To be really suitable for cutting, wood must meet a few conditions.
Wood can only be cut up to a certain thickness. Depending on the type of wood and your laserhead variant, the maximum thickness that Mr Beam can cut is between three and ten millimeters under perfect conditions and laser parameters.
In addition to the type of wood, the quality and processing of the wood also has a great influence on the cutting performance. On the one hand, it is important to use wood that has as few knots and grains as possible, and on the other hand, it also depends on how the wood is manufactured. For example, with classic plywood from the hardware store, the front and back may be sold with mostly B quality or lower. Also, a thick glued middle layer or deep grains can interfere with the laser so it can't cut through the material.
When processing materials, small dust and debris particles are produced which contaminate the laser head and thus impair the cutting performance. This is a normal process and not a big deal. It's just important to keep cleaning your laser head. You can also roughly look up how often this should be done in the settings under Maintenance. Keep in mind, however, that this is only a guideline. Especially if you process a lot of wood that emits more particles than, for example, felt, it may well be that you have to clean the laser head earlier. We also have a detailed article in the Knowledgebase that explains everything step by step.
Most of the dust and debris particles mentioned above are sucked out of the unit with the help of the suction hose. This then directs them either out of the window or, ideally, into the Mr Beam Air Filter System. Depending on which version you have purchased. In the Air Filter System, the exhaust air is filtered through pre-filters and main filters and finally released as clean air. As a result, dirt particles are deposited in the filters, which is why they need to be replaced from time to time. Otherwise, the exhaust air can no longer be properly extracted from the Mr Beam. The particles now floating around in the housing obstruct the laser beam of your laser head and so it can happen that the cutting power no longer reaches the material that you are actually used to.
You can roughly check when you need to change the filters in the Mr Beam software in the settings under Maintenance. However, this is also only a guideline, so it is advisable to take a look at your air filter system from time to time to see if the filters are still in order. You can tell that the filters need to be replaced by the fact that the pink/white colour of the pre-filter mat/cartridge is no longer visible because it is completely covered with particles. For the main filter, it is best to shine a torch under the grille and check how dirty the fins underneath are. Here you can see a comparison between a fresh and a dirty main filter.
In order for the laser to know how it should work, the correct laser parameters must of course be set. As a guideline, you can of course always use the default settings for the respective types of wood. However, as already explained in the first chapter, not all wood is the same, so it may be that you need different parameters in some cases. In our article on laser parameters you can read exactly which parameter does what. In addition, you can learn everything you need to know about the correct parameters for wood in the following video by our cooperation partner "Euer Konstantin" (tutorial for the Mr Beam II dreamcut).
Another method to improve the cutting result using the laser parameters is the Progressive Cut in the advanced settings. This setting progressively slows down the laser head with each subsequent pass. This increases the laser impact on the material as the laser light penetrates deeper into the material. This could be helpful if the difficulty in cutting the material persists even with many passes.
Depending on the design, this setting can also help save time by reducing the number of passes. In addition, this setting also helps to reduce traces of smoke. When using the progressive cut, it is important to set the speed a little higher at the beginning of the laser job, as the speed is reduced with each pass. If the laser head is moved too slowly, smoke marks or burn marks can occur on wood.
You can also find more information on this in the article linked above.
The penetration time is the time in which the laser burns into the material without moving at the beginning of a new cut or engraving. If this time is too short, it can lead to shapes and lines not being processed completely at the beginning, especially with light-coloured materials such as plywood. If this is the case, you can activate the advanced settings when setting the laser parameters and adjust the pierce time there. You can find more details in this article.
A very simple problem can also be that the laser head is not properly focused. The laser beam leaves the laser head in a cone shape and has the "tip" of the cone 1 cm below it. This is where the most precise focusing is, which is why the most exact cuts are made here and the cutting performance is the highest.
To achieve this focusing, the Mr Beam comes with a focusing tool that you can place under the laser head to set the correct height. A distinction is made between coarse focusing using the carriage on the X-axis of your device and fine focusing using the knurled screw on the side of the laser head. We have broken down in detail how the focusing works in this article.