My A5 M50 does not cut wood

I am having a similar problem on my A5 M50.
Not sure if I am using the wrong wood.
My engravings of photos & text engravings come out decent enough, but I need to have the speed at 1500 mm/min or less. My A5 M50 defaults to 6000 mm/min & 20% power.

I am sure the wood needs to be soft.
I only purchase my current wood samples at HomeDepot/Lowes.
I have some 1/4’ MDF. Even 10 passes cannot cut more than the width of a hair with a setting of 50 mm & 100% power.
I purchased some “D2 White” plywood and cuts are even worse than on the MDF
I set the height of my laser using the clear acrylic sent with the unit.

I am able to cut wood if it is very porous (soft), but not normal 1/4" plywood.
I don’t even know any store selling wood that is 3mm or less thick.

I have purchased 3mm basswood from Amazon

I think that laser should cut better than you are describing. I think the advertisement is a 15mm cut thickness …

Check the focus… Seems to get knocked off now and then with these high power modules.


Hi Tom,
I have the same laser and I’m getting really good results with all my projects. When something doesn’t turn out as I expected, it’s usually operator error. (PEBCAK)

Did you check the S value ($30)? It should be set to 1000. That was one of my first errors.

Do the ramp focus test as well. I found my A5 to be way off. Can’t trust the spacer provided for accurate focus.

Thank you Will,
I just began running my 1st “Ramp Test”.
I need to run it on a few different materials before I can report back.

My 1st ramp test was three 7" lines.
The place where the line was the thinist was at about 2MM, but the laser did not cut well into the wood. At the bottom of the ramp, the line is the thickest & burns deeper (only made 1 pass at 100 mm/min. Line 1 was at 80% power, Line 2 was at 90% & line 3 at 100%.

I will update this thread a little later.

How would I check the focus ?
I just learned about the “ramp test” and running Ramp Tests at this time.

Hey Tom,

In a nut-shell…
Place your material (doesn’t matter what) on a slant and burn a straight line. Without changing the height of your laser OR the orientation of your material, look for the spot where the line is the thinnest. That will be your optimal focus.

There’s video’s out there about this. Rich from LA Hobby Guy has one that’s clear and to the point (like all his YouTube’s)

I did this test and found my focus point to be different than the focusing aid packaged with the laser. I have the good fortune to be able to 3D print a new (accurate) focusing plate.

I have performed 4 'ramp tests" on 4 pieces of wood.
On one of the tests I removed the “Air Assist” metal head from the laser.
I am running at 80/90/100 mm/min with 4 passes at 100% power.

The top of the ramp is touching the laser head.
The bottom of the ramp is 25 mm below the top of the ramp on the horizontal.

The line at the top of the ramp is thinest, but as the line gets wider, the burn into the wood is deeper.
With the Air Assist metal head removed, it appears the burn is a bit deeper on each type of wood that I am using. All are 1/4’ plywood or MDF from Home Depot.

What am I doing wrong ?
Why am I unable to cut wood with the A5 M50 ?

On each of the 4 lines, I seem to burn less than .25 mm on a piece of wood that is 6 mm thick (1/4")

Can’t find an icon to attach a photo of my Ramp Test.

I have subscribed to and have enjoyed his instruction,
He uses 3mm wood, which I don’t know where 3mm wood can be purchased
He also instructed in the video to have a ramp that begins 10-12 mm high, which I have done, but not cutting the wood at all.

My engravings or using “fill” mode, does provide rather good images on wood or ceramic.


(computing, humorous, also attributively) Chiefly used by technical support helpdesk staff: a problem experienced with a user’s computer that is due to user error.

It’s not required to cut through the material for this test, so multiple passes are not needed. You just need to mark it. If you can see the engraving, it’s probably good. Re-watch the video. There’s some irrelevant chatter in there about layers, so pick out the stuff that only talks about the focus test.
Run the test using only one pass. It makes no difference about the material you use. Wood is easy and you probably have some scrap laying around that will do the job. I did mine on a leftover chunk of 2x4

Lets check some other things while we’re at it.
What is your S value? Also know as $30. You most easily find it under your device settings.

It should read 1000.

Thank you Will,

I believe that I read or saw that the S-Value in Device Settings could be set to 255 because it was a diode laser. I may have changed this setting on my own
I reset the S-Value in Device Settings back to 1000 & tested on the same 1/4" plywood that had been giving me trouble. I can see the light burning thru the bottom of the board. Alot more smoke is being generated. I believe I can start getting creative with this new tool

Thanks again !

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