CO2 laser engravers can put a design on just about any material, but how can the best results be achieved for all of the different materials which can be used? The best speed and power settings to use are dependent upon both the material being cut and the wattage of the machine being used. Some materials, like acrylic, take very little power to engrave, and other materials, like glass, can be very challenging to work with to achieve the desired result. Let’s look at some common techniques for the most popular engraving materials.
Wood is undoubtedly the most laser-friendly material; it’s also great for engraving overall, because of the ability to create different colorations and depths of engraving. With as little as a 300 DPI engraving, it is possible to achieve very fine detail. Use high laser settings when engraving wood for the best results, since it takes a lot of power to engrave deeply into the wood at a high speed.
Extruded acrylic remains clear after cutting without much contrast, which is the opposite of the effects when engraving cast acrylic. Engraving acrylic is typically done on the opposite side of the material, so be sure to mirror your design before engraving. Slower speeds and higher power laser beams are used for high quality extruded acrylic engraving.
Xanita board is an engineered fiberboard manufactured from fibers that are recovered from recycled cardboard boxes. Xanita core is decorated with various surface finishes, including digital print-ready Kraft paper liners, or more rigid skins, including MDF and birch plywood. The core is also wholly repulpable, lightweight, and nontoxic, and, due to its high density, the surface is more consistent than that of similar materials. It’s very much like a corrugated board and is, of course, capable of being laser engraved.
For the best laser engravings, speed and laser beam strength can vary greatly, even with respect to the use of the same material. There are many factors to keep in mind when laser engraving and a little experimentation can be helpful when determining what works best for you.
Of course, the above mentioned are just some of the common materials and clearly not the only ones possible. MCT Digital has the patent-pending tools for cutting any material you desire, with a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your needs. Check out MCT Digital products for top-of-the-line tools and products which can be used when doing laser engraving and cutting.