View Full Version : laser pro on engraving cabinet doors ?

John Coco
03-03-2007, 4:43 AM
I am considering a laser pro for engraving cabinet door. There is nobody anywhere near me that I am aware of doing this. Is there anyone out there using a laser pro for this type of work? Is the quality on wood both 2D and 3D comparable to that of an epilog laser? I have a epilog sample of a deer in the woods that is outstanding. I would love to get the epilog. The epilog price in the size I need is a little more that I am willing to risk on this venture. I would like to keep the price under 20K to start things off. The laser pro has a definite advantage with the pass thru doors for this type of work. However is the service for the laser pro a major pain to deal with?

Rodne Gold
03-03-2007, 5:07 AM
The laserpro 3d works very well , however to do what you want with any depth , you will need 50-100 Watts. all lasers are more or less the same and they are also more or less as reliable.
Bear in mind , it might take up to 2-3 hrs to do a door and one generally charges $1 per minute , so to do a door you might be charging $180 or so.
A far better way is to use an overhead CnC router for that type of job.

Mitchell Andrus
03-03-2007, 9:21 AM
I would suggest coming up with a design and sending one of us at the creek a blank or two to run a few samples.

You may find that this process isn't going to come out that way that you thought.

James Fowler
03-03-2007, 11:37 AM

I have done a few cabinets doors for a local cabinet shop here in town. Even through all the marketing to the contractors, samples, and quite a few displays, it really didn't turn out as I expected either. They did take quite a while to do. Even with the 60w Helix that I have, it took quite a while. People really don't want to pay for the time it takes and the time you have invested.
I really don't know much about the Laser Pro, but indexing the panels would be a concern of mine.



Mike Hood
03-03-2007, 1:12 PM
A little off topic, but I do have a neat trick I've used for registering large pieces through the pass-through doors.

Imagine having to cut a SINGLE piece of .125" birch ply that's 94" lon and as wide as 24". They're aircraft (UAV) fuselages for a local UAV prototyper. They are chock full of lightening holes, dovetails and conduit ports that mus align perfect evertime.

Anyhow... at first I thought hugging the left fence rail carefully would be adequate, but registration error and run-out over the 8 feet was unacceptable.

What I ended up doing was placing a row of registration dots (.1" diameter) across the top of the drawing, and then break the cuts at vertical heights that would spane the bed. Then you index the drawing upwards using Corel's Nudge Tool a fixed amount (20" in my case). Leave the registration dots in place (lock them) and then its a simple matter to test fire the laser and gently realign the workpiece until the registration dots align (after moving the work through).

Once they align again, you've sucessfully registered for the next cut. I've succesfully cut a half dozen or so and have mastered the indexing of large expensive parts ... pretty much. :)

Hilton Lister
03-03-2007, 1:58 PM
Indexing the panels on a Laser Pro would not be too difficult as the driver allows a choice of alignment points. including centre.

Richard Rumancik
03-03-2007, 6:07 PM
John, are you saying that you need the pass-thru doors because the graphics is too large with laser closed up, or the cabinet doors themselves are too large to fit into the laser with doors closed? I've seen comments about pass-thru doors in various threads and sense some confusion between the two issues.

The LaserPro doors are useful when you want to laser a long part that you can't fit into the laser otherwise. If the graphic (or cutting zone) fits in your laserable area you are in good shape and can then laser as usual. The workpiece just overhangs the table.

But if you have say an 18" y axis and want to laser a longer contiguous graphic or cut, then you have to index. There are a few tricks that can be used with various degrees of success. The problems with a graphic is that you can get a discontinuity at the "joint" and the problem with a vector cut is you may cause a tolerance (dimensional) problem.

I have indexed a piece of wood for a sign but I would not recommend that you plan to index for a graphic on a cabinet door. It will be viewed close up. There is too much risk of a discontinuity and you will have a high rejection rate. (You will have either a gap or a double burn unless you can index and position within say .001".)

If you can break the graphic into 2 separate parts then you would be okay with indexing, as the there is no risk of a defect described above. For example, if you were lasering a graphic at the top and bottom, there would be no problem.

However, I think it would be a mistake to plan on taking work that calls for a contiguous graphic larger than your y axis. If I were doing cabinet doors, I would stay with smaller graphics both to minimize risk and keep the cost down to a reasonable level.

John Coco
03-05-2007, 12:56 PM
Im not so bold as to try to continue one image down the whole length of a cabinet door. Im interested in the pass thru doors because of the length of the door.

John Coco
03-05-2007, 1:01 PM
are you saying a 3d of about 10" x 16" would take that long or are you approximating your time based on the whole door being engraved 3d?

Rodne Gold
03-05-2007, 4:18 PM
Time involved is very variable , to get reasonable 3d you have to go slow and high power to get deep enough ablation with black so you can SEE it's 3d. Depending on your DPI , the material , the graphic and bearing in mind you will need a polishing pass after the initial engraving , a graphic like that can easily take 3 hrs.
3d work on these machines is not cost effective. Where it is however is to make masters for moulding. Bear in mind that you dont get smooth surfaces with this process either , lots of ridges even after a polishing pass (a 2nd pass at high speed lower power to "smooth" the surface and it doesnt help that much) so you might have to hand sand or blast a bit.

Dave Jones
03-05-2007, 4:47 PM
Also be aware that using a laser to do 3D won't look the same as using a CNC. The deeper the laser goes the darker the wood will get. Plus the type of wood will make a big difference as to how much the wood gets darkened.

If you haven't seen 3D samples in person, you might want to pay somebody with a similar laser to what you plan to buy to make a couple of 3D pieces for you. And you should probably supply the image and the wood.