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Cut Balsa Wood

Today I tried to cut balsa. First tried 4.8mm. After some tries I got to power 100% speed 10mm/s and 5 passes. On the table it says 5mm balsa should be cut in one pass. Even 1.8mm I have to make 2 passes 12mm/s. Do I have something wrong? I did focus the laser, and final cut on another side is pretty thin. What could be the issue?


  • We ran the tests back then with our laser diode set to a maximum power of 2.2amps. For all the kits, we are setting the default power to 1.8amps. This is what the manufacturer's recommended maximum current level is and will give you the longest diode life.

    You can try and increase your laser's maximum current level (explained in the users manual). This will give you more cutting power but could reduce the longevity of your diode.

    In the longevity tests we ran, a current level of around 2.2-2.3 amps causes the laser diode to die after approximately 2 weeks of continuous running at that power. This test is not conclusive since all diodes have variations within them.

    Also, they type of balsa wood (density, grain, color) will have an impact on how well it cuts.

  • Thanks for the explanation. I am fine with 1.8A and would prefer longer diode life rather than cut speed, just worried there is something wrong with my setup as result was significantly different than yours.. Probably it would be good to mention this difference on kickstarter project, where that table with materials is, to avoid people confusion. I saw that some people mentioned that it would be very good to provide reference settings for various materials as a starting point, I am +1 for that. It will save a lot of time on one side and will allow to detect if there is something wrong on another. Wiki would be the best I think.
  • We are working on a material database at the moment.

    It may initially be something we maintain ourselves but ultimately we would like to have users enter their own results.
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