What to do when 10W laser won't cut through 6mm ply?

I am using Ply Co laser ply 6mm (after my last Bunnings ply failure) and I can’t get the Emblaser to cut through it? I have done many tests slowing the speed down (from 120 to 90) and increasing the number of passes (from 3to5) nothing seems to get through in the whole ply? What would be recommended to do next? The irony is I got through in one place as seen it the picture on the standard setting.

When I had a similar issue cleaning the laser lens helped greatly. I found that the smoke/fumes can quickly make the laser much less effective and while air assist was enabled I needed to improve my smoke/fume removal solution (this was on the Emblaser core).

Hi Milton,

I just wanted to check in to see if you are still experiencing any issues?
If so, can you please confirm what type of plywood this is? (birch, poplar, eucalypt, etc.)

Hi Liam,
Yes I am still having problems. The invoice says Birch LaserPly 6mm standard. I have gone through the calibration twice now and both times show -5. Is the library that comes with the 10w laser correct? What is better to do to increase the pass count or decrease the speed? Or as Paul suggests how often should you clean the lens?

Thanks Milton

Hi Milton,

The Calibration value of -5 sounds typical for a 10W Laser Unit.

The Lens on the 10W Laser Unit should not need cleaning often, especially if the Nozzle is on and more so if the Air Assist is being used.
In saying this, I would always recommend checking that the Lens is clean if you are experiencing difficulty cutting.

The 10W Materials Library is correct in that it has been tested on a sample of the material listed - Importantly, our sample may not be representative of the exact material you have. As such, the settings should always be used as a starting point.

Birch is quite tricky to cut if memory serves.

You need to increase the power getting to the material, so either increasing the pass or decreasing the speed will achieve this - however we do not recommend going slower than 180mm/min, or above 6 passes.

If you can share an image of the front and back of your best cut and the settings used, I may be able to provide further guidance.

Using the material library settings has 6mm, Poplar-Laser Ply, as speed/power 130/100 and three passes. This doesn’t show any sign’s of passing through. I have tried 4, 5 & 6. 6 nearly gets one line of the square cut through.

Shown above in pictures. Starting to think there is something wrong with the laser??

Liam, I am wondering if this is an air assist problem? The protective glass for the 10W needs cleaning all the time (as Paul pointed out). Is there a way of increasing the air assist?

Hi Milton,

The Air Assist will keep the Lens cleaner for longer but will not improve initial cutting performance.
There is no way to increase the Air Assist power beyond using 100% Air Assist Speed in LightBurn - or just enabling the AA without an Air Assist Speed.

The Air Assist will ware out overtime - Do you know if you have a V1 or V2 AA and the approximate age?

Do you have any 3mm or 6mm Poplar Laserply you can perform a cutting test with?

Hi Liam, My whole unit was brand new in December, it shouldn’t be wearing out this fast! The lens needs cleaning every day for it to work. It should be under warranty.

Hi Milton,

In that case, you have a V2 Air Assist and it should be running fine. We expect these to last over a year (and usually much longer, depending on use).

Based on what you have described I recommend that we create a support ticket so that we can look into this further.

Can you please send an email with your Emblaser’s serial number (located on the rear of the machine, in the format E2-XXXXX) to help@darklylabs.com?

Sent yesterday Thanks Liam

Hi Guys, was there a solution to this? I’m getting the same thing with a 5W laser on 3mm laserply.
Increasing the number of passes doesn’t really change the result.

Hi Kim,
My apologies that this was overlooked. I have replied to your support ticket and can assist you further there.

Is this a common problem with a straightforward solution? My 10W laser is about 3 months old, but I’m seeing similar behaviour.

I would love to know the result you get. I am still very disappointed with the power of this laser.

Hi Milton,

Do you have any 3mm Poplar Ply you can use to run a simple cutting test at the following settings:

Speed: 500mm/min
Power: 100%
Passes: 1

This is a good way to guage the lasers performance, provided the material has been properly stored to prevent moisture absorption.

If you are still experiancing issues, please email help@darklylabs.com and we can arrange to get your laser unit back for further inspection.

Hi Lliam,
Test results:

Hi Milton,

Thanks for that. Given the material thickness is 0.68mm over specification, can you please repeat this test at 380mm/min?

Hi Lliam,

Second test And I cleaned the lens before doing this!

Thanks Milton,
Let’s arrange to get your Laser Unit back for inspection/repair as per your active ticket.