What Can a 100 Watt Laser Cut?

What Can a 100-Watt Laser Cut

The 100-watt machine is pretty handy at manufacturing hubs but it is a favorite among hobbyists as well. You can use it to cut through lots of materials for your home-based laser engraving business.

But what exactly can a 100 watt laser cut?

A 100-watt laser cutter will cut a sheet of aluminum like a stick of butter. That is why its commonly used in industries associated with metal fabrication and textiles. You can also use it to cut materials like acrylic, cardboard, ceramic, leather, wood, granite, marble, and more.

The materials that a 100-watt laser can cut

The list of materials that can be cut using a 100-watt laser cutter includes:

  • Acrylic (3mm, 6mm, 12mm, 25mm).
  • Leather
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic that can be lasered
  • Paper
  • A one-eighth inch of MDF
  • Rubber Stamp
  • Wooden planks

What to remember when using a 100-watt laser cutter on different materials

  • When cutting acrylic, you may want to keep switching the speed of your machine for a fine and quick cut. For example, speed 15 is good to carve on a 6mm acrylic sheet. But you need to turn down the speed to 1 for an inch of the material.
  • It is very easy to scorch a sheet of paper with a 100-watt laser. So, start by cranking up the speed to 400 and adjust it slowly until you get your sweet spot
  • A 100-watt laser works great with sheets of different thickness (3mm to 12mm in thickness). Always remember to use a transfer tape if there are any signs of scorching. Control the speed of a laser cutter according to the thickness of the wood. 50 is a good speed for 3mm wood and 5 is ideal for half-an-inch or 12mm.  

Can you engrave with a 100-watt laser cutter?

Even though we have established that the 100-watt laser machine is great for laser cutting, you can also use it for laser engraving. The materials you can engrave on include;

  • Acrylic
  • Glass
  • Aluminum that is anodized
  • Ceramic
  • Leather
  • Brick
  • MDF
  • Cardboard
  • Rubber stamp
  • Foam
  • Wood
  • Marble and granite
  • Metal
  • Plastic

To engrave with precision, ensure that the lens is right on focus. Always keep a transfer tape handy to rule out the chances of the material getting too heated or scorched. A 100-watt laser cutter is pretty powerful. Keep tabs on the speed of your machine at all times. It differs for various materials. Most engravers will come with a user manual that gives all these details so make sure to follow the instructions provided. For instance, engraving a brick might need a speed of 35 while engraving a sheet of plastic might need a speed of 400.  

What are the advantages of laser cutters?

1. Precision – There are multiple cutting methods available. Thermal cutting for instance. Even then, a laser-cut is reckoned as the finest in standard. When you are trying to carve on material like textile or a sheet of leather with the finest accuracy, there is nothing finer than a laser cut.

The laser machine uses a powerful beam to pinpoint and cut through the material seamlessly. The scale of tolerance varies from 0.003mm to 0.006mm. A laser-cut achieves an accuracy that is unparalleled.

2. Speed – A precise laser cut can be achieved in a jiffy. Regardless of how challenging or intricate the design might appear; a laser cutter gets the job done quickly and efficiently.

3. Fits the Budget – Yes, a laser engraver can cost tens of thousands of dollars but if you are just an enthusiast, you don’t have to buy an expensive one. In fact, there are lots of great engravers under $1000 that will get the job done.

Here is a link to my pick of the best laser engravers under $5,000.

Here is a link of my pick of the best laser cutters under $500

4. No Damage – There’s often a misconception that a laser-cut can damage the material especially if it is thin. But the truth is a laser-cut is not only crisp but also neat and price. It does not warp the surfaces of any materials. In fact, the beam is incredibly powerful and cuts through the material in the bat of an eyelid. So, you don’t have to worry about damage and distortion of your material.

5. Low Power Consumption – A laser cutting machine uses very little electricity to operate. Old and traditional cutting tools, on the other hand, consumes a great deal of electric power to run. A laser cutter uses less than 10kW of energy.

6. Maximum Utilization and Minimum Waste – Precision in work is one of the main selling points of a laser cutting machine. A laser-cut is right on point and does not cause any damage to the material. So you can work on a bulky project without wasting lots of material due to damage as would be the case with other cutting options.  Additionally, the laser cutter can be used for lots of different functions in addition to cutting. You can use it to engrave, emboss, and even drill through your material to achieve your desired artistic design.

Final thoughts

Traditional cutting methods like thermal and water-jet may still be in use today but they are messy, expensive and too complex. However, cutting with a laser is a quick, inexpensive, efficient and fun too. And as we have established, you can use a 100-watt laser machine on lots of different materials. And the best part is you don’t need to be a pro to work with a laser machine – just install it as per your user manual and you are good to go!