If you have ever tried engraving wood with a laser engraving machine, you might have noticed burn marks or some discoloration on the surface and edges of the object. It usually happens to almost every beginner who does not know how to avoid it.
The yellowish color and burn marks completely ruin the appearance of the engraved/cut object. Whatever you have created appears to be dull and less attractive. The worst part is that you cannot easily take off the burn marks, and the yellow stains usually never go away. Thus, prevention is necessary while using a laser on wood.
In this article, we will discuss why burn marks and discoloration happens on wood. We will discuss the causes and the ways to prevent it. We will also share some of the best machines you can use for engraving wood and the best wood types you can go for.
What Causes Burning Marks During Laser Engraving or Cutting Wood?
The output of laser modules is quite powerful; it is capable of engraving and cutting wood and other hard materials without any hassle. The laser beams increase the temperature of the surface rapidly and engrave/cut the object.
Therefore, many users think that burn marks on wood after laser engraving is due to the high-powered laser, but it is not true. Undoubtedly, an intense power can burn wood, but if you adjust the power and speed accurately, it will never leave burn marks because of the power and speed.
The main cause of burn marks is the fumes produced during laser engraving leave the burn marks. The fumes have dark particles that stick to the surface and sides of the wooden object. The yellow discoloration also happens because the temperature of the smoke is quite high. It changes the original color and turns it into yellow.
Thus, if you want to get rid of the burn stains, you need to take care of the smoke produced during laser engraving/cutting.
What is the Best Wood for Laser Engraving without Burning?
The burning of wood is certain if you do not take care of the smoke and select the right speed and power settings. It does not depend on the type of wood.
Thus, to prevent burning, you need to take preventive measures and do what is required. However, you can pick suitable types of wood to get the best results.
If you are using softwood, such as alder, you need to lower the power setting and increase the speed of the laser. The softwood does not require too much power and long interaction of the laser. Therefore, if it is overexposed, you will see burn marks.
Secondly, the wood containing higher resin content is more likely to get burn marks. However, if you use the right accessories and adjust the power and speed appropriately, you can even use wood with higher resin content.
Some of the best wood types for engraving are,
Ways to Prevent Burn Marks from Wood Engraving/Cutting
With the help of some tips and tricks, accessories, and adjustments, you can easily prevent burn marks on the wood. We are going to share some of the effective ways that will help you prevent burn marks. You can choose the most suitable one or apply them one by one.
1) Use Masking Tape
If you want to get rid of surface burns during laser engraving, then it is the best method. Before engraving, you can apply masking tape to the surface of the wooden object. The burn marks will appear on the tape, and the wood will remain safe. It is the most cost-effective solution, but it cannot prevent the burn marks on the edges that appear when you cut the wood using a laser.
2) Use Honeycomb Panel
If you have got burn marks on the back of the wood, then it is probably because of the surface or bed under the laser machine.
When the laser machine engraves or cuts the object, the smoke and fumes flow at the bottom of the object. It causes burn marks that are visible. Therefore, an appropriate panel is necessary to offer optimal ventilation and easy passage of the fumes.
The honeycomb panel is the best for this purpose. It accelerates the exhaustion of the fumes and prevents the change of color of the object. Plus, it also protects the table or the surface on which you are using the laser machine.
3) Air Assist
Air Assist is the key role player of the laser engraving machine. It gives a powerful air blow that moves the debris and fumes away from the object.
The reason behind the change of color of the surface is the accumulation of hot smoke. The Air Assist reduces the temperature of the material surface and prevents burn marks and the change of color.
4) Adjust the Power and Speed
Sometimes, the power and speed are not adjusted appropriately. Therefore, before engraving on any object, it is better to run a power speed test. It will give you a better idea of what power and speed you need to select.
5) Apply Water
Applying water can also prevent burn marks on the wood. You can apply water to the surface. It works well on thin pieces of wood if you can easily submerge them into water. Due to water, the fumes do not affect the surface of the wood.
Solution: Best Laser Engraving Machines for Wood
xTool D1 Pro+ xTool D1 Pro Air Assist Set
xTool D1 Pro is an incredible DIY laser engraving and cutting machine. It is a diode laser machine and can offer the utmost precision and accuracy.
It is ideal for engraving and cutting wood and a wide range of materials, including metals. Its one-of-a-kind technology and commendable features make it an excellent choice for laser enthusiasts, beginners, DIY lovers, professionals, artists, and small businesses.
There are three types of laser modules available for D1 Pro. The 5W laser module is what engravers search for. Its laser spot measures only 0.06 x 0.06mm, which delivers ultimate precision and fine details.
Then, there is the 10W module for engraving as well as cutting. It can cut up to 6mm of basswood in one pass and engrave metal as well. The laser spot measures 0.08 x 0.06 mm.
The 20W laser module is the world’s most powerful diode laser module that can cut wood without any hassle. It can cut up to 10mm of basswood in only one pass.
It is recommended to have all these laser modules for engraving and cutting a wide range of objects and use the suitable module for the task.
Another incredible property of xTool D1 Pro is accuracy. The machine is made of metal, and there are steel wheels and rods for the movement of the laser module. All these things ensure optimal accuracy of up to 0.004 inches for the movement and 0.007 inches for repositioning.
The compatible Air Assist of DI Pro is also available, and you can buy it with the machine. Its powerful blow prevents discoloration and burn marks. It offers perfect engraving as well as cutting results without any hassle.
The machine can engrave and cut almost any type of solid wood and plywood without leaving burn marks. Its wide working area and risers allow you to work on a wide range of objects. Plus, you can also use the extension kit to double the area for engraving larger pieces of wood.
xTool M1 is our second-best machine for engraving and cutting wood. It is a hybrid diode laser and blade cutting machine. It is suitable for making gift items and customized products.
This machine is suitable for engraving fine details with its tiny laser spot of 0.08 x 0.08mm. The 10W variant can cut up to 8mm of basswood in only one pass. The ultra-fine engraving offers a precision of 0.01mm.
The machine is equipped with a built-in camera that helps you align the laser module easily and realize visual processing. You can also process multiple objects at a time as it can detect the objects through its AI system. Most importantly, the machine is capable of adjusting the focus according to the material.
xTool Laserbox Rotary
Laserbox Rotary is a very powerful CO2 laser machine that can engrave and cut wood with perfection and accuracy at a very high speed. Due to the CO2 technology, it is compatible with a wide range of objects, including different types of wood.
The machine is perfect for small businesses, professionals, school students, designers, and hobbyists. Its 40W powerful laser tube can cut as well as engrave.
The features of Laserbox Rotary are exemplary. It has a built-in camera that assists in the position of the laser, material recognition, AI focus. Plus, you can draw anything on wood with red and black pens. The machine considers the red line for cutting and the black for engraving. It is intelligent enough to detect the ink and cut and engrave the object as required.
The machine also has a smart smoke purifier that removes the smoke from the machine and filters it out. It ensures proper ventilation in the working area. Thus, the object does not have any burn marks. Moreover, it is equipped with safety features that detect the opening of the lid, overheating, and water cooling.
The burn marks on the wood appear due to the accumulation of smoke. The particles stick to the surface and change the original color. However, with the help of some tips & tricks and accessories, it is possible to avoid laser marks. We have shared a few effective ways that you can try. Plus, we have shared some of the best machines that can do wood engraving with perfection and cleanliness. The laser modules are specially designed for engraving, and the accessories help in preventing burn marks.
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