View Full Version : Settings needed to vector cut 1/16" and 1/32" baltic birch plywood.

Steve Paul
12-29-2010, 2:39 PM
I have a 45W Hellix machine and have a project I need to vector cut. The project is an ore loading building for HO scale model railroading. The building will be made from various thin pieces of plywood glued together using tab and hole construction. The mini building will house a live ore loading device to fill hopper cars. After spending many hours studing on the forum, I have actually been able to bring drawings made in SolidWorks: saved as a PDF file imported into CorelDRAW. I changed the line weight to hairline so as to be able to vector cut.

See picture for part. The bulkheads will be .062" 3ply baltic birch plywood. This particular part has many holes that when cut out will mimic the steel guider work inside the building. When I originally brought the file into CorelDRAW I looked at the cut order. It appeared to not cut in any particular order. Since I am going to hold the plywood down with screws threw the vector grid (wood is not perfictly flat), I ordered the holdown areas to be cut at the end of the file. I will mist the surfaces before cutting.

The info I need is speed, power, and pulses for these thin pieces. For the .062" my guess is speed = 30, power 80, and pulses around 300. I will set up a test drawing to confirm and adjust. I am lost on the .032" settings. Thanks in advance,
Steve Paul

Dee Gallo
12-29-2010, 6:50 PM
Steve, each machine is an individual, as is each piece of wood. Why not take a sample piece of your wood and do a quick cut of a square hole to see if it gives you the kind of cut you want? This way you can fine tune the speed, power and frequency settings to suit your job. This test burn should only take seconds and if you write your settings on it will be a valuable record for future work.

Looking at your drawing, there are lots of places to do this test right on your actual board.

cheers, dee

Michael Hunter
12-29-2010, 8:57 PM
Dee is right - even if someone gives you settings, these would only be a starting point and would need to be refined for your machine and the actual material that you are using.

Having found the "ideal" setting, it may pay you to add a bit more power - ply is a variable material and there is nothing worse than getting to the end of a job and finding that some parts have not cut all the way through.

The make of ply and glue type used in its manufacture have a dramatic effect on the settings - here are some of mine :
1/32" modelling ply : S100 P50 F1000 (optimised for speed of cutting)
1mm (1/25") aero quality ply : S25 P25 F1000 (optimised for minimum charring)

Steve Paul
12-31-2010, 7:07 PM
Thanks Dee and Michael. Yes a test for optimization is a good idea. Thanks for the reply.