Wood in nature has a very different fate. Some low-quality wood was simply used as fuel and quickly disappeared without a trace. Some have been transformed into various furniture or tools to provide convenience for people’s lives. However, there are other woods that can be loved and cherished. This wood is never pure wood, but a work of art or craft engraved by a laser machine.
Laser engraving technology taps the potential value of wood. A rough or even messy piece of wood is worthless until it is carved. However, laser engraving technology is not as easy as we say. Why? This article aims to give you some explanation with 6 tips on how to laser engrave wood.
1. Low-viscosity masking tape
Before carving the wood, cover the surface of the wood with low-tack tape. In this case, there will be no brown or grey spots on the surface of the wood caused by smoke. When you’re done, remove the tape and you’ll find it’s cleaner than usual. This method can be time consuming if you are working on some very detailed projects. A paint scraper can then be used to speed things up.
2. Denatured alcohol
After the engraving work, prepare a bottle of denatured alcohol and a white cloth to clean the burn marks. Two things to note here – you must spray the alcohol evenly to protect the engraving, and you should use a colorless cloth (such as white) to wipe the burn marks without getting smudged by the dye.
3. Burn at 1200 DPI
Higher engraving resolutions can be achieved by adding more dots per inch (DPI). More DPI usually means more laser shots. Therefore, if this method is used, the wood can be burned deeper, so two carvings may be required. Therefore, you should strike a balance between sculpting resolution and time spent.
4. Take back your attention 0.2″
Do not set the focus of the laser automatically, but manually. You can use a digital caliper to lower the laser bed by 0.2 inches, which reduces mess and smoke. This way, not only will the carved plank surface be cleaner than ever, but you’ll spend less time cleaning the plank surface. This method is especially recommended when sculpting very detailed projects.
5. Use real hardwood for large carvings
Our past sculpting experience has taught us that plywood doesn’t work as well as we thought. Then we chose hardwood for large carvings for 3 reasons. First of all, the texture of the wood surface is consistent and beautiful. The second is that hardwood is heavier than plywood, which can guarantee higher carving quality. The last one is that the hardwood surface can be completely controlled.
6. Do some woodcut experiments
Although we don’t machine plywood very well compared to hardwood, we do think you can carve plywood perfectly with skilled craftsmanship and an advanced carver. It is recommended to do more engraving experiments on different kinds of wood to find a better laser solution.
Laser engraving wood is a common technology in the laser engraving industry, but further mining the great value of wood is the eternal mission of laser engraving technology and machines. Therefore, we still have a long way to go in improving laser technology and processes.