Laser engravers work by producing a focused, intense beam that burns the material. It’s important to keep in mind that due to the nature of the machine, burning is unavoidable. Wood is one of the most at risk materials when it comes to burning. However, there are tips and insights that can be used to minimize excess burning to a desirable level.
Types of Wood
Some types of wood are better suited for laser cutting than others. Softwoods are considered the best due to the simple grain patterns, enabling it to be cut using a low power setting. Hardwoods require more power and as such are more prone to scorching. Additionally, materials such as plywood and MDF have a high glue content that makes engraving difficult as these materials are likely to melt. However there is plywood specifically made for laser engraving..
Simply having an air assist can reduce the chances of burning. The air assist will blow away any smoke and debris present. Additionally, the air assist prevents the build up of potentially flammable gas from happening. Full Spectrum Laser has air compressor available. The Muse Titan, as well as the Muse Core and the Muse 3D have a custom made Coolbox that functions as both an air assist and a water cooler. For more information on the Coolbox, follow our link here.
Applying a Top Layer
Applying transfer tape will prevent the surface of the wood from getting damaged during the engraving. Similarly, applying a coating, such as wood furniture polish, to the wood before engraving will prevent scorching and it will make it easier to remove the excess residue.
Post Engraving Maintenance
If the finished product is to your liking and you simply want to get rid of the stains then there are many methods for cleaning your wood. Pumice soap and denatured alcohol can be used to remove any burn marks found. Sandpaper can be used to smoothen out any knicks or marks caused by the engraving.
A certain amount of burning is unavoidable when using a Co2 laser to cut or engrave wood. However, there are effective strategies that can be used to reduce the amount of burning that occurs, as well as, methods to get rid of any burnt residue that may stick to your materials. We hope this information will help you with your wood engraving.
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