Laser cutting machine for plywood

Now we are going to show you one piece of art made of wood and plywood. And we are not exaggerating!

It was made by Phillip Roberts. This creation contains 12 layers of expertly cut material and was crafted using a laser machine. Yes! This type of precise work requires extremely dependable equipment and expertise on how to work with plywood.

In this article, we will cover those exact topics.

Advantages and problems

cutting plywood with laser

A CO2 laser machine for plywood can make working with this material much easier; processing will be faster and more precise than manual or mechanical approaches. The process itself is cleaner and chip-free, and automation ensures production repeatability.

However, there are several disadvantages: the laser cannot cut knots, which are occasionally present in the sheets; smoke is produced during operation; and there may be a burned odor.

The most prevalent difficulties include:

  1. Edge burns: Charring along the cut edge is caused by using too much power or low speed.
  2. Overburning: шt occurs as a result of high heat and an enlarged thermal effect zone.

However, these obstacles can be resolved!

Types of laser cut plywood

plywood skull on laser cutting machine

Before you begin work, you must select a material, and plywood is available in several types. Each has its own little, unique characteristics.

Birch plywood

Clean cut with a light-brown edge. This is the most widely utilized material for processing since it is easy to cut. Birch plywood is lightweight and incredibly durable. It has a rather homogenous structure. Beginners start with it, and professionals continue to use it. This type has an extremely smooth finish.

Bamboo plywood

Color and texture. These are the main qualities that distinguish this type. It comes in various shades and has well-seen wood grains, which can be an obstacle for some users due to their goals.

The laser impact on this type results in a very contrast engraving. This deep brown color appears during cutting as well, which may be an artistic choice. Though engraving can be a little tricky because of the grains, nothing is impossible!

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Beech plywood

This is our golden-haired goddess Sif among the planks. Because this type is distinguished specifically by its golden-brown tint. Beech plywood is most typically used for decorative or artistic purposes.It resists breaking, shrinking, and deformation rather well. The edges stay smooth and have a bronze-like tone after cutting.

(Hoop) Pine plywood

This one has a light-colored, warm toned surface, which is quite hydrostable. Also pine wood is durable, that’s why it is being frequently used for furniture or jewelry. This is a type with smooth grains.

During the cut, edges come out less brownish than bamboo’s.

There are many, many more types of laser cut plywood, for example, Jarrah or Cherry ones. At the end of the day, the biggest difference between them is contained in color.

Let’s start cutting

There is an important rule during working with the plywood:

The smaller the thermal impact zone, the fewer burns and carbon deposits along the cut.

This can be achieved with a sufficiently powerful laser, as it will vaporize the material faster, thereby reducing the time required for each pass and the processing of the workpiece.

Furthermore, the small laser focus benefits us since it improves energy density, allowing the laser to burn through the material faster. This, once again, improves cutting speed.

All Wattsan machines starting with model 6090 have a reduced nozzle, which provides a better gas flow to the cutting area.

Most often, for plywood laser work are employed tubes ranging from 60 to 100 watts. High power and high speed with multiple passes will guarantee you a clean, beautiful cut.

Parameters of the plywood laser cutting machine

laser engraving plywood

How fast we can cut depends on the material’s thickness and the laser tube’s power. It is considered that for every 10 watts, there is 1 millimeter of plywood. However, it is not recommended to set the power constantly at 100%; the tube will not thank you and will have a shorter lifespan than it could have. It’s not advisable to set the power above 85%.

Examples of settings during the laser cutting:

— Let’s cut the 3 mm thick plywood:

  • tube 60 W: speed 18-20, minimal power 45%, maximum 65%.
  • tube 90-100 W: speed 35, minimal power 45%, maximum 65%.

— Let’s cut the 5 mm thick plywood:

  • tube 60 W: speed 12-15,  minimal power 45%, maximum 65%.
  • tube 90-100 W: speed 18-20,  minimal power 45%, maximum 65%.

—  9 mm thick plywood: When using 100W tube: power from 60 up to 80%, speed 10-14.

Of course, as with many other materials, you will need test cuts, as one tube may differ from another, as well as the material. Therefore, the settings we provide are just guidelines.


One of the key aspects of cutting plywood is air blowing, which removes particles and increases cutting speed. Additionally, it protects the focusing lens and controls the temperature in the cutting zone, reducing the risk of ignition. Air blowing has one of the most important and noticeable effects on the process: the cut becomes significantly cleaner.

We recommend setting the air blowing at 1.5–2 atmospheres.


During cutting, a lot of smoke is produced, which might impair the laser’s performance. The smoke originates not only from the wood, but also from the adhesive. Plywood is made up of many layers bonded together.

Along with the smoke, unhealthy fumes are emitted. We definitely do not need this, hence a proper exhaust system is essential to eliminate it.

How to choose a laser cutting machine for plywood

laser tube for cnc machine
  1. Working table

What exactly are you planning to produce? Souvenirs, small decorations — then use machine 0503.

Work area 500 x 300 mm
Tube power 60 W
Max engraving speed 700 mm
Dimensions 1040x650x575 mm

For plywood, which comes in the form of sheets and is used for advertising banners or furniture, three different models can be used depending on the sizes you are working with. Plywood often comes in sheets of 2440×1220 and 2500×1500, for which the 0203 machine is suitable. For smaller ones, such as those measuring 915×610, the 1210 model would be better.

Work area 200 x 300 mm
Tube power 40 W
Max engraving speed 700 mm
Dimensions 810x500x265 mm
laser cutting engraving machine for wood
  1. Laser tube

Here the choice depends on the thickness of your material. Before purchasing, it is necessary to determine either precisely or approximately in order to select the required tube with a margin.

  1.  Airblow and extraction

As mentioned above, these two things are very important in processing laser cut plywood. When choosing a machine, pay attention to their quality.


  1. CO2 laser cutting machines for plywood can significantly simplify working with this material: such processing will be faster and more precise than manual or mechanical methods. The process itself is cleaner and without chipping, and automation provides production repeatability.
  2. However, there are drawbacks: lasers cannot cut knots, which are sometimes found in plywood sheets; smoke is generated during operation, and there may be a burnt odor.
  3. Most common problems are edge burns and overburning. But these issues can be addressed.
  4. There are a big variety of laser cut plywood types. Birch, bamboo, beech, hoop pine, cherry and others. They have features that may determine your choice.
  5. There’s an important rule when working with laser cut plywood: the smaller the thermal impact zone, the fewer burn marks are along the cut.
  6. A powerful laser can quickly vaporize the material, reducing the time required for processing the workpiece. Additionally, a narrow laser spot increases energy density, allowing the laser to cut material faster.
  7. For laser cutting plywood, tube wattages of 60-100 are commonly used.
  8. Generally, for every 10 W, you can cut 1 mm of plywood. However, constant operation at 100% power is not recommended, as it can reduce the tube’s lifespan. It’s advisable not to exceed 85% power.
  9. Air assist is crucial for removing particles, increasing cutting speed, and protecting the focusing lens. We recommend setting air assist at 1.5-2 atm.
  10. During cutting, a significant amount of smoke is generated, which can affect laser operation. Good extraction is necessary to remove smoke and harmful fumes efficiently
  11. Select a plywood laser cutting machine size based on your intended production needs. Choose a tube based on material thickness. Ensure the laser cutting machine for plywood has quality extraction and air assist systems.
An Lee
We are happy to advice you from the very beginning
Contact us now.
Make a request
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