Old 10-28-2013, 12:31 PM #1
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Default Laser for burning and etching?

Is there a diode laser with suitable power and wavelength for burning/etching wood, leather, and maybe some plastics? I'm converting an old cricut cutting machine to full cnc.

This is a very simplistic question and it must have come up before but usually I see something like "What diode laser is best for cutting 3mm acrylic?".

I don't want to cut anything much thicker than paper and I have seen some blu-ray laser CNC machines that seem to do all I need, but those lasers are like 300mw and I wouldn't mind going a bit hotter than that.

I understand I'm at the shallow end of the learning curve, but I'm a quick study and I will learn best by doing, yet I fear investing in a laser to get started then finding out that everything is great except the wavelength I chose is only good for cutting marshmallows.

Would a 3w 808nm IR laser get me where I want to go?


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Old 10-28-2013, 01:00 PM #2
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Default Re: Laser for burning and etching?

Yeah your best bet for high power and low cost for a diode laser would be something in the IR spectrum. You can probably get a 5 Watt IR diode if you want to burn/etch wood.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:02 PM #3
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Default Re: Laser for burning and etching?

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Originally Posted by cobright View Post
Is there a diode laser with suitable power and wavelength for burning/etching wood, leather, and maybe some plastics? I'm converting an old cricut cutting machine to full cnc.

This is a very simplistic question and it must have come up before but usually I see something like "What diode laser is best for cutting 3mm acrylic?".

I don't want to cut anything much thicker than paper and I have seen some blu-ray laser CNC machines that seem to do all I need, but those lasers are like 300mw and I wouldn't mind going a bit hotter than that.

I understand I'm at the shallow end of the learning curve, but I'm a quick study and I will learn best by doing, yet I fear investing in a laser to get started then finding out that everything is great except the wavelength I chose is only good for cutting marshmallows.

Would a 3w 808nm IR laser get me where I want to go?
get your self a CO2 laser... that should to the trick.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:13 PM #4
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Default Re: Laser for burning and etching?

He said he wanted a diode laser. Also he seems to be new to the world of lasers so a Co2 might be out of his skill range.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:29 PM #5
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Default Re: Laser for burning and etching?

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Originally Posted by SKeeZ View Post
get your self a CO2 laser... that should to the trick.
I do appreciate the help, but everyone goes right to the 'CO2 Laser'. I get it, diodes lack cutting power. But if I need something cut I can use a big laser or mill at the shop or the local hackerspace. I need something that can be packed up and moved in the trunk of an suv without undo fear of breakage.

One of the things I have been playing with is using low power lasers to bond powdercoat to metal to act as an acid etch resist or airbrush stencil.
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:06 AM #6
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Default Re: Laser for burning and etching?

I wasn't discussing any particular type of laser, just stating basic physics involved with lasers and my experience with the results from the different kinds I've seen.
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:09 AM #7
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Default Re: Laser for burning and etching?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cobright View Post
I do appreciate the help, but everyone goes right to the 'CO2 Laser'. I get it, diodes lack cutting power. But if I need something cut I can use a big laser or mill at the shop or the local hackerspace. I need something that can be packed up and moved in the trunk of an suv without undo fear of breakage.

One of the things I have been playing with is using low power lasers to bond powdercoat to metal to act as an acid etch resist or airbrush stencil.
Even a 3W 808nm might not cut threw wood rapidly, It CAN, but it would take awhile.

Your best bet is a laser in the 1064nm range!

That wavelength is perfect for cutting/burning, and can be had at high powers for cheap.

Remember to get some goggles.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:20 PM #8
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Default Re: Laser for burning and etching?

Definitely go for a cheap high powered IR diode. Sounds like a perfect fit for you
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