The best way to cut wood these days is through laser technology. Laser-cutting is an advanced technology that many industrialists and carpenters use to cut wood precisely. The laser works by emitting a bright beam of light from a moveable head that passes through the wood.
The extent of laser-cutting varies from wood to wood. The sharpness of the laser beam’s cut depends on the wood type, as each wood has different qualities and features. For example, it’s relatively easier to cut through softwood than hardwood. So, the efficiency of the laser is significantly related to the type of wood you’re working with.
Let us take you through some laser-cutting fundamentals and the best wood types apt for this technology.
Types of Laser-Cutters: What Should You Know?
Laser-cutting is a comprehensive technology that efficiently cuts through all types of wood. If you’re aware of lasers, you would know laser-cutters come in different styles. Each type has unique features as they work pretty distinctively from one another. Let’s explore the different kinds of laser-cutters to give you a more profound idea of how they work.
CO2 laser-cutters do a fantastic job of cutting through wood. If you want to engrave or print any unique shapes or write on the wood, a CO2 laser-cutter is needed. As long as you’re using it on an appropriate wood type, you won’t face any difficulty with cutting or engraving. Such laser-cutters are mainly found in high-end workshops that work on heavy wood and machinery.
This laser-cutter emits different lights, including blue, red, green, light, etc. Diode laser-cutters work smoothly on wood for marking and etching. However, they’re considered weaker than CO2 laser-cutters. Some diode laser-cutters can cut wood, but they mainly work on softwood. So, if woodblock is heavy and hard, a diode laser-cutter may not be the best option to go with.
Fiber laser-cutters are considered the strongest and the most significant laser-cutter in the wood-cutting industry. Since fiber laser-cutters are extensive in nature, they’re also priced way higher than other laser devices. The best part about this laser-cutter is that it doesn’t require much maintenance and offers a longer life than most. Its cost makes sense, considering fiber laser-cutter is more precise in cutting wood.
Best Wood for Laser-Cutting
Since you’re aware of how laser-cutting works, you should also know the best wood to cut through high-intensity lasers easily. The softer the wood is, the easier it’ll be for the laser-cutter to cut through it and vice versa. However, hardwood has a better finish after a laser-cutter has been used for engraving on it. Softwood is also less expensive and requires lesser precision. The opposite is true for hardwood.
The following is the list of a few wood types considered excellent quality for laser-cutting.
Cherry is considered one of the best wood types for laser-cutting as it’s the easiest to work with. When cherrywood is sliced open, you’ll find shades of pink. However, they turn into browner shades as time passes.
Many furniture pieces, such as cabinets and shelves, are made from cherrywood; hence, carpenters use laser-cutters to slice it open. The best part about cherrywood is that it’s inexpensive, so it’s highly demanded. Since it’s easy to work with, cherrywood is considered a dream by many woodworkers as it’s convenient to cut through.
Second on the list of the best wood types is alder, which is similar to cherrywood in many ways. Like cherry, alder also develops a browner color with time. Alderwood comes from the softwood family, so you can imagine how easy it’ll be to work with.
Most softwood wood pieces are inexpensive, and so is alder. Since it doesn’t have a hard surface, laser-cutters can penetrate through it quickly. Alder makes for an excellent piece of wood to make various furniture items. All types of laser-cutters will do the job of cutting through Alderwood well.
You must’ve seen many furniture items such as tables, shelves, cabinets, and countertops made from hard maple. It’s relatively easy to tell as hard maple has a distinctive finish. Hard maple falls under the hardwood family, making it a little difficult for woodcutters to cut through it.
This wood type has a high density, higher than most wood types. Since it’s denser and harder, it’s less easy to work with than cherrywood. However, once a laser-cutter cuts through hard maple, it delivers excellent results. Also, hard maple is considered of the most expensive pieces of wood.
Some wood pieces are a dream to work with, and basswood is one such wood. Since it’s softer than other wood types, laser-cutters can pass through it without hassle. Once basswood has been turned into a finished furniture item, it delivers a stunning appearance and finishes.
Hence, many people choose to buy furniture made from basswood. The fact that its softwood contributes plenty to its inexpensiveness. Overall, any laser-cutter will quickly cut through basswood without wasting any time. It’s considered one of the best wood types for engraving and cutting.
This reddish-brown wood type also belongs to the softwood family, making it convenient for laser-cutters to cut through. Since it’s soft, it’s also easier to engrave on it. The best part about balsa is its highly stain-absorbent, making it a pretty versatile wood type.
It may not be the most stunning piece of wood, but since it isn’t priced as much and has decent finishing properties, balsa is considered a suitable wood type for laser-cutting. Also, you should know about balsa because it may be soft, but it still has a coarse texture.
Our Final Thoughts
Laser-cutting is a highly innovative technology that easily cuts wood and other materials such as metal, acrylics, and plastic. However, the wood type should be adequate to cut through the high-intensity laser. All the wood types mentioned above qualify as the best wood for laser-cutting. The more flexible the wood is, the easier it’ll be for the laser-cutter to pass through it.