Laser engraving and cutting wood

Published on: 07/24/2017
  • Chipboard
  • Cork
  • Multiplex
  • Natural wood/ real wood
  • Plywood
  • Precious woods
  • Solid wood, solid timber (eg meple wood, teak wood)
  • Veneers

There are many advantages to incorporating a laser machine into your work flow. The most significant of these being precision; Trotec lasers can cut within a tenth of a millimetre in precision. Additionally, the non-contact processing saves time and lets your process the thinnest wood materials.

Laser machines are great at cutting out fine, articulate shapes that would either be very difficult or in some cases impossible to cut by conventional means.

In addition to cutting, laser machines also offer the option of marking or etching on the wood surface, which opens potential in customisation or introducing a textured effect in your wood creation, creating a desirable contrast on the one piece of wood.

Tips for laser cutting wood and laser engraving wood

Will the laser always produce a dark mark on woods?
Yes. Wood lasering is a sublimation process, meaning the solid material is converted directly into a gaseous state through combustion. In the case of wood, this can leave a dark burn colour around the edge of the cut or a deep mark. However, this is not bad, and very often actually desirable. You can reduce the dark mark by accurately focusing the laser and selecting the appropriate parameters. Optimum optics and good supply of compressed airflow will also assist with achieving a high quality cut and engraving result.

Also note, different woods will yield slightly varying results. In regards to engraving, the brownish-coloured laser engraving is well known. When laser engraving a varnished wood, you can also achieve a white engraving.


Can I process any type of wood with the laser?
Since wood is a natural material, the simple answer is yes. However, there is a lot to consider when marking, cutting and engraving a wood product such as its density and the resin content of the wood. Soft woods for example such as balsa require significantly less laser power and can be cut more quickly. Hardwoods on the other hand are dense and require more laser power. For MDF, which consists of glued wood fibers, Trotec recommends using compressed air.

Aftercare maintenance for your laser
Any material which is processed through sublimation will produce gas and smoke, some more than others. Trotec strongly recommends following post-cleanup procedures after processing your materials. It is always recommended that the optics are kept clean and free from residue, this will ensure longevity of your optics and best possible engraving results in the future. Powerful extraction is also recommended, this will this keep the engraving area relatively free from smoke and smaller particles.

Human kind has been working with wood since the dawn of time, it is no wonder that to this very day it remains a popular go-to material for so many applications.

From toys and crafts through to prototyping, architectural models and construction, wood can often be used to create exactly what you want.

The advent of laser technology has made it even easier to work with this material, with laser machines capable of marking, cutting and engraving. Numerous industries have flourished from the benefits of incorporating a laser machine into their workflow.

A Trotec laser can cut, mark and engrave so many things, including toys, crafts, arts, souvenirs, Christmas decorations, jewellery, architectural models, gift items and more. A laser engraver can also be used to add additional value to existing wooden products in the form of inlays and marking, adding a personalised touch to a product.

Trotec lasers can cut thicknesses up to 20mm and process a variety of wood types:

Wood Consumables

Trotec Laser has added a range of woods, specifically finished for premium laser engraving results. The range includes a variety of solid wood and veneered woods – perfect for craft, toys, jewellery, model making and much more.

For further information on our growing woods range, please visit our webshop:

Learn more about working with wood, customer reviews and more by visiting our Wood Applications page.

Laser engraving and cutting Wood