out all of the charring during the cutting process so the laser can work efficiently.

    Additional Information:
    I have a Chinese 80W laser. Just finished a cut test with 1/2" plywood. It cut through at 95% power 7-4mm/s with significant charring after two passes with no refocusing done between passes.

    Additional Information:
    That's great information. What is your PSI of the air assist on your laser? What focal lens distance do you have? And where did you place the focus of the lens (at the surface, or within the material)?

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    What is the max thickness of material that the 80W laser can cut in plywood?

  • For cutting with the BlackTooth, what is the best type of clear plastic/acrylic to use, and can you recommend a source?

    The blackTooth will cut acrylic very easily. The type of acrylic (cast or extruded) is not important since the acrylic itself has 100% absorption with CO2 lasers. Any plastic retailer, even the home improvements stores will have sheets of acrylic.

    Avoid using plastics that will off-gas toxic and corrosive fumes. One example is PVC which is Polyvinyl Chloride. The burning of that material will exhaust chloride into the air and combine with the hydrogen in the air causing a chemical reaction yielding hydrochloric acid which is corrosive and highly toxic to humans.

    Always read the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for any material that you intend to burn with the CO2 laser.

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    For cutting with the BlackTooth, what is the best type of clear plastic/acrylic to use, and can you recommend a source?

  • 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.

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    WHAT SOFTWARE CAN BE USED WITH THE BLACKTOOTH LASER CUTTER?

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

    I would say mechanically, between the official build instructions, Warren's awesome blog (http://blacktoothlaser.blogspot.com/) and the tips in the forum, the blackTooth is a really simple build. The challenges come with electronics and software. There's a number of different ways to drive the laser and motors. A decent understanding of electronics and computers is a must.

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    WHAT SOFTWARE CAN BE USED WITH THE BLACKTOOTH LASER CUTTER?

  • 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! **

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    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 ?!

  • Where is the best place to see projects made with BuildYourCNC CNCs? I would like to get an idea of carving capabilities and cutting Baltic Birch plywood. Thanks.

    You can always come to our offices in Katy TX. If that is not an option, we can do cut in our shop and record video for you. Specify what you would like to cut and we can consider doing this for you.

    Thanks. I've reviewed the gallery and think my question comes down to this- Can I do hardwood carving like Mike M.'s guitar display cases and cut 3/4 inch baltic birch plywood with the same machine?

    Absolutely, the cutting and machining is more a function of how the machining operations are created and specified. Baltic birch is not a tough material and you will be able to cut very aggressively with any of our machine kits.

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    Where is the best place to see projects made with BuildYourCNC CNCs? I would like to get an idea of carving capabilities and cutting Baltic Birch plywood. Thanks.

  • 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.

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

  • when cutting patterns with my cnc router there is significant chatter in the cut-I've replaced the router-what else should I try?

    Do you use the same bit?? If so, check if it is not dull or worn. Maybe it is time for a new bit. Additionally, I would check if the z axis mounts are tightened correctly and the router has no wiggle room. If that doesn't help, check all of the play that may be in the structure and where the bearings run along the rails and tighten all loose connections that may be present.

    Additional Information:
    So confused....is backlash and chatter the same thing or are they completely unrelated?

    Additional Information:
    Chatter and backlash are different. Backlash is a condition where there is play in the mechanical parts (i.e. a nut not tight against the treads, or two gears not meshing together tightly). Chatter is a phenomenon caused by many possible conditions including vibration, resonance, springiness and flexibility in the system and certain types of end kill and machine movement scenarios.

    Additional Information:
    Meant to say end “mill” at the end there.

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    when cutting patterns with my cnc router there is significant chatter in the cut-I've replaced the router-what else should I try?

  • Can you explain exactly what is included in the green bull 4x package?

    There are two main choices with the greenBull 4x product: the kits of parts and the assembled.

    The assembled version comes complete with the gantry assembled including all of the wiring and electronics already connected, the spindle hoses and all of the cables and hoses running through cable carriers. You will need to construct the table of the machine. If you need the table to be included, consider the new greenBull version 2: https://buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-greenbullv2-milling-laser

    The kit comes with all of the items of the assembled version but does not come with the wires and cabling.

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    Can you explain exactly what is included in the green bull 4x package?

  • What tolerance can I expect from your largest cnc machine and the laser cutter? Also, what depth can I get on the z axis?

    The largest CNC machine we make at this time (12/04/2015) is the GreenBull 6'x12' model. This model has 2 options for Z-axis travel.

    The short-z option has a total Z travel of 5.75 inches. From that you would subtract the length of the end mill used and the thickness of the spoil board to determine the maximum material thickness. (Example: If the end mill extends 1.25" from the collet and the spoil board is .75", then the material could be up to 5.75 - 1.25 - 0.75 = 3.75 inches in thickness). This is good for most sheet-type materials.

    The long-z option, used mainly for large 3D carvings, requires a custom frame and allows for up to 36" of travel.

    The tolerance of our machines, like any machine, depends on several variables. The major variables include the manufacturing tolerance, the type of machine control used, the precision of assembly, the thoroughness of maintenance, and the initial and ongoing calibration of the machine. Because we sell kits only most of these variables are outside our control. Therefore, we are hesitant to guarantee a certain level of tolerance for an end user. However, in our experience, tolerances of .001" are readily achievable with our machines.

    Click the link to respond:
    What tolerance can I expect from your largest cnc machine and the laser cutter? Also, what depth can I get on the z axis?

  • wHAT IS THE SMALLEST LENGTH SHAFT I CAN USE FOR YOUR #25 DRIVE SPROCET?

    The hub length of the drive sprocket and the other mechanical devise that is used to connect on the shaft will determine the length of the shaft needed for use with the drive sprocket.

    The hub lengths for our drive sprockets are 1/2". So if you are connecting the drive sprocket to a motor, your motor shaft will need to be at least 1/2" in length.

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    wHAT IS THE SMALLEST LENGTH SHAFT I CAN USE FOR YOUR #25 DRIVE SPROCET?

  • Can you shortcut the usb controller that comes with the blacktooth laser to hardware reset it?

    The USB controller does not have a reset button installed on it.

    You have some alternate options however:
    - You can remove the USB connector and re-insert it.
    - Set the USB to use external 5v by removing the jumper near the USB connector, use a 5v wall adapter and install a switch along the 5v DC power line to turn it off then on. You can use a momentary push button switch to do this.

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    Can you shortcut the usb controller that comes with the blacktooth laser to hardware reset it?

  • Can you tell me what gauge wire is needed for limits switches and the spindle?

    The hookup wires you will need is 22 to 24 AWG stranded and shielded for the wiring of the limit switches and E_Stop. Our kit customers select various places for these switches, so we don't supply the wiring. If you don't use shielded cable, you will need to change the debounce setting in Mach3 (if that is the control program you are using).

    We typically use 14 AWG stranded wire for the VFD to Spindle (U, V, W) connections.

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    Can you tell me what gauge wire is needed for limits switches and the spindle?

  • Can you supply a "KIT" to convert my 4060Z CNC to a Laser Cutter? What is the difference capabilities between the 40Watt and 80Watt?

    We can supply all of the laser components, but you will need to determine how to mount the components.

    Additional Information:
    Alternatively, you can purchase our greenBull machine that has the laser/spindle combo head. You can see the laser/spindle head here: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-laser-spindle-combo-head

    Click the link to respond:
    Can you supply a "KIT" to convert my 4060Z CNC to a Laser Cutter? What is the difference capabilities between the 40Watt and 80Watt?

  • Can you supply a "KIT" to convert my 4060Z CNC to a Laser Cutter? What is the difference capabilities between the 40Watt and 80Watt?

    We can supply all of the laser components, but you will need to determine how to mount the components.

    Additional Information:
    Alternatively, you can purchase our greenBull machine that has the laser/spindle combo head. You can see the laser/spindle head here: https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-laser-spindle-combo-head

    Click the link to respond:
    Can you supply a "KIT" to convert my 4060Z CNC to a Laser Cutter? What is the difference capabilities between the 40Watt and 80Watt?

  • 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.

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

  • can I control the speed of a 2.2 spindle through your 5 axis breakout board with relay?

    Yes, you can control the speed of the 2.2 kW spindle, and the other spindles we sell, through Mach3 software. It requires making some changes to the settings in Mach3 and in your inverter. It also requires an additional part, which is called a USB to Serial Converter, found on our site here:

    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/Interfaces-newbiehack-Interfaces-TTL232R-USB-UART-Serial

    I have some additional instructions, that I will send upon request, by email. I will also be adding a complete tutorial and video, to the website, on how to do this soon.

    Additional Information:
    20

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    can I control the speed of a 2.2 spindle through your 5 axis breakout board with relay?

  • What are the acceptable materials that I can cut?

    The machines on this site can cut a wide variety of materials. If there is an end mill (cutting bit) that is available on the market, the machine can cut it. The thickness is only limited by the end mill length. This is possible with these CNC machines and other machines on the market because the machines can be controlled in such a way that the material can be cut using depth per pass, feed rate, and spindle RPM.

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    What are the acceptable materials that I can cut?