The Beginner’s Guide to Laser Engraving Wood in 2022

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One tool that should be on every woodworker’s wish list is a laser engraver. Powerful and precise, these machines can produce items that are both functional and heirloom-worthy. And most woodworkers are using the Ortur Laser Master 3 laser engraver. You must know why, because Ortur is a very good manufacturer of laser engraving machines.
Time to learn how to carve wood
Laser engravers effortlessly cut through thick materials by burning the surface of the material, which creates a wider range of options for small projects than typical craft or vinyl cutters. CNC routers may be fine for larger projects, but their attention to small details cannot match the precision of a home laser engraver.

Don’t know where to start? Check out HTPOW’s comprehensive lumber application guide to enhance your knowledge of lumber types, project ideas, and sourcing factors. Let you be more good at using your laser engraving machine.

How Does a CO2 Laser Engraver Work?
A CO2 laser engraver works by supplying electricity through a gas-filled tube (a mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen, and helium) with mirrors at both ends. Through this process, a powerful light (laser beam) is generated inside the laser tube and is reflected by three mirrors into the focusing lens, which focuses the laser beam onto the target material.

The laser beam produces intense infrared rays that are invisible to the human eye. First, its long wavelength easily cuts, engraves, and marks wood, cloth, paper, glass, and leather without touching the surface. The excess heat from the laser then evaporates the cut material, leaving a smooth, precise surface.

Advantages of CO2 Laser Engraving Machine
Here are a few reasons why industrial manufacturers, custom print shops, and DIY enthusiasts trust CO2 laser engravers:

No Contact – The laser beam does not physically contact the target material, with minimal damage to the material and machine integrity.
Affordable – Routers are low-maintenance machines with inexpensive replacement parts.
SAFETY & SECURITY – No need to adjust the sharp blades, the laser beam is sealed in the lightbox.
Consistent Accuracy – Get clean cuts and smooth finishes every time.
Versatility – Engraves on a variety of materials including wood, leather, glass, acrylic, and metal.
Best Wood for Laser Engraving
Wood is one of the best mediums for laser engraving. It has a natural and classic feel, making it perfect for a variety of projects. However, the type of wood used and its inconsistencies can have a major impact on the final product. Learning these different types is essential to your understanding of how to carve wood.

For high-quality, professional engraving, choose a light wood with minimal streaking. A lighter shade of wood will create a more recognizable contrast. The resin content of the wood determines the tone of the carving (from light to dark). A high resin content will produce a dark burn, while a low resin content will result in a lighter burn.

We recommend the following wood types for the best laser engraving results:

Balsa wood
Wood Carving Ideas

1. Personalized Souvenir
Precious photos create lasting memories that friends and family love to share. Offer your clients custom engraved pictures that can be passed down from generation to generation.

Personalization doesn’t stop with photos. Other laser engraver project ideas include a piece commemorating a milestone, engraved wood signs, custom holiday decorations, home decor, accessories, and more.

2. Mosaic
Easily create intricate inlays by combining the power of cutting and carving to build cabinets, furniture, cutting boards, musical instruments, bowls, and more.

3. Prototyping
Use scrap wood to create sophisticated patterns for prototyping projects. Before the advent of laser engravers, this kind of pattern work was time-consuming and out of reach. Now you can use laser systems to achieve your creative and sales goals.