Darkly Labs Community

Didn't cut all the way through ply

I tried to cut the mini checkers set tonight, and it looked like it was coming out perfect, but when the job finished, and I went to take it out none of the pieces were loose. They weren’t even close to being cut through. In fact, the laser only engraved around the lines it was supposed to cut all the way through. I bought 3mm Baltic Birch at the local hardwood dealer I go to. Should I have purchased “laserable” 3mm Baltic? I double checked my settings and I had them exactly right… The cut was set for 100% power, 200mm/ min speed, 2 passes…

Please check:

1: Your lens is clean. This is the most likely cause.

2: If you have updated software, the calibration value (tool-offset) value is still in your settings.

3: Different type of wood. Laserable plywoods use specific adhesives that don’t prevent laser cutting.


Thanks for responding so quick!

I will try cleaning the lens. I didn’t think I have used the laser enough to require cleaning (2 cardboard engraves, 3 wood test engraves, 2 stone test engraves and the checkers set). The first time I have used air assist was in the checkers set.


I did update to the latest version of Laserweb right before I did this job. I didn’t check the tool offset value because whenever I update I uninstall the previous version before installing the latest, the offset value was remaining the same. I will check that when I get home. Question: Should I be uninstalling previous versions of Laserweb, before updating to the latest release?


I was wondering about the plywood when I purchased it. I know there are allot of  different manufacturers of Baltic birch, and some just aren’t laser friendly. I was going to buy it at Woodcraft. I know from reading the laser blogs that the brand they sell can be cut by a laser, or I will buy some online and try it. This is a bummer because I bought a 5’ x 5’ sheet and cut it into Emblaser 2 sized sheets…what am I going to do with it now if the laser won’t cut it?!


Also, the checkers set was coming out kind of light. To get it a little darker, would I slow the fill speed down? Turn up the power? Both? There were also visible vertical lines in the squares. I think I remember reading somewhere that you should set the angle to 45 degrees and it fills better?

G’day David,

Welcome to the wonderful world of laser cutting ply!

From experience with both the Emblaser 1 and 2, I can say that plywood IS the most frustrating and unpredictable  material to try to cut.

Cost doesn’t count, cheap plywood is often easier to cut than the quality stuff. When I got my EB1 I bought expensive marine ply, assuming that  because it was dearer it would be “better” and therefore more laserable, when in fact the opposite was true, due to the adhesive that they use to join the layers being tougher and therefore less laser friendly.

Ply idiosyncrasies came to their head with me when I had successfully cut 3mm ply, and then found a bit of 0.4mm ply in my shed. I assumed that since it was only about an eigth  as thick as the 3mm ply it  would cut through in one pass, but the same 6 passes that cut the 3mm ply didn’t even make a dent in it. I gave up after 12 passes. Sure was annoying!

IF you are ever bored then  here is a thread  of my and other peoples experiments with the Emblaser 1 and materials:


Finally, don’t be thinking you’ve wasted the ply you bought, ply generally does raster beautifully, here is some unlaserable ply that I was at least able to draw a picture on!



Hi David,

From the very useful feedback we have been receiving from customers, we have developed a way to fully examine and clean the main lens.

There is an article here https://darklylabs.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000624351-Advanced-Lens-Cleaning-Process

It does require a small tool we have designed as well as a hex key. This allows you to remove your lens and both completely clean it as well as examining it for any damage. It has proven very useful with some customers who have had lens damage after not keeping it suitably clean. We would be happy to send you one of these new tool set. Please raise a ticket requesting this. There will be no charge for the kit, just postage cost.

To make the engraving darker, you would firstly try by increasing the power. If you get to 100% power and it is still not dark enough, you would then start to slow the feed-rate.

The tutorial is setup with a 0.2mm spacing for the engraving so that you get a result without waiting for long engraving times. To get more filled engraving, you could reduce the spacing to 0.15 or 0.1mm. This will take longer but will give you more consistent engraving. It will also darken the resultant engraving.

Thanks Domenic for the info and I will be raising a ticket to get one of the new lens cleaning kits. I bought a 60 pack of those lens cleaning wipes back when I had the CO2 laser, for cleaning the mirrors and lenses. I am glad I can use them on the E2…although they work really well on sunglasses also!

Chris…thanks for the information. As I said earlier in this thread, I definitely had that thought in the back of my head when I bought the sheet of 3mm Baltic. I found some scraps of a sheet I purchased from Woodcraft, that is supposedly laser friendly. I am going to try some test cuts on that and see what happens.


I tried some different ply and got the same results. I checked my offset and it was correct. I inspected the laser head and noticed a carbon build up on the air assist nozzle. I brushed everything off with the lens brush and cleaned the lens with a wipe and the lens pen and that did the trick! I was able to cut through on both plys! I had to turn the speed down to 180-175, and I was still getting some small areas that weren’t cut through all the way. I suspect that would be more a result of the wood/glue, or the ply not being perfectly flat.

It was difficult to get the wipe in there to clean the lens I guess my fingers are too fat. next time I will have to develop a pinky finger technique. I know it matters how much and what you do but how often would you say the lens be cleaned? or deep cleaned?


I am trying the checkers set again, and I turned the power up a little on the fill and its coming out much darker looks awesome…but that could be a result of the clean lens also.


Thanks Domenic and Chris for the help!

Hi David,

As we get more and more feedback from machines in the hands of customers, we will be able to determine a better recommendation for lens cleaning/

We do a lot of work on our lab machines including using them for creating parts for the Emblaser 2 manufacturing. From habit, we give the lens a clean with the lens pen at the start of each day. We only perform a ‘deep’ clean once we notice a drop in performance, perhaps once a week or so.

Thx for the update.