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Thread: Looking for new laser

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Looking for new laser

    We have 2 Epilog lasers love them to death but they just don't do what I need. We cut 3mm B/BB Baltic Birch Ply cutting parts for wood models. The question I have is how many watts of power do you need to cut through the darn knots and fills that are in the middle layer?

    Sol how many watts to cut a piece of 3mm and know that it is cut all the way and no hanging chads?
    Craig Matheny
    Anaheim, Ca
    45 watt Epilog Laser, 60 watt Epilog Laser,
    Plasma Cutter, MiG Welder
    Rikon 70-100 Lathe
    Shop Smith V510, To many hand Tools and
    Universal Repair Kit (1- Hammer and 1- Roll of Duck Tape)

  2. #2
    Knots, about 200 watts, fills around 1500 watts (it's in effect stone so doesn't ablate very well)

    There is no easy solution other than higher grades of ply to be honest
    Poof! and just like magic the shop keeper dissappeared

  3. #3
    Try that plasma cutter with a little air assist ...

    Speaking of upgrading plywood, my BIL lasered this tree, not sure what type of plywood it is-
    ply1.jpg
    but in the top half on either side of the trunk, you can see them,
    some steel pins embedded in the wood! I assume they're steel, didnt think to take a magnet to them...

    This is the one on the right,
    ply2.jpg

    this is on the left side, the wood isn't totally removed...
    ply3.jpg

    Never seen that before! Is this common? Can't be great on sawblades...
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    I find staples all the time.... I've an 80 watt and cheap 3mm takes me 65 to 70% to truly successfully cut thru the orange glue where it is the full center fill. And at 6 to 8mm/s speed. Way too slow to do well. I don't buy cheap underpayment any more. I have some a customer brought, and use scraps occasionally... Double price of base material makes for much easier and less stressful life. And no cussing
    Woodworking, Old Tools and Shooting
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  5. #5
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    Would it be possible to change material to a solid wood thin. Like alder, maple or something like that.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sheldrake View Post
    Knots, about 200 watts, fills around 1500 watts (it's in effect stone so doesn't ablate very well)

    There is no easy solution other than higher grades of ply to be honest
    Tell me where to get better than B/BB Birch and Ill be there
    Craig Matheny
    Anaheim, Ca
    45 watt Epilog Laser, 60 watt Epilog Laser,
    Plasma Cutter, MiG Welder
    Rikon 70-100 Lathe
    Shop Smith V510, To many hand Tools and
    Universal Repair Kit (1- Hammer and 1- Roll of Duck Tape)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bert Kemp View Post
    Would it be possible to change material to a solid wood thin. Like alder, maple or something like that.
    No the cost would make it not practical. we buy 1330 sheets at a time and cut to 12x24 so about 1500 sheets last a couple months
    Craig Matheny
    Anaheim, Ca
    45 watt Epilog Laser, 60 watt Epilog Laser,
    Plasma Cutter, MiG Welder
    Rikon 70-100 Lathe
    Shop Smith V510, To many hand Tools and
    Universal Repair Kit (1- Hammer and 1- Roll of Duck Tape)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Matheny View Post
    We have 2 Epilog lasers love them to death but they just don't do what I need. We cut 3mm B/BB Baltic Birch Ply cutting parts for wood models. The question I have is how many watts of power do you need to cut through the darn knots and fills that are in the middle layer?

    Sol how many watts to cut a piece of 3mm and know that it is cut all the way and no hanging chads?
    Craig: It's been my experience that not all BB is created equal. It can vary and one of my local suppliers even gives the option between Russian or Chinese manufacturer. I don't know if you've had the same conclusion, but wanted to throw that out there, in case helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Try another source of Baltic Birch. Baltic birch is brought into the USA from several manufacturers and each one is different. Make sure your using Russian Birch, Chinese birch is garbage for laser cutting. If your buying B Grade than you shouldn't have a ton of knots, our lasers cut 1/8" everyday and we never have a problem with knots, Triple B will have knots and footballs.

    If you can find someone local with a 100 watt + machine you'll see a huge difference.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Bonenfant View Post
    Try another source of Baltic Birch. Baltic birch is brought into the USA from several manufacturers and each one is different. Make sure your using Russian Birch, Chinese birch is garbage for laser cutting. If your buying B Grade than you shouldn't have a ton of knots, our lasers cut 1/8" everyday and we never have a problem with knots, Triple B will have knots and footballs.

    If you can find someone local with a 100 watt + machine you'll see a huge difference.
    What grade birch are you buying and do you know what mill in Russia it is coning out of?

  11. #11
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    B/BB grade I think is the best grade. I get mine from woodworkerssorce
    If the Help and advice you received here was of any VALUE to you PLEASE! Become a Contributor
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  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bert Kemp View Post
    B/BB grade I think is the best grade. I get mine from woodworkerssorce
    Curious as to why that is. Is the scale different for baltic birch compared to regular plywood (where A is the best)?

    Our preferred local lumber yard has good quality sheets that are marked A1, A2, and A3; which are supposed to have an "A" face and lower quality backsides (based on the rating of 1 to 3).

    Are these two different scales altogether?
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  13. #13
    Keith
    Without claiming any expertise, I do not think the grading systems are compatible. The big box plywood is low-grade material by comparison to Baltic Birch. I would not consider pine+filler plywood for any laser job. I don't use plywood any longer but used to buy Russian Baltic birch which I felt was of better quality than Chinese Baltic birch. That was an opinion not necessarily based on fact.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

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  14. #14
    Baltic Birch does not follow ANSI standards and has its own scale. B/BB is common and refers to the front/back veneer faces. There should be no use of wood filler or voids.

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