Is your laser cutting unevenly causing projects to come out all messed up?
Don't fret! It is a common issue that most laser users encounter at least once in a while.
I'm Unni, and I'm a laser engraving expert. In this guide, I will explain the four possible reasons why your laser is cutting at uneven depths and how you can resolve it.
1. Uneven Spoilboard
A warped spoil board or an uneven cutting bed can lead to inconsistent laser focus, resulting in uneven cuts.
This happens because when placing your workpiece on a warped surface, the workpiece will probably be inclined and lead to non-uniform laser focus.
Apart from the spoil board, the issue can also be in the work bed that you use, such as a honeycomb bed.
If the honeycomb bed that you use has undergone some physical damage, leading to indenting or deformation of the surface, the workpiece placed over that deformed surface will not lie flat and lead to non-uniform laser focus.
Resolving Warped Spoilboard Concerns
An uneven spoilboard can be spotted either by visual inspection or by a wobble test.
To inspect visually, bring your eye level in line with the edge of the spoil board that is in contact with the base table and look for any warps in the material.
Apart from that, you can gently press the spoilboard in each corner to test if there is any wobble.
After checking the corners, you also need to check the center of the spoilboard.
While warping in the middle will not wobble the board, you can feel the board bulging out or caving in, which can prevent the material from laying flat on it.
To rectify this issue, you need to replace the spoilboard with a new one that lies perfectly straight.
Generally, a metal sheet or an MDF board is ideal for a spoil board as they are less likely to warp or bend over time.
2. Worktable Anamolies
While a warped spoilboard is easily identifiable, a misaligned work table can be trickier to detect.
This occurs when the surface of the workbed itself is not perfectly level and can sometimes even be the cause of a wobbling spoilboard.
So, if, upon inspection, you realize that the spoilboard is perfectly flat, then it is likely that the issue is with the work table itself.
Identifying Worktable Defect
To identify the defect, measure the distance between the laser head and the table top at all four corners and the center. If the distances vary significantly, the worktable is misaligned.
To rectify this issue, note down the variation and make adjustments to the setup so that the distance between the laser and the worktable is uniform throughout.
The ideal method is to place risers under the laser engraver to make sure it is at a uniform height at each corner.
However, if the tabletop is warped beyond correction, it is preferable to replace the tabletop.
3. Non-Uniform Material Composition
Apart from issues in the setup, uneven cuts can also be caused due to defects in the material.
Material like plywood can often contain glue spots or knots underneath the top layer, which prevents the laser from cutting through the material in some regions.
Apart from plywood, non-uniform cuts can also be an issue in wood with heavy grains, as the grains are comparatively denser than the rest of the wood.
Addressing Material-Related Laser Cut Irregularities
To resolve this issue, you can use Lightburn's "Cut selected Graphics" option to run the laser over selected parts of the design and make a thorough cut.
Apart from that, you can avoid this issue by using high-quality materials that ensure uniform composition and minimal glue spots or other defects.
4. Worst Case Scenario- Laser Hardware Issues!
If everything else seems to be okay and your laser is still struggling to make a clean cut, then it is time to look for the fault in the laser module.
First, make sure the laser focus is set right.
Second, use optimal laser settings. A very high speed when cutting intricate designs can also cause the laser to accelerate and decelerate non-uniformly, leading to uneven cuts.
Finally, if everything else fails, then it might be possible that your laser source is worn out, and you need to replace your laser source.
By addressing these issues systematically, you can troubleshoot and enhance your laser cutting precision.