Need help before buy co2 laser

Cut this out of 3mm basswood

There is no soot on the edges, very clean cut.

Take care


With K40 China? Good work!

50 watt ‘China Blue’. Like the first link, I paid $2k for it from OMTech.

I’m sure a K40 would cut this.

I think I cut this at around 12mm/s @ 70%.


It’s cool!! Good machine for this job

We have several lasers, 55w, 100, 130 & 180 watt.
Speaking from 6 years daily experience, my recommendation is avoid the K40.
Also avoid the lowest power end. 60w minimum.
(There will be people with k40 ,and 50w machines, and who like them, but I am still recommending you go higher- to save headaches and hassles. The K40 is cheap for a reason, and it is not quality components)

Our 100w system engraves perfectly well - I have tested every unit to its best, and it is as good as our 55w for engraving - if you wanted to be picky, I’d say maybe 1% less quality - but effectively imperceptible.

As for power, with the 100w and 180w, I can go as low as 5% and 6% power and get a burn, while the 130w wont burn below 23% power. The figures are relative to each individual machine and their power supply, so someone else saying my machine can’t engrave below 10% is wrong.
Our 130w machine can engrave happily all day at 100%, and for the record, the tube is 10 (ten) years old. 100% power puts 23milliamps to the tube on it. Whereas our 180w I have limited to 60%, and our 100w at 78% power to reach 23-24mA.
The ‘quality’ of the tube is another matter- not just the labelled power.
(many cheap machines have a very short tube life- for the reasonn their tubes are junky, noy quality Reci, for instance)

Each machine has its own practical and safe bracket or range of useability that you need to establish when you get it. It’s not safe to generalise.

Cutting timber is also very different from acrylic. I have done a lot for people who carve and do intarsia etc.
Some species cut like paper, and some struggle to be cut at all.
You just have to test each one and establish your own power parameters. That is why I feel a 60-80w machine would suit you better than 40 & 50w, aside from the fact the makers’ label of power is an exaggeration, because that is ‘peak’ and not ‘typical working’ power.

Good luck!

Hi @Billcut.

You may be able to save your money for now. Try Googling makerspaces greece. You will be surprised by what you find. Here’s one example: They have CO2 lasers. Athens may not work but you should find other options in the search results.

I belong to a local makerspace lab that has CO2 lasers. The lab also has an assortment of 3D printers and other equipment. It’s a great resource because I lack my own space and equipment for projects.

All the best,


when you say “plexiglass” do you mean polycarbonate? Polycarbonate cuts very very poorly with a co2 laser. it melts more than cuts and emits strong fumes. if when you say “plexiglass” you mean acrylic than that is ok. 80 watt is more than necessary for cutting 1-2mm. but you can increase power and cut faster.

All he is working on is very thin material. If all he does is cut, 50 watts is like a sledge hammer on a tack, it is way overkill.

IMHO, 80 watts is a ludicrous suggestion for 1 to 2mm stock. Mine cuts through 3mm acrylic at about 15mm/s @60%, 12mA or about 25 watts out. Upper limit of my tube is 21mA…

If he decides to engrave, which I’m sure he will, the 80 watt will be about useless for fine engraving as the output becomes non existent or uncontrollable at around 10%.

Above all of this, he’s got a budget of about $1500, where can an 80watt machine even come into consideration? He had complaints about the 50 watt…

If I could suggest one, I’d go with a 35 watt… too bad there’s not anything like that on the market.

I cut a bunch of this and it’s edges are not as clear as acrylic. Almost like the difference between cast and extruded acrylic. I didn’t think there was much difference in the odor. What was a big difference was the cost.

Bayer began commercial production under the trade name Makrolon in 1958, GE began production under the name Lexan in 1960. GE made popular the ‘Lexan’ riot shield… which is bullet proof, supposedly…


Hi Bill,
I would recommend a 60Watt laser. Since you say you are going to run it for only 1 hour or so, your fridge should be more than enough cooling for you. I would just make a copper coil to put in the fridge to circulate the water from the tube. I also wouldn’t worry about the spare tube. If you are only using it for this little of time, the tube that comes with it should last you a long time. Good luck with your search! I hope you find the perfect machine for you.