5.5w Cutting Expectations

Hi All!
I’m just getting started with lasers and I’m trying to set my expectations correctly.
I’ve created a test pattern from 800-2000mm/Min at power settings from 10-100% to test cutting and engraving on different materials. All seem to go well, and I’ve gotten results that are in line with my expectations. I then went to cut out 3mm birch plywood only to find that I couldn’t get through the material. I slowed the cuts down to 60mm a minute, and have had to go to 45 passes to get the material to cut.

Am I missing something? What kinds of speeds should I expect with a 5.5w laser and 3mm plywood?
Also, does anyone have a library of materials that they would be willing to share?

You can increase the power and go slow on speed. Your laser is low power to begin with but no way should you need 45 passes.

All my cut attempts were at 100% power, and I had to drop to the 60mm/min with the high pass number to get the cuts to work. I guess what I was after was just a confirmation that you can do it in 2 or 3 passes at 10mm/min… Is that a reasonable speed for 3mm birch plywood?

Search for “air assist cutting plywood” and you’ll find tips and advice to cut 3mm plywood. I’m not sure 5.5W is enough, however, but you’ll get the straight scoop in those posts.

Thanks for the suggestion TomWS… finding this video on youtube certainly help set my expectations better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djRRxGXyACY. Hopefully this benefits someone else down the road. Guess I’ll be learning more and then upgrading down the road!

Just to be clear, are you talking input power or output power when you say 5.5W. Also not all plywood is made alike. Some are laser-able and some are not easy. It depends on the glue they used. I have an Ortur 15w (input) which equates to somewhere around 5ish watts output. I tried cutting unknown 1/4" Plywood and it took me about 25 passes at 100% power (I don’t remember the speeds off the top of my head) without an air assist. I then designed and added a good air assist and can cut the same cut in about 5 now. So air assist helps a bunch.

If you have access to a 3D printer you can look at the air assist I designed for mine here. Laser Master 2 Air Assist by red_rider95 - Thingiverse Its a fairly easy upgrade and helps with cut quality a bunch. I used an adjustable aquarium air pump so I can adjust the airflow depending on what I am cutting.

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