Darkly Labs Community

E1 Aluminium honeycomb cutting base

I purchased some aluminium honeycomb to use as my cutting base, it cost £20 for a 300mm x 300mm piece.

It arrives ‘flat-packed’ and needs pulling and stretching out, to be honest I found this to be a bit of a nightmare, in the end I found placing it on my kitchen worktop and stretching it out as evenly as I could was the most successful technique.

I want to create an enclosure for the honeycomb, to allow for air extraction from beneath, but even just placing this directly onto the Emblasers base I found a huge improvement, I’ve attached pics showing how much less discolouration of the black opaque 2mm acrylic I was cutting there was.

I still seem to be suffering from marks on the cutting surface of the acrylic,maybe I should have left the clear protective coating in place? I was concerned about it melting into the acrylic and bad fumes though.

Can anyone advise me on ways to prevent the cloudy patterns around the cuts, I assume it’s caused by very hot fumes blowing across the surface.


I’ve seen referenced in other laser cutting forums to use masking tape over the surface being cut. I would expect that it would require a higher power setting or multiple pass increase in order to compensate for the additional layer, but I expect such a layer would provide for your desired results. It appears that Amazon carries a wide variety of black paper masking tape in different widths. The reviews suggest that the paper tape tears easily and is difficult to remove from the roll, but that may be specific to that brand and not to all of the various products available. I suggest black as it absorbs laser energy better than the other colors one may find for masking tape.

I’m using the same honeycomb and it is really useful when cutting through plywood.
Although you might have to be careful if you are cutting off parts that are small enough to fall through and tilt up - jamming the head.

I also made the mistake of taping some wood to the aluminium and distorting it so that it does not lay flat anymore.
A good way to remedy this is fold it together into the block that it came shipped as and unfolding it again. (maybe even it out with a rolling pin)

Yeah, I’ve had a couple of issues with small cut outs to either catch the laser head cover causing the material to be pushed out of alignment or with card it got pushed over another area of the card yet to be cut and resulted in the laser not cutting completely through as it had two layers to get through.

I’ve yet to make my honeycomb enclosure, and still considering the simplest design I can make, that will also allow for air extraction to be used when required.

I want to make it quick and easy to remove from the emblaser base so I can shake out/remove debris that falls through the honeycomb.

I also want to the frame surrounding the honeycomb to create an a4 sized recess to make it really easy to align a4 sheets of paper/card/acrylic/wood.
This way I can cut out ‘blanks’ from the material in advance and then place them back into the cutouts and know the material will be exactly aligned to the cutting file in cut2d.

I simply engraved the maximum dimensions into the base plate. The lines are faint, but enough for me to align any material and I am usually happy even if it is not perfect to a single mm. 

An advantage of the honeycomb is that it distributes the weight better. I usually work with plywood and use 2 steel bars to keep it flat.
I did put a little stopper under the base plate, but too much weight on a single point does tend to bend the plate a bit still and can be enough to get the laser just out of focus across the entire work piece.

I have 10 mm honeycomb as my cutting base and have recently been cutting 3 mm plywood for a robotic arm project. I’ve found that the smaller pieces will drop into the openings, but any piece that is larger than the grid doesn’t fall. Even when removing the board, they won’t drop out until pushed in most circumstances.

I’ve found it’s akin to sleeved tubing. If it’s not perfectly aligned, you can’t slide them together. In the case of the cut material, the kerf is so small that they won’t fall out at an angle. I think focus plays a big part in getting a small kerf. Last night’s cut was out-of-focus and the kerf was much larger than normal and the burn marks were excessive, and son-of-a-gun, after five hours, not a single piece was cut through. Of course, I determined the out-of-focus status after the project completed the burn. Two dollars and seventy five cents up in smoke. (grin)