Plywood is very often used for various purposes and types of work. Plywoodis an inexpensive material, so it is most common in the manufacture ofvarious products: partitions, all kinds of decor, souvenirs, advertisingstructures, etc. In addition, it is quite easy to process, and thus a sheet ofplywood can serve as an excellent basis for creating any intricate patternintended for decoration.
Today it has become even more accessible, thanksto the milling of plywood with special equipment: CNC or laser cuttingmachines. Let’s compare these two methods.Laser cutting: peculiarities, pros and cons. Since the end of the 20th century,the scope of application of laser technologies by mankind has greatlyexpanded. A large number of equipment using laser radiation has beencreated and introduced, including machines for engraving and cuttingvarious types of materials. Laser equipment allows you to cut plexiglass,paper, cardboard, fabric, leather, ceramics, stone, wood, veneer, etc. And, inaddition, such a widely used material as plywood.
The essence and technological side of laser cutting: The laser is a source of light radiation, the properties of which are completely different from the properties of other light sources (incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps, flames, natural luminaries). The laser beam has some advantages. It is able to penetrate to great distances, while having a straight line in the direction.
The laser beam has a narrow beam, the divergence of which is very small. Moreover, the amount of heat is very large, so that the laser pierces holes in completely different materials. Also, the great value of light intensity cannot be compared with the intensity of even stronger light sources.
Based on the amazing properties of the laser beam, laser cutting has become a popular modern method of cutting materials, having unlimited possibilities for the manufacture of products of any complexity, even with an exclusive design in unlimited quantities. Laser cutting is based on a simple scientific fact – the concentration of a laser beam of a spot less than a millimeter on the surface of any material.
If the power of the laser beam allows, in this area, the material melts, fractures, evaporates, that is, the structure of the material itself changes. This is how laser cutting works. The laser beam is made a tool by a focusing lens located on the path of the beam a few centimeters from the surface of the material being processed.
Advantages and disadvantages of plywood laser cutting
Cutting plywood using a laser has many advantages, namely:
Exposure to the laser beam during cutting allows for non-contact processing of the material surface. When the plywood comes into contact with the laser beam, a sharp increase in temperature occurs, resulting in an increase in temperature in the micro-area of the beam and evaporates the moisture contained in the plywood. By the way, it is necessary to clarify that the seam has a minimum width of 0.01 mm, so the area of thermal influence is very small.
Smooth and neat edges of the cut even on small and refined details that indicates a very high quality of cutting and ready products. No physical effort is required during the plywood cutting process due to the CNC (numerical control) equipment and the minimum diameter of the laser beam. CNC and laser machines, due to the use of digital sketches of the desired product, reduce the complexity of the process of cutting parts of complex design and shape to a high degree. Also, additional surface treatment to get rid of defects, different roughness, etc. is not necessary after the process of cutting plywood with a laser. High speed of the laser machine that several times increases the productivity coefficient and reduces the financial costs for post-processing of the product. Despite the abundance of advantages of cutting plywood with a laser beam, this modern and popular method has several disadvantages:
High-quality laser equipment is quite expensive that increases the cost of laser cutting; during the cutting process, the edges of the parts are charred that leads to a less attractive appearance of the product. There is a risk of material fire. Constant blowing of the surface removes the combustion products from the processed edge, meanwhile, the cut still remains black; since the product is easy to damage, a high-skilled professional is required, the craftsman shall visually determine the type of the glue, the wood from which the veneer is made, etc. Conclusion: if you need to process too small parts and are not afraid of possible damage to the product, you can order laser cutting. As an alternative, CNC milling machines can be considered. Milling machines perform work using a milling cutter (cutting tool). Software control directs the tool and provides depth of impact on the material. This creates a relief surface or pattern. Also, the cutter does not char the edge of the cut and has a light shade.