Colin's Radio Control

Laser cutter

BachinMaker 4050 laser etcher / cutter

2500mW laser.

Cutting speeds for various materials

This table lists cuttings speeds for a 2500mW laser that I use.  It is not designed to be a definitive guide, they are just the speeds that I find works best.

There are a number of factors that impact on the cut including:

  • Focus - I have found that this is very important and that sometimes although the beam looks focused a fraction of a turn of the focusing ring (hardly enough to notice at the beam) can make a difference in the cut.
  • Material storage - Especially for materials like balsa wood. I have found that balsa stored in a warm dry environment (e.g. indoors) cuts better than balsa stored in a colder environment (e.g. in the garage)

Ensure that the area is well ventilated as toxic fumes are often produced.

Material Thickness Laser power Speed
(mm / min)
Passes Comments
Balsa wood 3.2 mm 100% 400 2  Some balsa seems to be harder than others.  I've found that speeds between 350 & 450 work well. Test on a spare piece before cutting.
Grey Depron 3 mm  50% 2400 1  Cuts very easily.  Test laser power before cutting. This could maybe be reduced further.
White Depron N/A N/A N/A N/A All the laser power is reflected so will not cut.
Vinyl click flooring 3mm N/A N/A N/A I found I was unable to cut this although I was able to etch the surface. 
Coated aluminium N/A N/A N/A N/A All the laser power is reflected so will not cut.
Black part of CD cover ~1mm 100% 300 2 Cuts OK. Good for making small parts, control horns etc.
Acrylic - Dark green translucent 5mm 100% 100 6 Cuts about half way through. Focused at 3mm
Acrylic - Dark blue translucent 5mm 100% 100 6 Cuts about one third of the way through. Focused at 3mm
Acrylic - Purple opaque 5mm 100% 100 6 Hardly marked. Focused at 3mm

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I will continue to update this table as I cut more materials.