View Full Version : Thinking about buying a laser. Can any of them cut half inch corain?

Tim Costin
03-08-2012, 4:35 PM
Hello everyone.
This is an awesome forum. Especially for information on lasers. Anyway, I have a glass etching business. I use the sandcarving technique. What I want to do is some creative woodworking (cutting and through and engraving wood) and half inch corain counter top material. Has anyone had experience cutting either wood or corain and if so, what power laser do I need?

Thanks so much.

I love this forum.


Mike Null
03-08-2012, 5:16 PM

welcome to SMC.

I can't speak from experience but you'd have to have a very powerful machine to get it done. Corian is more difficult to engrave than ordinary engravers acrylic and would be more difficult to cut. My guess is that you'd need at least 75 watts and multiple passes to get through it. A cnc machine or table saw is much more efficient.

Ernie Balch
03-08-2012, 7:20 PM
I can cut Corian slowly with my 80W Rabbit. Corian is Acrylic with a ceramic filler, of course the acrylic part is easy to cut but the ceramic gets in the way.

My ShopBot router is a better tool for Corian, although the ceramic filler can be rough on router bits.

Keith Outten
03-09-2012, 4:38 AM
I have cut 1/2" thick Corian with my 60 watt Xenetech laser at CNU. It took many passes and the cut quality was terrible.
I haven't tried my 80 watt Trotec yet but I will very soon.

Ernie, I haven't heard that Corian contains ceramic material. Are you sure?
Concerning router bits and Corian I can cut about 400 sign plaques with a 1/4" carbide spiral bit before it needs to be replaced.

Dan Hintz
03-09-2012, 6:27 AM
Ernie, I haven't heard that Corian contains ceramic material. Are you sure?
If you consider the hydrated alumina they put in it as a flame retardant, you could say it has ceramic in it...

Michael Hunter
03-09-2012, 6:28 AM
The Corian literature says that it is made up of "natural minerals and pure acrylic polymer".

I have always assumes that "natural minerals" means ground-up rocks!

Ernie Balch
03-09-2012, 8:10 AM
I was told that it contains ceramic but never looked it up till now. As Dan says Corian contains Aluminium TriHydrate(ATH) derived from bauxite. Aluminium trihydrate decomposes when exposed to heat yielding aluminium oxide and water; decomposition starts at 180oC.

I guess the feed and speed settings of a router could make a big difference in the temperature seen during cutting and that could influence the decomposition into aluminum oxide. Thinking back my problems with router bits was when I was using my home built CNC router with a standard DeWalt router. I was using 23k RPM combined with the slow feed rate of my router, this must have contributed to my problems with bit life.

I will cut some corian with the laser later today and post photos for comparison.


Ernie Balch
03-09-2012, 10:42 AM
Here is some half inch Corian cut on my laser. Power was 85% (the highest I ever go) and the speed was 1 mm/sec The first try was at a speed of 10 which obviously did not get through. The cut quality does not look to bad.... but look at the distortion. The hot corian moved and closed up the top of the E (or bottom of the B depending on how you look at it).



Dan Hintz
03-09-2012, 10:50 AM
Better results than I would have expected, Ernie...

Paul Phillips
03-09-2012, 11:55 AM
I experimented cutting Corian when I first got my laser and with 120+ watts I can cut it no problem but I found the edge quality to be very poor at best compared to routing on a CNC. Not worth it in my opinion. Also, I found the edge quality to vary based on color/type of Corian, it may be that whatever they use for color and texture (ie, the mineral particulates) varies in amounts and therefore affects the beam as it cuts. Just guessing based on my experience.

Thomas Baranowski
03-10-2012, 9:55 AM
I've cut .50" Corian on my mini 18 and it does take quite a few passes, it also tends to leave the cut looking like rough cut stone or bisque which for a few jobs was actually desired! Go figure!!
It can be done but it sure will be expensive for the client.The first picture is of parts I cut on the laser then hand finish, they are for S&S Carburetors.
The edge of the trivit was trimmed for a stone look, which was a bit quicker since the Corian pulled away letting the organic material blow away.
The snowflakes took forever to cut and was very detailed but I loved the bisque look but I also had to soak it in bleach to knock down the burnt smell.

Mike Null
03-10-2012, 10:03 AM

That's a very nice cut in my opinion and an even better logo (initials) design.

Keith Outten
03-11-2012, 12:39 PM
I wouldn't complain about the cut quality of either Ermie's or Thomas's results if I could cut 1/2" Corian.
In a perfect world it would be great to get a mirror edge like you can get with acrylic. I would like to know if the cut quality goes up significantly when you use higher power laser engravers.

Chuck Phillips
03-11-2012, 3:43 PM
My 60W Helix will do it. 100% power, 1% speed for one pass. It was slow, so not very cost effective. The edges were fine in my opinion, with a consistent but grainy finish. I made a few signs and things for gifts, but would not want to do this very often. When piercing the material, the ceramic filler shoots up out of the cut right into the lens. Once through the material that's not a problem, but I did have to clean up a lot of grit in the bottom of the machine afterward.