I need some help with cutting

I need some help. I brought an emblaser core because i thought it would be fun to do but i am super lost i ended up having the laser sit for 9 months not doing anything. I want to give it another go. I have been watching all the videos i can find on how to use Lightburn and well thats easy as now i got the hang of it but no one really talks about the settings and this is where i am getting stuck. I am only wanting to cut 3mm MDF (i got some from bunnings as my dad is a woodworker and he just gave me a whole heap of it) but i have no idea what the setting should be.

I am really confused as well should my line settings be the same as my fill settings or should they all be different.

My machine is the lasercore and hubby added the camera and air assist as well if that help. Would anyone be able to help me with setting i think i am going crazy something so simple.

Hi Pamela,

When I started using my Emblaser 2 I had exactly the same problem. Everyone was using MDF but my machine just didn’t want to cut it. In the end I gave up and had a look at ply. Birch ply was difficult too but in the end I settled for poplar ply which cuts so much easier. It took 2 passes set at about 150 per pass for 3mm ply with a Z offset of 1.5mm and it usually cuts fine for me but my machine is not a Core.

I also started using 1.5mm mounting board, or card actually as used for picture framing. Now I use that predominantly and I can cut this straight through in 1 pass at 125 and 100% for 1.5mm. I make model railway buildings so this works fine for me.

I use the theory that if a Stanley knife will cut something easily then the laser will too, if it is hard then it is going to be hard for the laser and this usually works. I am just upgrading to a 10w system so I will see how my experience with MDF goes but I do prefer poplar ply any time.

Hope this helps you on your journey and best thing I can suggest is to try a totally different material and get the experience of the machine and the settings for that and then change material knowing the machine does actually work perfectly.

Ralph

Hi Pamela,

I don’t recommend starting with MDF, particularly from a hardware store. MDF can vary in make-up significantly and also tends to absorb moisture over time, both of which can make cutting this material tricky, or even impossible in some cases.

The best option would be to get some good quality, low-density ‘Laserply’ (plywood designed for laser cutting), such as this: Darkly Labs - Poplar Laserply
Alternatively, you could start with some card or paper (best to avoid white printer paper initially). This will give you an idea of how the settings interact that will apply to almost all materials.

We recommend starting with the Materials Library setting for your material, and then fine-tuning from there. You can find information about installing and using the library here: LightBurn - Materials Libray

One analogy that may help you to better understand the settings, is to think of it like trying to precisely burn a material using a magnifying glass and sunlight:

Focus:
In this case, you need to find the optimal height of the magnifying glass to correctly focus the light.

Once you have performed a Focus Calibration, your laser requires the correct Support and Material values in the Cuts / Layers tab to allow it to focus the laser on your material.

Speed:
To burn a line, you need the correct Speed. Too fast, and you will only get a faint line or no line at all. Too slow, and heat will build up in the area leading to burning around the line - or worst case, material combustion.
You might also find it hard to be precise at higher speeds.

The laser works in the same way.
We recommend a minimum speed of 180mm/min for most materials.
Maximum recommended is 5000mm/min, but for intricate detail can be as low as 600m/min to retain precision.

Power:
For precise burning/engraving, you might not need the full power of the sun. In this case, a slightly overcast day might be better.

Luckily, with the laser you have fine control over the output power, allowing you to reduce the power when 100% is too much.
For cutting, you will generally use 100%, unless you would otherwise need to reduce the speed below the 180mm/min minimum.

Passes:
If you wanted to cut through a material, you may need to go over the cut more than once, each time removing a little more material. This allows you to gradually cut through a material where you would otherwise need to move too slowly to retain a neat (and safe) cut.

The laser works in the same way.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if the above is unclear in any way.

Thank you for all the responds

I have now since DL the library and have installed it and i can see the cuts and stuff which is very good because this was the part i was stuck on.

Thanks now to go and make my first items.

Ok so did my first cut last night and my husband was like “why you screaming and laughing” i showed him the laser just cut through the MDF like butter :slight_smile: legit lifted the MDF up and it just dropped the cuts out like i was shocked.

Thanks so much i can’t wait to start creating stuff now

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Well done!
That is such a good feeling when parts just drop out.