Vectric Settngs with OPT 15W

I have engraved a few things and cut .125 ply but I have been experimenting with cutting .25 Baltic Birch ply to make clock gears. However, in VCarve Pro I believe I have to have a cut depth of .01 rather than .25. If I use .25, the Z axis movement is greater than the 4mm height the laser sets and it runs into the workpiece. 100% PWR, 10 IPM

My very basic question is - what feed/speed settings should I use (am currently trying 50% and 10 IPM) and is my assumption about setting 6 passes with a total depth of .01 correct or is there a better way to get multiple passes and not hit the workpiece?

Hopefully I will eventually feel comfortable with an alternative to my 1/16" bit for gears. Thanks in advance.

Update - I remembered that I had a shorter nozzle that came with the laser but I could not find any documentation about when to use it. I did find documentation that said to remove the nozzle when cutting thick material.

So I set zero Z using black paper and installed the short nozzle (which is 0.330 in shorter than the standard nozzle). I reset the depth of cut to .25, 6 passes and it cut through with much better focus. But let’s say there is a bit of charring on the cut. The surface charring is OK, that started on the 5th pass and was easily sanded off.

I am still curious to know what power and speed I should use and is my new process reasonable or is there a better way?

The 15W cuts 0.125" great. One pass, 100% power and 12-15ipm.

However, 0.25 is pushing it, I never got great results on 0.25", the power just isn’t high enough and the focal length long enough for that thick of material. However, if I were going to cut that, i’d probably run 100% power and 20ipm and then whatever number of passes it takes to get through.

Thanks Jim. Your videos are the greatest. Those settings work much better. Saved me some more experimenting and smoke. It chars quite a bit, but can do it. I think I will only use it when I have a super intricate design in a gear. Otherwise, just for marking and engraving.

Another thing I want to try is cleaning rust off steel. I have engraved steel with it, so getting rust out of a crevice seems possible.

That will be interesting, let us know how that works. I once had a severely clogged up spark arrestor screen on my weed eater that I cleaned up with a crosshatch fill toolpath and my 15W laser. Of course a torch would have been a lot faster, but whats the fun in that? :slight_smile: