Laser won't cut through material

I am hoping to get some suggestions. My preferred stock is 1/4 inch Birch plywood. I was having good success cutting completely through the stock with just a few sections missed. Lately the cut function has been getting less effective. Last night I ran the cut at speed 150, power maximum strength fo 25 passes. I then dropped the laser 4-5 mm and ran another 5 passes. When it was completed, I checked and it had not cut through the bottom side anywhere. Sorry for the long-winded description; I was trying to be thorough. Can anyone make a suggestion as to how I might proceed? PS: My laser is 15W

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sorry but i work in mm, to better understand, 1/4 inch is about 6mm and an half?

Yes, 1/4" = 6.35 mm.

ok, so… it sounds weird that you use 30 passes to cut 6.35mm with a 15W, is not really a 15W in output i think, i can cut 7.5mm medium wood with a 7.5W diode the Neje A40630 in 8 passes at 150mm/min.
You use that laser since?

I bought this laser in January.

and how much you use it? Diodes has a very short life expecially if used at max power.

two hours per day. maybe a bit more on the weekends. I gave the diode a good cleaning with alcohol this evening, and it cut clean through 6.5mm in 12 passes.

You also have air assist?

no, but I have air blowing at it to keep the smoke moving towards the exhaust fan at the rear

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well… so maybe you have dirty lens, try to clean.
Ok i’ve seen you have already done it :wink:
you have used you laser for about 500 hours and their life is about 1000-1500 hours, always at max power

Ok, thanks for you time. I will continue to tweak it to get the best result in the least time and power to prolong the life of the diode. And schedule regular cleaning going forward.

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Than you, I am in the process of adding air by way of an air pump from an aquarium with lines directing the air to the cut.

That fan only blows away the soot. You need an air assist. I have a 20w (5.5w output) and I cut 6mm birch at 150mm/min with7 passes. Air assist would be my next buy.

Anyone know the life trade off? Say 100% vs 90% or 80%? I have a new diode to play with and I’m used to CO2 lasers which you can really ruin quickly by driving them hard. Just wondering if the life curve is linear or has a big fall off after a certain percentage.

Thanks,
Mike

BTW - Wow - you guys cutting 1/4" plywood with diodes is amazing. I was happy to finally punch through 3mm…

Air assist help a lot in cutting and also engraving, but most on cutting. I suggest this one

Check to see if your focusing lens is dirty or cracked.
If it’s dirty, clean it with isopropyl alcohol.
If it’s cracked, you need a new one.

Have you double checked your focus? Or maybe focus about half way down through the material.

Is it leaving any dotted marks at the bottom of the wood? If this is the case, try elevating your wood slightly. Placing small objects of uniform size (I personally use magnets as I have a metal bed) allows for some airflow under the wood itself, which makes it cut through a little bit easier. Remember that burning needs fuel, heat, and oxygen. You can get more mileage out of most beams with this method.

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