There is a big demand of cutting wood and plywood on the market.
You may use Co2 laser, CNC mill or a diode laser for that.
The main question is to understand what type of wood or plywood can be easily cut with the laser and what laser cutting parameters should be used for it.
In the post, we will highlight the density of different wood and plywood types.
The density of wood and wood-based materials
To measure the weight of constructions the wood density should be taken according to the following table:
|Types of wood||Density (Kg / M^3)|
|Softwood:||Average to cut|
|pine, fir-tree, cedar, silver-fir||500|
|Hardwood:||Hard to cut|
|oak, birch, beech, ash, maple, horn-beech, acacia, elm||700|
|Softwood:||Very easy to cut|
|aspen, poplar, alder, linden||500|
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Images of wood and plywood types
- The density of freshly cut coniferous and soft hardwood should be 850 kg/m³, hardwood – 1000 kg/m³.
- The density of glued wood should be taken as non-glued.
- The density of ordinary plywood should be equal to that of veneer wood, and Bakelized plywood should have a density of 1000 kg/m³.
- The density of homodromous veneer wood is 500-600 kg/m³ and depends on the veneer wood.
Examples of soft plywood (laser ply)
Live test of a 10 watt ENDURANCE PLUS PRO cutting abilities
A reference table of the density of various wood species
|Wood density of more common species of wood|
|Species of wood||Wood density kg/³||Easiness to cut|
|Bird cherry tree||610||Above medium|
|European white elm||660||Hard|
|English field maple||670||Hard|
|West Indies mahogany||700||Very hard|
|Palisander||800 – 1000||Extremely hard|
|Pecan tree||830||Extremely hard|
|Dipteracarpus Alatus||850||Extremely hard|
|Coula nut||850||Extremely hard|
|Olive tree||900||Extremely hard|
|Sieva bean||970||Extremely hard|
|Sukupira||1 000||Extremely hard|
|Cumaru||1 100||Extremely hard|
|True ebony||1 080||Extremely hard|
|Black tree||1 160||Extremely hard|
|Quebracho||1 210||Extremely hard|
|Guaiacum or bakaut||1 280||Extremely hard|
|Main kinds of plywood|| (thickness and density)|
|Type||h (mm) ||p (kg/m3) |
|Standard||from 3 (mm) to 30 (mm)||650 (kg/m3)|
|Birch||from 1 (mm) to 12 (mm)||650 (kg/m3)|
|Bakelite||from 5 (mm) to 40 (mm)||1200 (kg/m3)|
|Decorative||from 3 (mm) to 12 (mm)||650 (kg/m3)|
Wood density is the ration of the wood mass to its volume. It is measured in kg/m3 . The wood density depends on its moisture content. All physical and mechanical properties of wood are determined at a moisture content of 12%. There’s a close relationship between mechanical strength and density. Heavier wood is more durable as a rule. Density is determined by the mass of a wood substance per unit volume. At a moisture content of 12% wood, depending on its density, can be divided into three groups:
An Endurance air nozzle ver 2.0 for your diode laser.
|Wood species||Density, g/cm3||Density, kg/m3|
|Siberian fir tree||0.66||660|
In an absolutely dry condition, the density is by 20-40% less than the one indicated in the table.
The wood density has a great practical meaning. The denser wood is heavier and harder and is more durable and harder to process. The denser wood is hard to be treated with wood preservatives, but it is more durable and wear-resistant when used for floors, stairs, railings.
If you substitute one wood specie for another one the volume (and, accordingly, mass) of the adhesive in one cubic meter will change very little.
You can find out the general adhesive mass in a cubic meter by subtracting, for example, the specific weight of dry pine (500 kg/m3) from the specific weight of pine plywood. It will make 50 kg.
To find out the mass of a cube of material from the veneer of larch, poplar or linden it is just necessary to add 50 kg to the weight of dry wood of the corresponding species.
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Our customer made and share
10 watt Endurance laser
I didn’t have any 3mm ply wood around. But i did have 5mm plywood and 9mm plywood.
So I thought, lets put it through the test. 9mm took about 20 passes and had to lower Z axis 5mm for last 10 passes. The 5mm did a clean cut no change to Z in <8 passes.
Videos to follow in post.
Watch video footage
If wood or plywood has a density less than 500 Kg/m^3 or 0.5 g / Cm^3 then it can be quite easily cut with diode, Co2 and CNC mill
Materials with a medium-density like, 500-700 Kg/m^3 or 0.5-0.7 g / Cm^3 would require air assist, very good focusing and a laser-cut speed would be lower and amounts of repeats will be higher.
Materials with a high density like 700-1000 Kg/m^3 or 0.7-1 g / Cm^3 would be very hard to cut and probably will require a professional powerful milling system or Co2 laser power more than 100 watt for clean edges. Diode lasers might only cut very thin pieces like 1-2mm (1/10”)