A Laser cutter can easily engrave, mark and cut wood and other wood composite materials.
Lasers are a good option when working on flat wood surfaces.
With proper settings, a laser can effortlessly engrave and cut wood.
I wrote this article after considering some of the best laser cutters for working on wood.
Each of the laser machines is discussed in detail to help you choose the one you need.
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Best Wood Laser Engravers and Cutters 
Lasers are highly popular for engraving on wood because of the vivid, contrasting finish it creates.
It can also be used to cut through thin sheets of wood but the cut parts will have a dark burnt finish on its edges.
Typically, a laser can make cuts as deep as 1/2" by doing multiple passes on wood.
Lasers remove material by focusing a beam of light and burning the material off.
This means you need to adjust the focus to remove material layer by layer.
For deep cuts, this can be tedious and it is also a fire hazard.
If you want to make cuts deeper than 1", the most appropriate choice is a wood CNC router.
I selected these laser cutters and engravers after evaluating them on parameters such as size, material capability, laser power, upgrades, service, assembly, work area, laser safety, linear guide, and software used.
ATOMSTACK A5 PRO is a 40W laser engraver and cutter with an optical power of 4.5W - 5.5W.
This diode laser has a wavelength of 445±5 nm and provides an engraving accuracy of 0.01mm.
A5 PRO uses a fixed focus laser configuration. You have to manually adjust it up or down depending on the material thickness.
The deepest cut ATOMSTACK A5 PRO 40W laser can do is 1/2", but you will have to do multiple passes.
Footprint and Work Area
ATOMSTACK A5 PRO has a footprint of 23.6" x 22.5" and a height of 10.6".
It has a full-metal aluminum build, and it weighs around 8.8 lbs.
The total work area you can get from the ATOMSTACK A5 PRO is 16.14" x 15.7".
ATOMSTACK A5 PRO is belt-driven on its X and Y axes. The gantry is guided using V-wheels over the aluminum frame.
The Z-axis does not have any linear motion components, to change the Z height you will have to loosen the module and move it up or down manually.
ATOMSTACK A5 PRO can work on wood, leather, cotton, rubber, paper, brass, stainless steel, cotton foam, and acrylic with such power.
While working on wood, in a single pass, it can engrave basswood or similar hardwoods at a speed of ~118 ipm with an S-Max of 800.
You can cut 1/8" thick basswood at a speed of ~6 ipm with an S-Max of 1000.
In a single pass, It can engrave bamboo at a speed of ~118 ipm with an S-Max of 800.
You can cut 1/10" thick bamboo at a speed of ~7.5 ipm with an S-Max of 1000.
ATOMSTACK A5 PRO supports LaserGRBL, which is open-source software.
It is an easy-to-use software that supports Windows OS (Win XP / Win 7 / Win 8 / XP / Win 10).
The best option for Mac OS users is LightBurn, a paid software.
You can learn how to set up the driver and run the programs from the user manual provided by AtomStack.
ATOMSTACK R3 Rotating Engraving Axis is a belt-driven add-on modular rotor attachment to the ATOMSTACK A5 PRO laser cutter.
It has an all-metal structure and is compatible with most engraving machines in the market.
You can adjust the rotary height by raising its footpeg.
The engraving diameters can be adjusted in 8 steps by changing the angle of rotor handles, and the engraving diameter can be as small as 0.15" to 3.9".
- Easy to operate and install: This R3 laser rotary roller engraving module is pre-installed, no installation, no adjustment, ready to use after unpacking. link the engraving machine and the computer system, more intelligent.
- Overall Optimization: The R3 Y-axis rotary roller has many humanized designs. Such as concentric design, adjustment-free timing belt; Closed design, the motor is not exposed, safer; Roller protruding design, no obstruction, unlimited length of engraved objects.
Y-axis Extension Kit
The Y-axis extension kit expands the cutting or engraving area of ATOMSTACK A5 PRO by 190%.
It adds 17.7" of work area and you will get a total of 33.4" of work area along the Y-axis.
ATOMSTACK A5 PRO is shipped in a single package that weighs around 11 lbs.
Everything comes safely packed in a thick foam with pockets for each component.
You can assemble and set up the machine in about an hour.
AtomStack has detailed videos and documented assembly guides that you can refer to.
AtomStack has a support email available on their website to contact their support team.
They provide after-sales support to all their products.
If any of the parts in the A5 Pro laser breaks down, you can request a replacement.
Overall, it is a budget-friendly laser engraver/cutter that you can use to work on wood.
- First Choice for Creative: Atomstack laser engraving machine can engrave various materials like metal, wood, bamboo, plastic, leather PCB board, aluminum oxide, lacquered metal, etc. You can create your own engraved work for your favorites, realize your imagination.
- Excellent Laser Engraving Technology: A5 Pro laser cutter with 5~5.5w output power with 0.19mm ultra-fine compression laser focus area, the engraving accuracy reaches 0.01mm, which makes more refined engraving process, it makes easy cut on wood and acrylic.
OMTech K40 uses a 40W CO2 laser with an estimated lifetime of 1000 - 1300 hours.
It has a wavelength and frequency of 10640nm and 20 - 100kHz, respectively. The laser has a precision of 0.01".
In addition, the machine has a red laser pointer that can help line up the laser to the point you want to cut or engrave on the workpiece.
K40 has a control panel through which laser power can be adjusted. It also has a laser power display that shows the current power settings.
Footprint and Work Area
OMTech K40 is a desktop laser cutter and engraver. It has an enclosed setup that locks the workpiece and shields the laser reflection.
With a 32" x 20" footprint, K40 has a 8" x 12" cutting/work area and weighs around 48.5 lbs.
In OMTech K40, the Y-axis and the X-axis use a sturdy wheel on rails configuration driven by a belt drive to move the laser module over the work area.
OMTech K40 laser cutter can work on wood, acrylic, glass, fiber, ceramic, textile, leather, paper, melamine, rubber, anodized aluminum, plastic, and other non-metal materials.
It can engrave at a maximum speed of ~822 ipm at a depth ranging between 0.008" and 0.12".
OMTech K40 is not suitable for cutting hardwoods like mahogany but can cut most softwoods.
Using the 40W laser operating at 100% of its power, K40 can engrave on 1/4" thick alder wood and wood laminates at a speed of ~65 ipm and cuts it at speed of ~10 ipm in a single pass.
OMTech K40 supports K40 Whisperer, LaserDRW, and Inkscape software.
You will get a copy of the LaserDRW extension plugin for Inkscape with the machine. It will be either provided on a CD or flash drive.
Using the LaserDRW plugin, you can make designs and then engrave or cut out those designs from the workpiece using the laser.
K40 Whisperer is the control software of the OMTech K40 Laser cutter. It is an open-source program and can be downloaded from their website.
OMTech K40 uses a water pump to liquid-cool the laser during its operation. The machine has inlet and outlet tubes on its side which can be directly connected to the pump.
You'll also get a collapsible exhaust pipe with the K40, which has to be connected to its exhaust fan. It is used to vent out fumes during the operation of the machine.
The accessory bag will also have the power cable, USB 2.0 cable, a flash drive or a CD-ROM with software, a software safety key, a 2" acrylic laser focus tool, silicone sealant, and a user manual.
OMTech K40 comes preassembled with all the accessories in place.
Including all the software setups, It will take about an hour to set everything up for running the first job.
OMTech Laser provides a two-year parts warranty for all 40W laser machines and a six-month warranty for laser tubes and power supplies rated below 60W.
They have active community participation across their official community forum, Facebook group, YouTube, and Reddit.
You can contact them through phone, email, and the contact form on their website.
- DESKTOP CO2 LASER: Whether professional engraver or inspired DIYer, this K40 40W home laser engraver from OMTech will allow you to bring your ideas to life with greater speed and precision than ever before, cutting up to 1/8" through plywood or acrylic; the advanced features of its intuitive digital control panel and bundled Windows-compatible editions of LaserDRW and WinsealXP will let you create and recreate even your most intricate designs perfectly
- VERSATILE 8x12 BED: The spacious 8x12 inch workbed provides 0.7 square feet of room to fit regular projects and gives you extra 2" height for thicker materials once the vented level board is removed; the stabilizer clamp fixes irregularly shaped items securely in place for accurate engravings
FLUX beamo uses a 30W CO2 laser that operates at an average wavelength of 10,640nm.
It can engrave at a maximum resolution of 1,000 dpi.
Footprint and Work Area
FLUX beamo is a desktop laser cutter that weighs around 48.5 lbs.
With a 24.21" x 17.52" footprint, beamo has a work area of 11.8" x 8.2" and can work on materials with a maximum thickness of 1.7".
FLUX beamo is belt-driven across its XY axes. A linear rail supports the X-axis, and two sturdy cylindrical rods support the Y-axis.
FLUX beamo can work on wood, acrylic, leather, cardboard, bamboo, fabric, rubber, anodized metals, glass, cement, and stones.
It can easily cut 1/10" thick wood pieces. However, on hard wood, you will need to take it slow.
Cutting a 1/4" plywood is a challenging task for FLUX beamo, even at multiple passes.
A 1/10" thick wood board can be cut at a speed of ~9 ipm utilizing 80% of the laser power.
The same piece of wood can be engraved at a speed of ~62 ipm utilizing 100% of its power.
Doing multiple passes on wood produces a lot of smoke. Beamo has an integrated ventilation system that extracts smoke and fumes.
The software setup of FLUX beamo is simple, they provide the Beam Studio software for controlling the laser engraver.
Beamo can interface with Beam Studio software through ethernet or using the included WiFi adapter.
The color touchscreen on the machine can be used to guide through the menu options and pair with the computer.
Beam Studio is free-to-use software available for Windows, Mac, and Linux OS. It is easy to use and has preset for different materials.
It uses basic shapes for making simple designs but can also import file formats like SVG, JPG, PNG, or DXF onto Beam Studio.
FLUX offers many add-on features like a rotary system, autofocus attachment, and hybrid laser technology for FLUX beamo.
FLUX beamo comes in a pre-assembled package. You can set everything up in about 30 minutes.
It comes with a color-printed user guide with assembly, setup, troubleshooting, and support details.
FLUX provides a one-year warranty for beamo and a 3-month warranty for the CO2 laser.
You can reach out to their technical staff either through phone or email.
FLUX beamo has community engagements on Reddit, Facebook, and the forum on flux3dp.
Glowforge Plus uses a 45W CO2 laser system that operates at an average wavelength of 10,600nm.
It has an autofocus feature that scans the surface of work materials and adjusts the focus accordingly.
The autofocus feature works internally by adjusting the lens.
Footprint and Work Area
Glowforge Plus is a desktop laser cutter with a footprint of 38" x 20.75" and a cutting area of 11" x 19.5".
It has a safety enclosure that allows you to look at the engraving process without safety glasses but it is recommended to wear them when working with lasers.
The laser won't cut or engrave when the enclosure is open.
Glowforge Plus can accommodate materials with a thickness of 2" in its work area.
The linear guide system in Glowforge Plus is built using custom extruded aluminum rails.
It is belt-driven along the XY axes and uses V-wheels to slide through the rails.
Two stepper motors drive the Y-axis to prevent it from racking.
The 40W laser used in Glowforge Plus can cut and engrave on wood, paper, fabric, cork, cardboard, rubber, leather, mylar, Delrin, and more.
It can also engrave on materials like glass, stone, marble, titanium, ceramic, and anodized aluminum.
Glowforge Plus can engrave on a 1/4" thick poplar wood at a speed of ~60 ipm utilizing 100% of its power.
The same thickness of wood can be laser-cut at a speed of ~24 ipm when run at full power.
Glowforge has a free OS-independent web interface that controls the laser.
You can access the web interface through internet browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Etc.
It can be used to import and use file formats like JPG, PNG, SVG, PDF, and more.
You can make designs on the software of your choice and then import them into the web interface in any supported file format.
The interface works with the onboard camera which shows a live preview of the work area. It helps visually align the design with the workpiece by dragging and resizing it the way you want.
When you hand-draw a design on the workpiece and place it on the work area, the camera will track the design and help cut it through visual feedback.
If you are not familiar with computer-aided design or if you want to leave a personal touch, you can hand draw the design onto the workpiece and have Glowforge trace it out for you.
Glowforge has an add-on air filtration system that can be connected with Glowforge Plus's exhaust.
You can consider purchasing the air filter if you intend to use the laser in a less ventilated space like your basement as it will filter out the harmful fumes produced while cutting with a laser.
Glowforge Plus has a modular design, and it comes in a half-assembled form.
You'll have to attach the gantry and laser heads once you unpack the machine. It can be assembled in 30 minutes.
Glowforge has provided detailed document guides on assembly, and some users themselves have made YouTube video guides explaining the assembly process.
Glowforge provides a limited six-month warranty for the Glowforge Air Filter and a one-year warranty for the Glowforge Plus laser cutter.
For queries, you can contact their support team through phone or email.
Glowforge has a dedicated community forum for its users to discuss and share ideas.
- YOUR IDEA, IN YOUR HANDS, IN MINUTES – Push the button and the powerful 40 watt laser creates meaningful gifts for your friends, unique products to sell, or something personalized just for you.
- SIMPLY AUTOMATIC– Autofocus. Material detection. Automatic print settings. Just pick your drawing, PDF, or photo, add one of dozens of household materials, and click print.
FSL Muse 2D Vision laser cutter comes with a 40W CO2 class 3 laser.
It has an average wavelength of 10,600nm and a maximum resolution capability of 1000 dpi.
Footprint and Work Area
FSL Muse 2D Vision is a desktop laser cutter with a footprint of 32.3" x 20.3" and a cutting area of 20" x 12". It has a Z-height of 2.5".
The machine's work area is fully enclosed and has a metal build. The completely enclosed design makes it safer to operate the laser.
FSL Muse 2D Vision is belt-driven across its XY axes. A linear rail supports the X-axis, and two sturdy cylindrical rods support the Y-axis movement.
The gantry is slid across the work area by using V-wheels.
You can upgrade the Z-axis with a ball screw drive to achieve motorized real-time autofocus capability.
FSL Muse 2D Vision can work on wood, acrylic, cardboard, fabric, rubber, anodized metals, glass, cement, stones, and more.
A 1/4" thick pinewood can be cut at ~12 ipm using 90% of its power and it can be engraved at a speed of ~235 ipm by utilizing 50% of its power.
FSL Muse 2D Vision works in sync with RetinaEngrave v3.0, an OS-independent browser-based software.
It will work with browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox, and more.
You do not have to worry about downloading and setting up anything.
RetinaEngrave is hosted on the laser machine's local web server, so an internet connection is not needed to access the software.
You can control some major functions of the laser directly from its 7" LCD touch screen.
Muse 2D has an optional upgrade of a 45W CO2 laser available. You can choose this option when buying the FSL Muse 2D Vision laser bundle.
Full Spectrum Laser (FSL) have four optional lenses to choose from, they are 1.5", 2.5", 1.5"+2.5", or a 5".
FSL also has other upgrade options like an air exhaust, rotary riser, and Intel RealSense 3D Camera.
FSL Muse 2D Vision comes preassembled, but you have to connect the water cooler and fume exhaust.
You can assemble and set up the machine for your first job in about 30 minutes.
FSL has detailed videos and documented assembly guides for Muse 2D Vision that you can refer to.
FSL provides a one-year parts warranty for Muse 2D Vision. They also have an optional two-year warranty extension plan.
Muse 2D has user participation across its FaceBook group, YouTube, and Reddit.
You can contact FSL through phone, email, and social media handles for quick and reliable customer support.
Trotec SP Series Laser Cutters and Engravers- Industrial Laser
The best bet for large-scale and heavy wood laser cutting applications is an industrial-grade laser machine.
Trotec Laser is a decades-old company based in Austria and has a good reputation for the quality of its products and customer service.
Their SP series of CO2 laser (class 2) cutting machines are a good solution for 24x7 production environments.
These machines are excellent for shop fitting, architectural model making, signage making, and furniture manufacturing.
|Laser power||60 - 400W||60 - 400W||100 - 400W||60 - 200W|
|Footprint||121" x 154"||99" x 127"||111" x 80"||76" x 49"|
|Working area||87" x 126"||66" x 99"||59" x 49"||49" x 28"|
|Maximum workpiece thickness||2"||2"||2"||4"|
|Maximum processing speed||2,340 ipm||2,340 ipm||3,900 ipm||6,000 ipm|
A comparison chart of the SP series of laser cutter machines
SP series of machines use laser power ranging between 60 - 400W depending on the configuration you choose.
They use ultrasonic sensors to measure the distance between the laser and work materials. It then autofocuses the laser-head accordingly.
Trotec uses an integrated air flushing system to protect the lenses and linear guides from dust and fume stains. The air flush is connected to an exhaust system.
Footprint and Work Area
SP series of machines have a large work area to place large and lengthy workpieces.
You can get an SP with a minimum of 76" x 49" and a maximum of 121" x 154" footprint. Their work area ranges between 49" x 28" and 87" x 126".
In material capability, the SP series of machines is an allrounder.
It can readily cut and engrave wood, acrylic, plastic, leather, paper, and textiles. On glass and stones, it only engraves.
Three machines under the SP series work on 2" thick materials. Only the SP500 laser cutter can work on 4" thick materials.
SP's 60 - 100W CO2 laser can easily cut and engrave on wood like balsa, alder, cherry, maple, birch, basswood, poplar, cedar, pine, oak, walnut, mahogany, laser plywood, MDF, and more.
Trotec uses their software called JobControl to control their machines. It has an extensive material library with many preset settings.
JobControl will work with CorelDraw, Photoshop, AutoCAD, Illustrator, InkScape, Word, and more such software.
You can also send your designs to JobControl using the print driver on your PC.
Trotec Ruby is a new control software that they have recently rolled out. It is currently available as a beta version.
Trotec promises durability of 10-years for all their laser machines.
For the housing unit, print (CPU, motor, axis, main), power supply, control board, compressor, belts, water chillers, and laser assembly, Trotech provides two years of warranty.
They provide a warranty of about three months for the laser optics.
You can contact Trotec Laser through phone, email, or visit any nearby Trotech office. They have offices across many countries.
Trotec Laser provides an excellent after-sales service to all their customers.
SP series of laser machines are generally priced high than other generic laser cutters because of their high-quality configuration and equipment.
Each machine Trotec Laser provides is individually configured according to the requirements of their customers, So they have not set any fixed price for their machines.
Laser power, linear motion, work bed, enclosure, lenses, accessories like cooling, exhaust, autofocus, and rotary attachment are the significant factors that influence the price.
You can contact Totec Laser and ask for the price details according to your choice of laser machine configuration.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What types of wood can I cut or engrave using a Laser?
You can cut or engrave many types of wood using a laser. The best and most commonly used wood for laser cutting and engraving are balsa, alder, basswood, poplar, cedar, pine, oak, walnut, mahogany, cherry, maple, birch, and laser plywood.
What is Laser Life?
Laser Life is the period for which a laser will last. For example, a typical CO2 laser will last for three months to three years depending on the usage, and it will have a lifetime of about 1000-2000 hours. As the laser is run at high power, the laser life reduces. If the laser is run at low power, it will run for a much longer time.
What is S-Min and S-Max in lasers?
S-Min and S-Max in laser cutting are different power modulation values used in LaserGRBL for laser engraving applications. S-Max is used for black and S-Min for white engraved pixels.