Laser cutting balsa wood with 445nm 1.7W DIY laser upgrade kit

Many hobbyists who like to build their own models enjoy putting them together from pre-made kits that you order from online or get from the local hobby shop.  But what if they don’t have the model that you want?  Or what if you would like to stand out from the rest of the crowd at the airfield?  Or possibly you are an architect that needs to put your creation into the real world as a mock up.  Well, if you are one of these people, then you know the limits of making your own models out of balsa wood with the traditional cutting methods:

  • X-Acto Knife– This is a very good tool, but you need a very steady hand, and it does not cut all the way through very easy.  Don’t even try to do any interesting curves or get things small!
  • Dremel tool- This tool offers some more power to the cuts, but watch out, it is hard to handle!
  • CNC with Spindle – So this tool combines the dremel with a numerical controller to keep it steady.  You still can’t get the intricate cuts and the small details that you need for a really awesome model.

So what do you do?  Upgrade to a LASER!  The laser can cut the wood perfectly with minute details that the dremel tool cannot.  The laser does not break a bit or crack the wood at the grain.  It simply cuts with precision and accuracy, leaving a perfect piece ready to go into the model build.

We are trying here to come up with the best formula for wood thickness and feedrate for optimal performance with the laser upgrade kit.  Feedrate from the right starts at 175mm/in and goes to 400mm/in in 25mm/in increments.  Around the 300mm/in mark the cut is all the way through and the kerf line is small with no additional burning of the edges.

Laser cut feedrate test

We cut a very small star out of 1/32″ balsa and the points are even sharp.  The star falls out of the cut.

Laser wood star cut

Take a look at the video.

Look back soon for more exciting news on cutting thicker balsa wood and also medium density foam board.  Also, check out the upgrade kits for putting your own laser on your CNC or 3D printer!

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