70 watt laser settings for 1/4” plywood


I have a CamFive 5136t 70 watt CO2 laser at my work. I have only been using a laser for a few months and am self taught. I don’t know much about working through issues besides trial and error. I am currently working on a project that requires me to cut 1/4” plywood. The issue I am having is inconsistencies in cuts and it not cutting all the way through. Also the plywood used has bowing in it and I feel as though that may be part of the issue. I have tried many different speed and power settings but none of them have worked in a consistent pattern of cutting multiple parts on the same piece. Any recommended power and speed settings? Or how to work through the issue?

Krista, I am not an expert but I cut a lot of plywood. Ability to cut plywood can be influenced by multiple factors. Some include warping, the type of glue that the plywood is held together with and voids in the wood. See the blog below for some better answers and keep trying, it’s likely not your fault.

If the plywood is warped and bowed then you’ll never be able to maintain good focus and you’re pretty much doomed from the start. Use clamps, weights, magnets, whatever you can come up with to keep it flat. A long focal length lens (like 3") may be a little more forgiving on SLIGHTLY warped material.

Air assist… you want a good high velocity stream of air into the cut to keep the “trench” that’s being cut clear of smoke. Those goofy aquarium pumps that come with many machines are not really up to the task and you should think about something better. For engraving it doesn’t much matter but for cutting relatively thick wood a decent air compressor makes a night & day difference.

Plywood quality… You don’t say where you get your wood, but all plywood is not created equal. Any voids between layers or areas filled with glue are nearly impossible to cut. Sometimes the only cure is better quality material.

I have an 80w machine and I cut 1/4" ply at roughly 15mm/sec @ 65% indicated power which is about the max I like to run my tube at for good life for my tube. (~24mA)


Hanks right, if it’s warped it’s hard to maintain a good focus. I cut 5mm all the time on my 50 watt, but I also use a 2" lens. If it’s got much of a warp, it still doesn’t cut through.

The same material, from the same manufacturer but a different batch, cuts differently. My machine has only the boxy type aquarium pump so I know how well that works… A friend has a similar machine, with and external compressor and run 30 psi when cutting. Makes a big difference.

I’m in the sw desert, and during monsonal times, I have to make sure it’s stored on a flat surface with consistent humidity or it warps… Just a thunderstorm moving through I can see the warp from the same material, one stored inside, the other in the shop which is not air conditioned.

My next lens will be a 4" for this particular problem…

Good luck :slight_smile:

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