3.8W Laser Cut Settings - Starting Point?

I’ve started testing the cutting capabilities and so far haven’t had any success.

  • Can the 3.8W cut 1/4" ply?
    a. I know it depends on the type of wood and other settings, but what is a ballpark cut setting?

Is 1/8 the max? I would get that 1/4" ply would be slower, just am clueless on what is a reasonable ballpark setting

I tried a number of different power settings and laser speeds and was not able to cut through 1/4" ply from the big box store. All it did was char things really good.

Has anyone done this successfully? If so, what power settings?

When I was three, my mother had one of the stove eyelets on high and it was glowing a pretty crimson red. She said “don’t touch that it’s hot”.

At three years old I learned to resist the temptation to do crazy things.

The ‘laser’ (may or may not do this every time…)

Yea, I have had that struggle… then I accidentally left a piece of paper under the laser when turning it on to full power. that was a very quick burn!

I had hopes that I could cut and carve with the laser, but from what I’m finding it looks like the cutting will have to be with the spindle and then carving done with the laser. Slight bummer, since wanting to cut some nice detailed cutouts. Guess that’s why people buy the expensive Glowforges or the powerful eBay ‘lasers’

i stuck my finger in the laser. it hurts lol. not recommended

I noticed on mine when I first set it up to try some etching in a piece of cedar, with the laser on full power and focused 1" above the cedar, it cut almost an 1/8" into the wood while travelling 45IPM. I had to turn the power down and increase the speed (I have not measured what the power is set at yet) to etch the wood.

I refocused it to 1". I will try at 3" tonight to see what the results are.

And we’re talking about the focus ring to manually focus the laser? I thought I read (so now I do this) where I re-focus the laser with every work piece? Do y’all not do this, but just set the laser height to exactly 1.5" above the workpiece every time and this means it’s focused?

(also, messes with my eyes that a ‘focused’ laser isn’t a small dot, but looks like a sliver… )

You might find this useful.

I did a few tests and I get a much finer line running the laser at 1" above the workpiece. I tried 1", 2" and 3"…1" was the best.

From the J-Tech Blog:

The HF lens included in the kit has the smallest focus to closer to the work surface you get. On all of the lasers, the closer to 1″ you get the smaller your beam will be.

Rough graphic, but super fine lines around the cards.

If you try and align the major ellipse axis at a 45 degree angle with respect to X and Y you will get X-axis lines and Y-axis lines that are approximately the same width.

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I don’t yet have an x-carve, I used open build parts and some electronics from different sources to build a 1.6 watt. Depending on the material you can cut with multiple passes, but etching is more fun honestly


and also distance from material typically doesn’t matter, it is the focus of the laser. I have set material on the floor and my laser on a set of saw horses and it burned the material just as well as if it were inches away