Laser Cutter Material Settings

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Unfortunately you can't just calculate the perfect settings based on the power ("Watts") of a laser cutter because the actually delivered energy is always based on a combination of power and speed, which is different for each brand or model of laser cutter. To make things more complicated, 100 % power in a cutting profile is not the same as 100 % power in an engraving profile...

As there is always some trial and error involved, please share your experience with the others! You can often use experience from other machines as a rough starting point.

In general, cutting is usually done at 100 % power and the highest speed that will still result in a reliable cut. If 100 % speed still gets you through (e.g. paper or cardboard), you should reduce the power until you find the sweet spot. Besides the power setting, you can influence the invested energy by altering the pulse frequency - you may want to go lower on flammable materials like wood, where edges might otherwise become black, and higher on plastics like acrylic glass where you are aiming for a "flame-polished" edge. page 46

The width of the kerf (Schnittfuge) also depends on the laser settings and the material you're using and could be important for certain designs - here's how to determine this parameter!

Once we have a permanent machine, we should also work on a github repository with VisiCut settings again.

Epilog Zing (30 W)

Here's what we've tried so far - please add your own experiences!

Material Thickness Operation Power Speed Resolution (dpi) Frequency Focus Comments
Poplar Plywood 4 mm cut 80 100 500 center (-2 mm)
Poplar Plywood 4 mm - any 3D engrave 100 75 250 surface simple black & white design - works for QR Codes!
Poplar Plywood 4 mm engrave 100 100 250 surface simple black & white design - nice brown color as result
Poplar Plywood 9 mm cut 100 27 250 5000 3mm
Beech Plywood 4 mm cut 100 60 500 center (-2 mm)
Beech Plywood 4 mm - any mark 10 100 500 surface
Beech Plywood 4 mm - any engrave 3D 100 100 500 surface
MDF 3 mm cut 100 60 200 2500 center (-1.5 mm)
Corrugated Fiberboard 2 mm cut 25 100 surface
Silver anodised aluminium engrave 50 100 500 surface black & white design
XPS (extruded polystyrene) 20 mm cut 45 100 center (-10 mm) very wide kerf (~ 2 mm)!
Acrylic Glass 3 mm cut 100 30 500 5000 (default) center (-1.5 mm)
Acrylic Glass 3 mm - any mark 20 100 500 5000 (default) surface about 0.5 mm deep
masking tape on metal 0.1 mm engrave (let disappear) 100 100 500 surface experiment to prepare an abrasive blasting mask - not successful, was blasted away...should work well for painting though
thin cardbord (frozen pizza box) 0.55 mm cut 20 100 500 2500 (default) surface
thin cardbord (frozen pizza box) 0.55 mm mark 8 100 500 2500 (default) surface
cellulose acetate (overhead slides) <1 mm cut 6-7 100 500 5000 (default) surface Power 7 cuts completely, Power 6 makes cutout adhere to template, but is easy to remove manually. Keep the printer clean ;)
blockboard (surface = birch veneer?) 18 mm - any engrave 3D 20 100 500 2500 (default) surface visible, but still letting the grain show through - more powerful settings (e.g. 100/100) go noticeably deeper but only a bit darker
vulcanized fiber 0.8 mm cut 100 100 200 5000 (default) center (-0.4 mm) lower power not tested yet
vulcanized fiber 1.5 mm cut 100 80 200 5000 (default) center (-0.75 mm) higher speed not tested yet