A Couple Questions On Cutting 1/4" Birch Plywood

Hi All,
I mainly do engraving with my Chinese 100w Rudia 6040 laser however I am now thinking about using it to do some intricate cutting of 1/4" (.185" Actual) Birch plywood. I currently use a small air pump similar to the one that came with the unit. I am going to upgrade the pump for the cutting.

Ok. Here are my questions…

  1. Will this pump be adequate for 1 hour cutting jobs or do I need an air compressor?
    50w / 1110 GPH

  2. I understand that my settings will be developed via trial and error however what would be a good starting point for the cut settings?

Thanks much for your help!

Can’t really comment on the pump as I don’t own one, I use a compressor what has an AC air drier unit so there is no moisure going through where the lens is.

Cutting 6mm Ply I would think you would need 80% power 20mm/s. Depending on what tube you have etc, might need to go a bit slower.

I think you would be better off with a real air compressor and at least one device to catch water. Many people recommend California compressors as they are quiet. I have a Kobalt Quiet Tech from Lowes, and it works fine- but its 2.5-gallon tank is too small so the compressor runs a lot, and the tank is steel and rusts. Look for at least a 2.5 gallon and an aluminum tank.

Thanks Neil! I was thinking along those lines.

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Thanks Patrick. I was looking at California compressors too for the reason you stated… Quiet. lol
Appreciate your insight!

I had a noisy husky compressor that had a 10 gallon tank on it. It cycled pretty often and I couldn’t hear anything.

I got this one from California compressors, no complaints.

I run low pressure on most of the engraving type stuff, and about 40 to 60psi when I cut ply.

Are you planning to up the pressure to do inlays? Or just the cut outs for them…?

The little compressors that come with these things are pretty poor, like the ventilation fans…

Good luck


Hi Jack. Thanks for the info.
Boy, 40-60 psi is a lot higher than I thought I needed. I was thinking around 10-15 psi but I have never cut with my laser so I appreciate the knowledge and help.

I will definitely up the psi when cutting and lowering for my simple engraving.

I have never cut with my lasers. I have a 4x8 cnc router that I have always used for contour cutting however with the projects I want to tackle a cnc would take all day compared to the laser.


I think all the engraving I do is at low pressure. If the pressure is too high, then it could spray ‘debris’ over you material. There is probably some ‘best’ pressure…

When I cut, I don’t want anything around and high pressure leaves clean ‘un’ sooty lines.

Good luck