Laser cutting for wood is a technology that allows relatively fast complex cuts with great precision, something that is not available for most tools that any carpentry shop has. Even if we are talking about a craftsman capable of doing a very meticulous job, if you had to duplicate your work, there would always be small differences, in addition, you would have to invest a lot more time.

Technically speaking, laser wood cutting is a sublimation process, that is, the wood changes state, from solid to gaseous without passing through liquid.

What is laser wood cutting for?

If you were to make straight cuts on a wooden board, the laser is not the tool you would choose, as it is comparatively slower and more expensive than a jigsaw, a manual or industrial circular saw. However, if it is necessary to carry out work with curves and angles, the balance falls to the side of the laser, since the work with saws and other tools multiplies.

Therefore, laser cutting is ideal for making highly personalized products (jewelry, fashion accessories, ornaments, signs), for duplicating complex jobs, for making prototypes …

laser wood cutting

laser wood cutting

Advantages of laser cutting

  • High cutting precision.
  • Ability to replicate small parts without errors.
  • The number of discarded parts is reduced.
  • There is no need to sharpen or replace blades, saws and other types of cutting tools.
  • Drawings or patterns created with graphic design software such as CorelDraw or AutoCad can be used.
  • No waste such as sawdust or shavings is generated.
  • Clean cuts without burrs. Reduces parts overhaul and / or reprocessing time.

Disadvantages

To cut wood, the laser “burns” it, and this can darken the wood in the areas where the laser has passed. This is an easy problem to solve and has been minimized over time. On the other hand, when we want different shades, it becomes an advantage.

In addition, the drier and resin-free the material or wood is, the cleaner and clearer the cut will be.

But really, the big disadvantage today is the velocity offered by laser wood cutting machines. It is a slow process, which may also require a person to continually replace the parts being worked on.

Which woods are suitable?

Obviously, this technique does not offer the same results in all woods. They must be relatively soft and / or light, and as uniform as possible (avoid knots and other defects in the wood, accumulations of resins …). Some of the most used species are:

  • Natural woods: balsa, cherry, alder, paulownia, ash, fir, poplar …
  • Bamboo (although it is not really wood).
  • Panels: mainly MDF, although also plywood made from soft wood species, such as those mentioned above.

The softer the wood, the faster and easier the job will be.

What about laser engraving on wood?

With the same machinery and laser adjustment, engravings can be made instead of cuts. There is also the possibility to play with the resulting hue.

It is a very common use of this type of machinery.

To do laser engraving on wood, what you do is play with the lenses, in this case, smudge and extend the laser beam.

Besides wood, can anything be cut with this technology?

In addition to laser cutting on wood, it can be done on plastics, fabrics, cardboard, veneer, plywood, melamine, mdf, leather and many other non-metallic materials.

Are all laser wood cutting machines the same?

Of course not. It is a sector that, although it does not represent cutting edge technology, is in full evolution. There are different ways to cool the laser, some based on water and others based on air, which affects the cooling time of the machinery and, therefore, the production capacity or the production time. There are also systems for firing the laser, for example those made of ceramic components allow a higher speed of the laser compared to those made of glass tubes.

We can also find laser cutting machines on wood that includes tools for milling. This combination increases the possibilities and efficiency of the machine.

Also depending on the machinery, power, etc. We can cut more or less dense materials with greater or lesser depth.

What types of jobs or items can be done with a wooden laser?

A multitude of products. Models, jewelry, decoration items, kitchen utensils, puzzles, furniture, cards (business, invitations), posters, lamps and screens …