See also:

Generative Design






LEARN, The Catalogue 


Post a question to Media Centre


This document shows some examples using wood and the various properties it has which can be explored using the laser cutter.


Wood has been used for thousands of years as a construction material. The grain found on all types of wood, is caused by the structure of wood. Wood consists essentially of fine cellular tubes, which carry water and dissolved minerals from the roots to the leaves and which are arranged more or less vertically within the trunk. This usually forms straight-grained lumber.
As a laser cutting medium, wood can be used in traditional and modern styles, and is an excellent medium for new designs. Wood is used in forms of modelling, sculpture, decoration and design. Wood offers a fascination, beauty, and complexity in the grain, which often shows even when the medium is engraved or painted.
Depending on the type of wood used different effects can be achieved. Wood comes in different forms – from its natural state as cut planks or boards to engineered wood panelling which can be in the form of laminated veneers or composite panels.


Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is an engineered wood product formed by breaking down softwood into wood fibers, often in a defibrillator, combining it with wax and a resin binder, and forming panels by applying high temperature and pressure. It is a building material similar in application to plywood but made up of separated fibers, not wood veneers. It is denser than normal particle board. The laser cutting outlines state that only MDF up to 3.5mm thick can be used in our laser cutter, however with the correct settings it is possible to cut 5mm or greater.
Advantages of using MDF --
-       MDF is relatively cheap, compared to say plywood
-       It has a uniform finish
-       Predictable due to its uniform density
-       It is very easily worked due to its uniformity
Disadvantages of using MDF --
-       Appearance


Plywood is a type of engineered wood made from thin sheets of wood veneer, called plies or veneers. The layers are glued together, each with its grain at right angles to adjacent layers for greater strength. There are usually an odd number of plies, as the symmetry makes the board less prone to warping, and the grain on the outside surfaces runs in the same direction. The plies are bonded under heat and pressure with strong adhesives, usually phenol formaldehyde resin, making plywood a type of composite material. Plywood is sometimes called the original engineered wood.
­­­Advantages of using plywood --
-       Resistance to cracking, shrinking, twisting/warping
-       High degree of strength
-       Much more natural finish than MDF
-       Made up of layers which gives interesting possibilities for engraving
 Disadvantages of using plywood --
-       More expensive than other wood paneling
-       Possibility of delaminating with fine detail

Cutting wood:

Wood is an excellent material to laser cut. Very high detail can be achieved especially when using MDF. The density of wood and the ease of cutting mean that cuts can be made as close as 0.5mm to each other or even less.


Engraving wood can achieve very good results, with very fine detail. Hardwoods like walnut, oak, mahogany and maple produce good results. Softwoods can be judiciously engraved but tend to vaporize at less-consistent depths. Burning a softwood with a fan blowing on it requires lowest power, quickest speed of cut, and enough airflow to extinguish what is trying meanwhile to ignite





External links:



First published Mon. 1 Feb. 2010.

  • No labels