​Laser Cutting: A Guide to the Different Materials

Posted by Andrea Rosas on Mar 20th 2023

​Laser Cutting: A Guide to the Different Materials

Laser cutters are quickly becoming the go to methods for cutting of the industrial world. They offer precise and accurate cuts for many materials with ease. It is important to note that not all materials can be cut using the same machine. In this article we will discuss the different types of materials that can be cut and engraved, as well as the types of machines that can perform them.


Wood is the most popular material for laser cutting, as one can create intricate designs and shapes that would be difficult to do with traditional methods. A CO2 laser offers the best compatibility with cutting and engraving wood products. Different types of wood will require different power settings. Softwoods are easier to cut than hardwoods. Plywood is nor usually recommended, as only certain types of plywood can be used, such as those made of birch and bamboo. Wood can be used for a number of projects such as seasonal coasters, custom shelving for hobbies and for rooms. Laser cutter are also known for being used to make knick knacks such as models, puzzles, and toys.


Acrylic sheets are also popular in laser cutting. It is lightweight, durable, and comes in a variety of colors. CO2 machines are commonly used to cut acrylic, however CO2, Fiber, and UV laser machines can be used for engraving. The latter two are the preferred engraving method as those machines are less likely to cause damage to the material. Acrylic is often used to make earrings, keychains, molds, and even fish tanks. Remember to have a fire extinguisher nearby as paper can easily catch fire.


Paper is often used in laser machines. The machines are able to create intricate designs that are ideal for cards, invitations, bookmarks. The use of a laser machine is also making waves in paper crafting. Being able to engrave lines on paper is becoming popular with people who enjoy origami, as oftentimes people find it difficult to perform the precise folding required for certain designs. A CO2 machine is normally used at a low power setting to engrave the paper.


CO2 machines a/re used to cut and engrave fabrics, such as cotton, silk, and polyester. These materials are often used for clothes and other custom crafts. Synthetic fabrics, including those made of plastic material, should not be used as they can produce harmful fumes. Fabric containing metal fiber or coatings should also be avoided as they are able to catch fire and harm the machine.


Leather is a trick material to use. CO2 machines are able to cut certain types of leather on low power settings. Leather is usually cut to be used for items like costumes, belts, or home decor. The leather can also be used for accessories, like bags and wallets. Bonded and treated leather should not be used, as they are often treated with materials and chemicals that are not suitable for engraving.


Metal can be engraved using both CO2 and Fiber machines. However if you wish to cut metals a high powered fiber machine should be used. FIber laser can engrave a variety of metals such as aluminum, brass, copper, carbon steel, stainless steel, and titanium. High powered fiber machines are used in the automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing industries.

Laser cutters can cut a wide range of materials, each one with their own unique properties. It’s important to adjust the laser power for each material, make sure to check the recommended setting for a material and adjust accordingly, as not all settings will work the same on different machines. However with the right ones, laser cutting can create beautiful pieces that can decorate any area.