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How Does a Laser Cutter Work?

This post is part of Plyco’s Guide to Laser Plywood

Laser cutting is something that holds a special place in our hearts here at Plyco. It’s such a unique way to create and design, and as Laser Plywood has continued to grow in popularity so has our love for this process.

With nearly endless possibilities, each day our minds are blown by some of the incredible designs our brilliant customers bring to life. As more and more people are drawn to laser cutting, whether it be as a hobby or a job the team here at Plyco thought there would be no better time to get into the nitty-gritty of how exactly a laser cutter works. 

 Laser Plywood Love

A key driver behind the boom in laser cutting is largely thanks to the flexibility and freedom it provides. Affording you near perfect lines on your plywood sheet without you needing to master new tools or worry about making a big mess of sawdust and woodchips, there's a lot to love about laser cutting machines! Laser cutting machines also provides the ability to etch, making lettering and intricate graphics so much easier to achieve than the alternatives available. If you have a laser cutter at your disposal, complex, detailed, and difficult designs turn from a pipe dream to reality for even the most novice woodworker.

Download Plyco's Laser Plywood Brochure


The Laser Lowdown

But let’s get down and dirty with the details, shall we? Essentially, a laser cutter is just what it says it is – a cutting machine that uses lasers. When described like that, it almost sounds like something out of Star Wars. In this case, the laser is a high-powered beam of concentrated light, which reach extremely hot temperatures. These bad boys get so hot that rather than burning the wood away, it, in essence, evaporates it. Think about that for a second; the beam is so ridiculously hot that the wood just disappears. This still sounds like something out of Star Wars. Because of this, there will be some smoke produced – so try not to freak out when it happens because it’s completely normal! This process helps keep the wood from being scorched or giving off a burned look despite being under immense heat, because the wood is being placed under low thermal stress. 



However, before you can jump into cutting mind-blowing designs you’ll have to actually create the designs first! Using a program like Adobe Illustrator, you'll need to set up all the specifics of what you want your laser cutter to do, otherwise, your super cool space laser wouldn’t have any idea what to do. Once you’ve created your design you’re ready to jump into slicing up some Laser Plywood.


Plyco's Beech Laserply

Not only does the laser cutting process keep everything cleaner, but it also makes everything so much safer. Having a machine programmed to make any cut you want right down to the precise and fine details keeps you from having to work with any sharp objects and pretty much guarantees you’ll still have all of your extremities once your project is completed! 


Laser Cutting The Right Way

When it comes to etching with a laser cutter both softwood and hardwood can be used, however softer woods like Pine are generally favoured for more artistic creations. This is because a lower amount of heat and power is needed, resulting in the wood being cut faster.

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While many types of wood can be used successfully with a laser cutter as long as the laser is calibrated correctly, Plyco’s Laserply has been specifically designed to work perfectly for laser cutting. All of our Laser Plywood products use the correct glue to help the wood burn well with the laser. Our Laser Plywood also lacks any core gaps, which is crucial as having them present can result in the formation of air bubbles and crack the wood when being cut. Finally, the laser plywood we provide here at Plyco comes in a suitable density to help make laser cutting an even smoother process for you!



 A brilliant Laser Plywood creation from Plystories

So that’s exactly what’s going on behind the scenes when it comes to laser cutting. Hopefully, you learned a thing or two, whether you’re someone looking to get your start in the laser cutting scene or you’re a seasoned expert. If you're feeling inspired, why not head to our online store and check out our entire Laserply range? We have an extensive range of products, from European Poplar all the way to the trendy Bamboo Laser Plywood.


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