Laser not powerful enough to cut

I am trying to cut through 3/16 plywood just for testing purposes and the laser does not seem to be powerful enough to cut through all the way. I am using a speed of 10 in per min. with 100% power with 3 passes and still does not hardly touch it. Is there a setting to get more out of the laser? I checked the S-value settings to make sure it was at 1000 but still no luck. Very frustrated !!!

I know little, but is your focus correct? Is your beam aligned?

Yes I have everything set as explained in set up.

Air assist works wonders here. I can easily cut 1/4" solid poplar in less than 7 passes, where without air assist I could do 10 passes on 1/8" ply and not cut through.

There’s a guy on Etsy selling air assists for Orturs and the like. I’d recommend a solid 1,00o GPH pump. That being said, is your laser cutting or burning at all?

Make sure the layer is set to “Line” “00” and you have the speed at 10/100 with 10 passes.

The laser is just getting under the surface of the wood. It seems that it is just burning and not cutting.

How many output power do your laser have?

Air assist is key:

I have a 15 watt laser.

Thanks for the info on the air assist. I would not think that the air would help, but being a newbie to this you learn something new everyday! In the future I plan on doing some testing on powder coated aluminum sheets. Any suggestions?

People love to point this out, the 15 watt is not the output, just the inout. That diode is more like 2.5 watts output at best. It will cut at best 1/8" (3mm) material. You need to air assist and honestly, probably not worth the extra $50-$100. You need a good pump that puts out near 1000 GPH and those pumps are expensive if quiet, or cheap if noisy. To see if it helps, if you have an air inflator for balls etc, try cutting a small circle while directing the out put at the cut.

AIR ASSIST is the answer! Read about it and see how to build your own.

Thanks! I will see what I can find.
Thanks everyone for the great information!!

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You will find it is the glue in the ply that can stop it cutting

Hi, there are several factors that will affect the situation you have described.

  1. Ensure focus and alignment
  2. Air assist absolutely helps while cutting
    Now to your bigger issues.
  3. You do not have a 15w output laser. It is far less as LaserWillie described in his post
  4. The glue between the layers of plywood is extremely difficult for the low power lasers.

I have cut through 1/8" plywood with my 20W ortur (5W output at best), but it took 18 passes with no air assist.

I have a 100W laser that cuts 3mm like butter at 40% power and 25mm/sec. However, and I am not sure this is a lightburn issue, it seems like if I drop the speed below 12mm/sec, not even at 90% power will it cut 3mm. You setting your speed to 10 in per sec is 4.5mm/sec. If I use that setting on my laser, I set the power to 100% and it will barely scorch the surface.

I installed a milliamp meter on the laser and I can see clearly that setting speed below 12mm/sec, the power output on the milliamp meter is the same as if I set the power down to 15% or less, that is why I say it may be a lightburn issue.

Try upping your speed and see if your power output increases.

Based on the info I have read so far you are using an LED laser diode that claims to be 15W but is likely 3W or so, maybe 7 if your lucky. That is very low power to CUT. It will engrave but cutting is not an easy task. In light burn make sure the powerscale is 100% and your power setting is 100%. Air assist helps significantly, because you are supplying more oxygen to the FIRE that is created by the laser. Yes it is a fire. The laser heats the wood to burning point and it smolders. Air always boosts fires. Even a common torch is proof of this, just adding more air will significantly increase the burn. Also do a RAMP test with a board lower on one side and higher on the other and etch a line straight across. Find the spot where it is the thinnest that is the focus spot.

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Besides some form of air assist these cheap diode laser cutters must be focused VERY well. If you have not done a “ramp test” then stop everything and do that so you can measure exactly what distance you need to be in-focus. The ramp test will let you measure to any part of your laser head to the finest line of the test and have your personal measurement for your machine setup.

This is for CO2 but you can apply the technique to your diode laser also - Ramp Test and Optimal Focus for Co2 Laser - YouTube

update: you are not cutting during the ramp test, you are just making a mark on the surface of the ramp.

It sounds like you have a Ruida controller and you’ve set your speed at or below Ruida’s default “Start Speed” which is usually 10mm/s by default.
At or below Start Speed, the controller will use the MIN power setting that you’ve set for the layer. If you’re cutting very slowly, set the MIN power to be the same as MAX power.
Start Speed can also be changed in Machine Settings.

I don’t think this is a Ruida controller since the OP posted to the Ortur Lasers group and the Ruida controllers can cost more than the Ortur machine itself. Most all Ortur lasers I’ve run across use GRBL on an STM32 based controller board.

I was responding to Marios post. His profile says “100W 9060” so I’m assuming Ruida for that one.

Yeah the OP has ortur, so not applicable to his situation.

What do you have for a minimum power setting? I’m learning that is an important setting for consistent cuts where more power is required. You might want to make sure it’s close, but below the maximum power you’ve set. If I’m wrong, someone please correct me - It seems to be an important setting on my Ruida machine.