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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do any of you use a Laser "cutter" for making elements for your signs vs a router or CNC ?
2nd question: has anyone enhanced or replaced the power unit to go from an "engraver" to a "cutter" ?

an example would be to cut wood letters or graphics with the Laser vs Scroll Saw, Router, or CNC.
Wood Rectangle Font Automotive exterior Pattern
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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I have considered adding a laser to my CNC but every time I get close to doing that I just send the file to my laser guy and he cuts it for me on one of his Epilog machines. One of these days I may add one, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
David - I have a project now that requires 3/4" tall letters and from what I find "commercially" on the net, they can only cut down to 1" - I don't understand that part. And the local trophy shops that do "engraving" can't cut material such as wood.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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The trophy shop I do work for has three Epilog lasers that are fairly powerful. They engrave wood every day with all three and regularly cut wood. Seems like I have seen them cut 1/2" thick wood but I'm not certain of their capacity. They have cut 1/8" and 1/4" while I watched and can cut that in one pass if needed although they typically do it in 2-4 passes depending on the quality of cut needed.
 

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I have a small K40 C02 laser and a CNC. They compliment each other very well. The laser can get more detailed than the CNC can, but the CNC can cut thicker material and has a much bigger cutting area. That said the diode lasers that you can attach to a CNC are okay for engraving, but typically are not powerful enough to cut wood. I will very likely be adding a larger CO2 laser sometime this year to my arsenal of tools.

3/4" tall letters in 3mm bb ply would easily done on my K40.
 

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Check out the AtomStack X20 Diode laser. It can cut 3/8" ply in one pass, so could probably do 3/4" in we or 4 passes. Atomstack.net It uses 4 lasers combined into one cutting area.
The atom stack quad module is like $600. I'd skip that and get a 40W CO2 laser like a K40 instead. The problem with multipass laser cutting is it has diminishing returns and the cut quality will suffer. For 3/4" material, a CNC router is the way to go.
 

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Did you resolve your laser query John? we have a 4x4 CNC and a 120w epilog in our shop. they make a great pair, wrt to signs, and most any project. if you need letters laser-cut, feel free to pm me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks Tim, yes, after a lot of looking around the net and here, I found a process that I can work with.
can your laser cut 1/4" thick BB plywood ?
 
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