Laser Engraving Wood
Wood is an attractive material to laser cut or engrave due to good surface discoloration as well as the increased depth compared to other materials. Grayscale images and photos look beautiful (mouse over images below) when etched into most hard or soft wood surfaces.
Boss Laser machines are ideally suited for laser engraving or cutting wood. Lasers offer the woodworking, and interior design industry greater precision, creativity, and efficiency with their custom design wood creatives. Whether you want to etch a wedding photo or engrave a custom award plaque your limited only to your imagination.
What Types of Wood Are Popular for CO2 Laser Engraving or Marking?
- - balsa wood
- - maple wood
- - cherry wood
- - poplar
- - hickory
- - red oak
- - Veneer
- - cedar wood
- - beech wood
- - medioum density fiberboard (MDF)
- - exotic hard or solid woods
- - natural wood
- - alder wood
- - plywood
- - coated masonite
The good news is that unlike CNC machines that necessitate programming knowledge, laser machines allow you to design and print with almost any number of graphics software on the market such as CorelDraw or AutoCad.
How Thick of Wood Can I Laser Cut?
Softer wood types such as balsa wood require a lower laser power and can in turn be cut at higher speeds. Whereas dense, hard woods will require more power. Generally speeaking, CO2 lasers of 50 watts are capable of cleanly laser cutting thru 1/4" wood in a single pass and up to 3/4"+ with 150 watts.
Contact Us if you would like to receive laser engraved wood samples or you would like more information about Boss Laser machines.
What Type of Wood is Best for Laser Engraving?
The CO2 laser will turn wood light or dark depending the amount of resin or sap. Both tend to cause the laser to burn deeper and darker giving the processed area a darker appearance. So, woods like cherry or alder will tend to laser process darker. You can test
the sap or resin content by testing the back or at least a remnant piece of the same wood. That should give you
a close proximity.
The absolute best woods to laser engrave or mark are those that have a smooth grain, low resin or sap and will present a cool, contrasting backdrop to the laser processed area:
- -West Coast Alder
- -balsa wood
- -Pacific Coast Maple
The above represent the best species of wood for CO2 laser processing since they offer a very smooth grain hardwood. But, you can always test a species on your own especially if you're looking for a unique effect. Keep in mind that dark woods don't give you as much of a contrast so that may not be as desirable as a lighter wood. Although, lately subtle dark contrasts offer a cool, modern appeal as well. Walnut engraves really well but without much contrast. Oak or Pine don't tend to engrave well.
You also don't want to engrave wood with heavy visible grain. Grains tends to vaporize under the laser inconsistently which presents an uneven color distribution. The result is the piece will be randomly dark and light througout.
Once you select the type(s) of wood as your palette, you need to test different power and speed levels. You can click here to see some wood engraving ideas that a Boss Laser has produced.
We're here to help. If you would like us to laser engrave or cut one of your wood samples using a specific species of wood feel free to give us a call. Typically our test lab can turn samples around for you in short order. Call us at (407) 878-0880.