View Full Version : First newbie question

Tom Majewski
05-15-2006, 10:22 PM
Hi All,
It's been months since I posted here asking for advice on lasers- if I should, what kind, what power. Well it's done- a Pinnacle 40W. Should be delivered Thursday. So the first of many questions:
I'd like to engrave a design on some already stained and varnished wood. I'm not sure if it's varnish or poly, some samples could be either.
Will it burn any more than unfinished wood? Will the fumes ruin the laser? Any tips or cautions please.

Boyertown PA

Dave Fifield
05-16-2006, 2:35 AM
Hi Tom,

Congratulations on purchasing your laser - bet you can't wait till it arrives!? You're going to have great fun with it, I assure you!

The laser will burn right through the finish just like it wasn't there. It will be a little more flammable, of course, but as long as you have a small stream of compressed air (called "Air Assist" by Epilog, not sure what others call it) pointed at the work area, then you shouldn't see any flame ups. Without the air assist, you will very likely get flame ups on vector cutting (but not on raster engraving).

Let us know when you are up and running. If you do a search on the forum archives, you'll find lots of small projects to try. Enjoy.

Dave F.

Gary Shoemake
05-16-2006, 2:25 PM
Did you buy the package with the exhaust and air assist compressor? If you did you shouldn't have any trouble. I have a pinnicle and design my piece and away I go. Really don't like rubber stamps, they stink.(smell wise)There will be a learning curve with it, and remember not all material is created equal. The same type of wood will always have the ability to be just a little different from the last, so the settings might have to be tweaked. Best of luck any questions just holler.


Joe Pelonio
05-16-2006, 2:57 PM
The fumes that will ruin the laser (and humans) are from PVC. Make sure not to try using PVC board like Sintra®, Komatex®, Celtec® and Komacel® or anything that contains PVC. When in doubt ask the customer or your supplier for the material safety data sheet (msds). If any of the items listed in the product formula is "chloride" it's probably bad. The heat creates a deadly toxic and corrosive chlorine gas. Cutting wood gives you a nice "campfire" smell but does release some smoke that your neighbors
may notice. Acrylic cutting produces a strong smell, but the worst is ABS.

Have fun tomorrow and post a pic of your first job.

Bruce Volden
05-16-2006, 6:42 PM
Tom, I prefer ALL wood to be in a finished state and haven't come across anything yet that the laser won't burn thru (WOOD). Metal coatings?~well there are a bunch I can't punch through/mark!! And as long as smells have been mentioned I 2nd the rubber stamps but, will throw in there horn/antler, just can't seem to get the fleshy smell out of my mouth???? I was a medic in the service and never liked burns!! Have fun! Bruce

Brent Brod
05-20-2006, 2:07 AM
Vector cutting leather is a close second behind rubber stamps as far as odor goes :eek:

Other than PVC there's not much you couldn't put in there and experiment with. I lasered the Alamo on a tortilla one time. Roy Brewer had a pecan with some guy's business card info on it that was really neat.

Lee DeRaud
05-20-2006, 2:16 AM
I lasered the Alamo on a tortilla one time.Coulda gone my whole life without that image in my head...thanks a bunch. :eek: :D :cool: :p