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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As @killrob mentioned … using that laser at 100% power will give you the short side of 1000-1500 hours - and although your laser INPUT may be 15,000mW like the supplier suggested … your laser OUTPUT is much closer to 3.75W. (I’m guessing it’s a 33mm module)

Have you thought of cutting a shroud for the laser aperture, and designing an air assist as @killrob suggested?

All-in-all… I think you’ve done pretty well cutting 1/4", or 6.35mm birch for the last nine (9) months. :smirk:

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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.