Trotec Laser provides useful tips for users to keep in mind when laser engraving and laser cutting wood.

Material Preparation

The sticky dust generated by the wood laser should also not stick to the engraving object. Simply glue an application tape onto the working surface. This serves as a short-term surface protection and can be easily engraved along with it. After laser processing, it is simply removed. Application tape is well suited for the engraving of larger areas and for cutting. However, it is not suitable for photo-engraving or very fine engravings, since many small parts have to be removed later. When selecting the application tape, be sure to use PVC-free material and that it is removable.

The Right Optics

Laser cutting wood is a sublimation process. Precise focusing and the choice of the right optics are therefore crucial. A distinction must be drawn between engraving and/or cutting. While engraving, pay attention to the following: the finer the details, the shorter the focal length of the lens should be. As a rule, 3.8cm (1.5″) or 5cm (2.0″) lenses are suitable for almost any laser engraving on wood. The situation is different for cutting. The thickness of the material plays an important role here. The thicker the material, the longer the focal length of the lens used. For 0.3cm (1/8 inch) thick wood the company recommends the use of a 5cm (2″) lens, for 0.6cm (1/4 inch) thick the company recommends a 6.35cm (2.5″) lens.

Compressed Air

The connection of compressed air is recommended, especially for cutting wood. A small-diameter nozzle should be used to protect the lens. In addition, the small nozzle diameter directs the compressed air straight into the cutting gap. As a result, dust and gas are removed more quickly and the cutting quality is significantly improved.


Cleaning hardware and optics are important factors in woodworking. Wood dust is extremely sticky due to the resins and oils it contains, and dust tends to settle in the machine. So it is important to clean the machine regularly.

Suitable Exhaust System

During laser engraving and laser cutting of wood, dust and gases are produced which must be properly extracted, so the use of a suitable exhaust system is essential.

Relief Engraving On Wood

Wood is a great material for relief engraving. In a relief engraving, greyscales are converted into different laser power levels, which produces three-dimensional engraving. Uers can engrave in several passes with relatively high performance, and then perform one or two cleaning passes to remove the smoke residue.

Inlays In Wood

Wood inlays (intarsia) are also particularly popular with wood. In an inlay, different woods are laid on a flat surface in such a way that a smooth surface is created, which now contains differently coloured and differently structured inlays. Usually the base material is engraved first, and then the material to be laid (usually veneer) is cut and inserted. For the veneer, make sure that the width of the laser beam (cutting gap) is adjusted. This means that the carrier must be slightly larger.

This article was originally published by Trotec Laser.

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