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Laser Plywood?????

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titchard

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Ok so i understand the grading system for plywood but cant seem to find a clear difference between laser plywood and interior plywood. I think it could have something to do with glue. Does anyone know if there is a big difference apart from obviously the price which is far higher or is there anyone here that uses interior ply on a laser cutter and does it make any real difference to use interior ply??

Thanks in advance
 

Jensmith

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I heard that laser ply burns less in a laser cutter and from what I've heard it is better than standard ply for that.
 

titchard

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Jensmith":2fbzfq27 said:
I heard that laser ply burns less in a laser cutter and from what I've heard it is better than standard ply for that.
Thanks for your reply.

I just read somewhere else that it burns less than exterior ply because that uses waterproof glue but i cant find anything that suggests it is different from interior ply.
 

James C

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Well with Laser MDF there is low or no Formaldehyde in the sheet to make it safer. In terms of the laser ply I used at previous schools I've been told that the different glue they use has less of a damaging effect on the filters as the standard glue more readily clogs it up.

How true this is I'm not sure. Please post any findings you make as my school ordered a Laser Cutter last week and I'd be interested to know if it's actually worth the higher price.
 

titchard

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Im going to ring all the timber merchants in leeds tomorrow and see what i can find out. I will let you know if i find anything useful out. I too will be getting a laser next week. Very exciting. I wish they had lasers at shcools when i was at them.
 

James C

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Yeah me too. I think I will enjoy having it more than the kids will. What sort of machine are you getting? I'm getting a small Denford with an a slightly larger than A3 size bed.
 

marcros

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titchard":2bajwpgl said:
Im going to ring all the timber merchants in leeds tomorrow and see what i can find out. I will let you know if i find anything useful out. I too will be getting a laser next week. Very exciting. I wish they had lasers at shcools when i was at them.
You might be better off ringing a cnc laser cutting firm who cut ply. Tell them that you are a school teacher, and want 5 minutes of advice and they will probably be happy to help. They are using it all the time. The merchants possibly only know what sells well, but they dont necessarily know when the cutters use one type over another. The users can probably tell you who to avoid, and when you can get away with alternative products too.
 

Aled Dafis

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The laser at our school is used extensively!! It's a fantastic machine, not only for cutting workpieces and engraving, but also for making router jigs etc.

It would be great to know if standard ply would be OK. The laser ply we're using at the moment comes from Technology Supplies and costs around £2 for a 600x400 sheet which isn't too bad.

Cheers
Aled
 

jhwbigley

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A friend of mine does not rate laser ply ( Comes from the same source as Aled's as well as the laser) saying there is little or no difference in the amount of burning, poor quality laminations and often warped.

I've used birch ply, areo ply and mdf in laser cutters, all worked fine.


JH
 

titchard

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James C":242tlg6n said:
Yeah me too. I think I will enjoy having it more than the kids will. What sort of machine are you getting? I'm getting a small Denford with an a slightly larger than A3 size bed.

Im getting one from HPClaser which is a local-ish company to me. The laser itself is a LS3020 model which has an A4 size bed.

Well after speaking to alot of timber merchants this morning I found that most of them talked to me like i was the stupid one yet they are the ones selling the plyboard and dont know the differences. Some of them did not seem to know what laser ply even was. Anyway, eventually I have has some success. I spoke to a timber merchant in leeds who knows what it is. Laser ply has different glue to normal interior or exterior ply, this reduces the burning marks on the ply itself which should be a light brown and not really dark and charred looking. Also it reduces the amount of smoke and goo thats comes out when cutting which is better for the lasers optics and cutting power. then to make things even better they are about 1 mile from my house and he will do do me a sheet of 1525 x 1525 for £20ish + vat which is cheaper than some other places i have been looking for none laser ply.
 

marcros

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titchard":3kia8apo said:
James C":3kia8apo said:
Yeah me too. I think I will enjoy having it more than the kids will. What sort of machine are you getting? I'm getting a small Denford with an a slightly larger than A3 size bed.


Well after speaking to alot of timber merchants this morning I found that most of them talked to me like i was the stupid one yet they are the ones selling the plyboard and dont know the differences. Some of them did not seem to know what laser ply even was.
I feared that would be the case!

Which merchant knew their stuff?
 

titchard

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marcros":22dooqgs said:
titchard":22dooqgs said:
James C":22dooqgs said:
Yeah me too. I think I will enjoy having it more than the kids will. What sort of machine are you getting? I'm getting a small Denford with an a slightly larger than A3 size bed.


Well after speaking to alot of timber merchants this morning I found that most of them talked to me like i was the stupid one yet they are the ones selling the plyboard and dont know the differences. Some of them did not seem to know what laser ply even was.
I feared that would be the case!

Which merchant knew their stuff?
It was Dragon Timber in Pudsey
 

mindmapper1

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Ok the difference is for health and safety really. laser quality MDF and Ply contain very low quantities of Formaldehyde where as 'normal' versions can have quite high levels.
The fumes from the 'normal' product can be harmful and can damage the equipment.
I am not a laser expert but I am a H&S consultant and trainer, using the wrong grade of material might harm your health and those of the people who might breath in the fumes produced even if it goes through an extraction system.
Yes these special materials are slight more expensive but you have balance the issues against one another.
I hope that helps. PS there are loads of suppliers of both laser quality MDF and birch plywood.
 

trsleigh

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I've got a HPC LS3020. This is a very basic, low powered beginner's machine. I find that laser ply supplied by HPC, 3mm and 9mm, cuts very well, with no problems. I've also made my own 6mm by laminating 2 x 3mm HPC laser ply using bog standard PVA glue, again no problems cutting.
However I've yet to find an alternative source. Some 9mm so called laser ply supplied by another supplier wouldn't cut through at all. Another supplier's 3mm required 100% power and much slower speed, resulting in far more charring around the cut.
I spoke to HPC about this and it seems some suppliers are marketing virtually any sort of ply as laser ply and getting the benefit of a bigger mark-up. :shock:
I would be interested if any other 3020 owners have found a supplier of ply that cuts well, preferably in London area.
 

Jensmith

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The chap I know who cuts some stuff for me uses SLEC. They do bigger laser cutting jobs and also sell the material. Quality seems 'ok' though we had problems with tolerance as not all 3mm laser ply is exactly 3mm apparently but I was making 3D models where the tolerance mattered. We got around it in the end by using tapers to make sure pieces would still lock together.
 

trsleigh

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Jensmith":jbn92s18 said:
The chap I know who cuts some stuff for me uses SLEC. They do bigger laser cutting jobs and also sell the material. Quality seems 'ok' though we had problems with tolerance as not all 3mm laser ply is exactly 3mm apparently but I was making 3D models where the tolerance mattered. We got around it in the end by using tapers to make sure pieces would still lock together.
Thanks, I'll phone them & try to get a sample or two.
 

Spooky

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Hiya,

Laserply has less inclusions in the mid section, many plys are filled with various fillers to cover inclusions in the cores.Lasers don't like cutting the filler that is used :)

B&Q ply and MDF contains various hazardous materials that can both damage the machine, the extractor and the operator.

To remove the staining from laser cut ply you need air....LOTS of air , it reduces carbon build up and keeps the cut line clean. Lasers are great but don't let anybody kid you into believing they can cut very thick materials, they can't. For anything over 12mm ply (good laser ply) you need a router not a laser.

Based on experience of cutting lasers between 50 watts and 7.5K watts.

Good choice going with HPC, Chris Jacobs is a very clever chap and knows more about the machines than pretty much any UK vendor (I don't work for HPC but have owned a few of their machines)

I would be interested if any other 3020 owners have found a supplier of ply that cuts well, preferably in London area.
Hindleys, Hobarts, Jennor Timber, DHH Timber, HPC Lasers, Avon Plywoods are some of the best (read: most economic) and all supply quality sheet.

as not all 3mm laser ply is exactly 3mm apparently
3mm laser ply can vary between 2.7mm and 3.5mm, MDF is very stable and 3.2mm MDF will only usually vary by 0.05mm +/-, the worst is Cast Acrylic, that varies by +/- 10% + 0.4mm so a 3mm sheet can be between 2.4mm and 3.6mm. Extruded acrylic varies by roughly +/- 0.1mm in general.

Just don't try cutting any PVC's, they liberate toxic chlorine gas :)

hope that helps a bit

best wishes

Dave
 

trsleigh

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Spooky":z4nfc06j said:
Hiya,

I would be interested if any other 3020 owners have found a supplier of ply that cuts well, preferably in London area.
Hindleys, Hobarts, Jennor Timber, DHH Timber, HPC Lasers, Avon Plywoods are some of the best (read: most economic) and all supply quality sheet.

best wishes

Dave
Thanks Dave

Yes, HPC laser ply 9mm works fine.

Unfortunately I've already tried Hobarts 9mm "laser ply", totally unusable by my LS3020.
Have you had actual experience of the plys listed by any of the others on your list?
I could Google every supplier claiming to sell laser ply and order from each in turn
but I was hoping to find a supplier that another LS3020 ( or similar ) could vouch for in practice.
I really don't want to keep wasting money on stuff that doesn't work. :(

Toby
 

Spooky

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Hi Toby,

Sadly the only UK vendor of Laser "Lite Ply" is HPC, the core of theirs is a much less dense material so can be handled by a 40 watt tube (or 35 watt in the case of the 3020).
The real facts of lasers are that to cut 9mm standard laser ply or ply in general you need power...LOTS of power 150 to 180 watts would be considered normal for 9mm and even then it will only cut at around 10mm per second (while leaving horribly burned edges)

A quick rule of thumb for laser power is double the thickness for a given speed requires 4x the power.

For example if your 3020 cuts 3mm ply at 14mm per second, doubling the thickness to 6mm will cut at 14mm per second on a 120 to 150 watt machine.

Same numbers reversed,

If the 3020 cuts 3mm ply at 14mm per second then to cut 6mm with the same tube you would need to run at 4mm to 5mm per second.

I've used supplies from all of the named dealers on tubes from 35 watts to 200 watts and the results are always within the above figures.

One of the biggest issues I have with Laser vendors (Chinese and Western) is the wild claims they make about their machines cutting ability. Silly claims like "cuts 40mm acrylic" and "will cut 18mm MDF", while true in one sense (a given beam will eventually penetrate pretty much any thickness) for all practical purposes it is plain wrong.

Without considering "special" materials like HPC's lite ply the following is a rough guide of what a given power will do (machine type doesn't make any difference, it's the tube power that defines what it can do)

The following can be assumed to be a maximum "sensible" thickness of plywood (confiding semi decent speeds / cut rates) (I don't see 1 to 1.5mm per second and burned to hell edges as sensible)

35 watt 4mm thickness
60 watt 4mm to 6mm thickness
80 watt 6mm thickness
120 watt 6mm to 9mm thickness
150 watt 9mm thickness
150 to 180 9mm to 12mm thickness

Other than when using specialist HPC Ply or balsa wood, or expanded specialist styrenes a 3020 fitted with a 35 watt tube is totally unsuited to cut anything of 9mm thickness wood , plastic or otherwise.

sorry it's not better news

best wishes

Dave
 

trsleigh

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Spooky":31xug616 said:
Hi Toby,

Sadly the only UK vendor of Laser "Lite Ply" is HPC, the core of theirs is a much less dense material so can be handled by a 40 watt tube (or 35 watt in the case of the 3020).
The real facts of lasers are that to cut 9mm standard laser ply or ply in general you need power...LOTS of power 150 to 180 watts would be considered normal for 9mm and even then it will only cut at around 10mm per second (while leaving horribly burned edges)

A quick rule of thumb for laser power is double the thickness for a given speed requires 4x the power.

For example if your 3020 cuts 3mm ply at 14mm per second, doubling the thickness to 6mm will cut at 14mm per second on a 120 to 150 watt machine.

Same numbers reversed,

If the 3020 cuts 3mm ply at 14mm per second then to cut 6mm with the same tube you would need to run at 4mm to 5mm per second.

I've used supplies from all of the named dealers on tubes from 35 watts to 200 watts and the results are always within the above figures.

One of the biggest issues I have with Laser vendors (Chinese and Western) is the wild claims they make about their machines cutting ability. Silly claims like "cuts 40mm acrylic" and "will cut 18mm MDF", while true in one sense (a given beam will eventually penetrate pretty much any thickness) for all practical purposes it is plain wrong.

Without considering "special" materials like HPC's lite ply the following is a rough guide of what a given power will do (machine type doesn't make any difference, it's the tube power that defines what it can do)

The following can be assumed to be a maximum "sensible" thickness of plywood (confiding semi decent speeds / cut rates) (I don't see 1 to 1.5mm per second and burned to hell edges as sensible)

35 watt 4mm thickness
60 watt 4mm to 6mm thickness
80 watt 6mm thickness
120 watt 6mm to 9mm thickness
150 watt 9mm thickness
150 to 180 9mm to 12mm thickness

Other than when using specialist HPC Ply or balsa wood, or expanded specialist styrenes a 3020 fitted with a 35 watt tube is totally unsuited to cut anything of 9mm thickness wood , plastic or otherwise.

sorry it's not better news

best wishes

Dave
Thanks for the comprehensive reply.
So my question ought to be who else supplies Lite Ply similar to HPC's.
This is what I'm worried about, if for any reason HPC stop supplying their ply, it seems I'm a bit stuffed unless I can find an alternative source.

I find that their 9mm cuts ok on 40% power at speed of 10mm/s.
IMAG0158.jpg

However I can get a much stouter 9mm ply by laminating together 3 of their 3mm ply giving a nicer 9 ply. this cuts ok at 40% power at 7mm/s. This is fine for what i want to use it for but a bit expensive compared to buying 9mm in the first place.
So. I'd have to disagree that the LS3020 is totally unsuited to cut ANYTHING of 9mm as it cuts the mustard for me, albeit using special materials from HPC.
That's not to say that it wouldn't be nice to be able to afford something with more oomph.

Toby
 

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