Having issues cutting 3/8 plywood

Hi I am wondering if anyone has any setting suggestions for cutting 3/8 or 1/4 plywood, I have to go over the wood twice and most times at 100 percent is there anyone else who have some tips they could offer me, so I can possibly get the laser too just do one pass at a Lower setting to save life of the bulb?

It’s a little difficult when we do not know more about your laser tube, but I assume that it is a reasonably powerful one you have. There has been not so long ago the same issue up here in the forum, try to find it. There is some good information in this discussion.
But primarily it is most often the optics that are dirty or not focused correctly, here you have to start. If you have not already done so, I recommend that you do tests for all the materials you want to work with. You get to know your machine and the different materials better. Save the results in the LightBurn’s internal materials library and make examples as you can always take it in hand and see and feel what it looks like and how it is.
Pictured is a small selection of my test discs. The values on the discs fit my 60 Watt laser machine.

I clean the lease and mirrors everymorning, the laser is 100 watt AP laser and a 100 watt Thunder laser, both Do the same thing, I have too go over the plywood twice and at 100 percent power, and still have some areas does not cut through. any ideas how to fix this would be great.

If you are consistently running 100% power that could be an issue.

Do you have a mA meter so you know the current draw and the maximum current limit on the tube?

It’s recommended that you do not run at 100% with a DC co2 laser…

Is this machine used commercially?

I check my alignment about once a month when I do a machine ‘lube & clean’. I have good air flow and know what materials can cause problems with the optics. Generally from the lens being to close to the material or not enough air flow to keep the lens itself clean.

Mirrors only need cleaning when I cut ‘nasty’ fume creating materials such a plywood. Even with good air flow I’ve had them ‘fog’ up. Don’t know what else to call it. This only happens on specific materials.

Good luck


How many mA do your 100% correspond to? If you have been running full power with your machine for a long time then it is probably about to be burned out. This also applies if the cooling has been lacking, even for only a very short time.

Hi yes its for industrial use Jack mostly doing signs, I think I may be getting condensation into my air as I need to clean the lease now after each use and has a water drop on it, I have a large compressor, and Bernd the mA is 27 and 30 is the max on reader, I am not going too use at 100 percent, gonna kick back too 93, as I don’t want to burn my bulb I only have one extra atm for the AP and the Thunder.

I’m sorry but I think it’s already too much as you’ve driven with this laser. However, I hope I am wrong.

I think @bernd.dk was thinking or at east I was, is the actual “Maximum mA” of the tube, not the meter.

This is from Thunder laser and they advise a 100 watt tube should not exceed 24 mA. Looking at the chart that may be too high.

This can also be exacerbated by an improperly set lps.


thank you so much I will check into all of this, this forum is a lot of help thank you.

What focal lens are you using. I would use a 2.5 or 3 inch focal lens. If you are using a shorter lens it won’t cut well through thicker ply. A 2 inch is o.k…but a 1.5 inch is out.
Also you don’t want to try and cut in one pass. You will have to run at max power and go slow. Several things wrong with that. Your tube life will be shortened and you most likely will have charred edges.
I would not run above 80-85 percent. Probably around 20 mm a sec give or take and then as many passes as needed. Should be able to do it in three or so.
Nothing wrong with multiple passes unless it gets to be too many and takes too much time.
There is a balance between power, speed and passes in order to get a nice clean edge and not char the heck out of it. Too many new users think it’s just blast and cut….not so. Just like newbies with a router…just cramming it through the wood and not knowing feed speed and cutter head rpm. It’s a learned thing…test…use a longer lens if it’s too short.
If your lens gets moisture then yep you need an air dryer…water separator usually will pass moisture in a vapor form verses a true dryer. Water separator is used needs to have about 30 feet of hose between it and the output of the compressor….if a water separator is installed at the compressor it won’t do squat. Short term you could put a moisture filter like we use on hvlp spray guns to keep moisture out of the gun. These are disposable but for purge air should last a while. These are cheap verses a true air dryer which is a few hundred.

Thank You Scott for the info so much appreciated, I will look into all of this, thank you so much all.

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