View Full Version : Can a laser rebate wood?

14-10-2014, 08:19 PM
I currently have a standard CNC mill but I find one of the most time consuming and prohibitive things is fixing the material down. I often cut small parts that need to be really accurate, have cut-outs and at the same time can not have additional holes to affix them with screws. So I use a vacuum table mostly, but there is always the problem of maintaining a good vacuum and needing to 'onion skin' parts (extra finishing work) and some parts can't even be onion skinned.

So.. I am wondering about what lasers can do? I don't know much about this topic, but I do know they don't physically put force on the material so fixing is not too difficult. Can they only cut profiles, or can they control depth of cut accurately? For example if I wanted to make a small speaker side panel can a laser cut 2mm width slots to a depth of 6mm in a 9mm sheet of plywood? Can we create a area clear on acrylic accurately measuring -2mm depth for another part to sit in?

I know a lot depends on specifics of what I want to do and the material etc.. but I just want to get an idea for what can be done if I were to fix a laser on my CNC mill in place of the spindle?

16-10-2014, 08:58 AM
I don't think that lasers are much good for anything other than engraving and profiling. My solution to your "slot" problem would be to laminate a 3mm ply back onto a 6mm slotted front. G.

16-10-2014, 11:56 AM
Rebating would be extreamly time consuming and wastefull with a laser.

You would need to engrave a rebate which means rastering back and forward stepping over maybe 0.1mm at a time. The quailty would also suck and you would need to refocus the laser as you eat into the wood.

If this is a big production run have you thought about multiple machines maybe a laser to profile and then a router to rebate. you could even use a hand router. This is something I am considering for a product im making right now, sometimes its worth thinking about old techiniques rather than just thinking how can I do this with a cnc be it laser or router.

16-10-2014, 02:43 PM
I recommend a word with Geoffrey in these forums.. He's somewhat of an expert at the small stuff and has been a great help to me so far

16-10-2014, 04:01 PM
Thanks Rob, not really an expert, but I make doll houses and miniatures (amongst other things) and have been doing it a for long time now. G.