In-Depth Look At Laser Cutting Speed And Power

Much like any other subtractive CNC process, the speed and power settings of a CNC laser cutter is important. Do you want more power and speed, which works to your benefit with acrylics or less power and slower which works better with wood.

On my journey to becoming a machinist I quickly learned what feed rates and what bits worked best on which materials. The general rule of thumb, for the most part, applied from machine to machine. This many flutes and this fast worked on this material.

The same rule of logic applies to CNC lasers. Every laser has it's sweet spot, no two are the same. Mirror/lens quality and power vary from manufacture to manufacture. 

In order to understand what settings are best for a specific type of material, I have printed these engraving and cutting templates for my most used stock.

Cutting Chart

They are great references for working with various materials. They get you in the neighbourhood of where you want to be saving you time, material and aggravation.

Make Magazine recently posted a deep dive into laser cutting speed and power that goes into great detail into the theory of power vs kerf vs speed. A must read for any CNC owner.

Create the workflow that works best for you. Whether it be a spreadsheet with values that work for you or templates like I use. No matter what you decide on, you will be thankful that you did,

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