Cutting Paper with Atomstack A5 M40

My sister bought this laser cutter/engraver hoping to cut paper to make pop up greeting cards.

I am trying to help her get it going and I only have a couple of days on this visit.

The paper is card stock I believe, reasonably heavy.

I think the parameters that need set are the feed rate, or cutting speed, the focus of the laser, which means adjusting the height(?), and do we need anything in back of the paper other than the heavy slab the device is set on.

She has been able to make the machine run and score the paper, but it’s not cutting thru. And there’s apparently a delicate balance between a clean cut and a burn cut.

We don’t know anything about the device or the software. If a setting needs to be made, feed rate, power, focus, etc. could you please be specific about where that setting is and a ballpark value for it.

Any help offered is greatly appreciated.

Ideally the paper would be suspended perfectly evenly at various points with a series of some sort of riser. But let’s leave that for the moment.

  1. Get the laser focus tack sharp. The laser should have come with a focusing tool to set the proper focus distance to the material. Read the manual to know where to place the tool as this can vary for each laser module. Focus is incredibly important and can be the difference of a very clean burn and no burn at all.
  2. There are really only two controls to affect engraving impact once focus has been achieved: speed and power. If you want a stronger burn then either slow down or increase power. The opposite is true if you want a lighter burn. I can’t give you specific values but if you’re unable to cut through right now then continue increasing power or decreasing speed. There is no other recourse. I’d suggest staying below 90% for power. If you’re already at 90% power then continue decreasing speed.

For the cleanest cut you typically want the least amount of power at a given speed that performs the cut. From there cut quality can be affected by the speed of the cut itself so you’ll need to experiment with this.

Note that the color of the material will make a difference to the cut setting For example, white paper will be surprisingly more difficult to cut than black paper. This is due to the reflectivity of the material.

I cut parchment paper on my big co2 (50W) to use when I bake bread.

Most cutting operations are done with some kind of ‘open’ area underneath the material to allow debris to escape.

However, when I cut parchment and targets for alignment, I cut them on the metal table with no risers. Small magnets hold the paper down to the table. I cut fast and at low power… just enough power to get though.

I make targets out of watercolor paper, which is thicker and marks relatively easy.

I figure out the speeds/feeds like this… draw a line, send that to the machine. Try it on some of your card stock varying the power/speed for a clean cut. Repeat until you get the numbers right. This way you are only cutting a line for testing purposes and requires minimum amount of material.

All these material will vary, so you will have to do some ‘figuring’ out on your own to some extent.

‘She’ needs to interact with us while you’re here, so we can help her when you are not available.

Good luck


You’re right, she needs to interact with you. But right now she’s out of town and I’m here with the dog and the grandson. But she’ll be back and I will show here this forum.

Meanwhile, I have mad a lot of progress. Think I know how to set power and speed for given line cuts. What I can do is make the laser move.

Lightburn finds the laser and adds it to the device list. But whenever I try to do anything it gives me error messages.

OK, nevermind. I went to get error messages and now it’s working. Be back later, maybe.

OK, I got it to work! Yesterday I wasn’t so sure that was going to happen.

Set speed to 500 and Power to 50%, only my 3rd try.

It stank up the whole house and it scored her (my sister’s) “fireproof” slate slab. So, either have to tweak the settings or use metal plate. Either way it’s her problem.

I will show he how to position the work piece and how to change the speed and power settings. Also do some upgrades on her work place, ventilation and figure out how to attach the laser cutter to the table.

And, I will be sure she knows how to contact this forum.