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CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness, Speed & Power Chart (25-200W)

Last updated:
March 26, 2024

Table Of Contents

CO2 laser cutting is a vital manufacturing process widely recognized for its precision, efficiency, and versatility. This technology utilizes a carbon dioxide laser to cut through materials such as acrylic, wood, paper, fabrics, and various metals. The key to optimizing laser cutting lies in understanding the relationship between the laser’s power, the cutting speed, and the thickness of the material being cut.

Manufacturers and fabricators rely on thickness and speed charts as guides to achieve the best cutting results, ensuring that the laser operates at the right balance to produce clean cuts without damaging the material.

Adhering to a CO2 laser cutting thickness and speed chart is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps in minimizing material wastage by reducing the potential for errors that lead to imperfect cuts. Secondly, it allows for the maximization of machine throughput by enabling operators to determine the most efficient settings quickly.

These charts detail specific recommended settings, such as power levels and cutting speeds, tailored for various material types and thicknesses. They serve as a starting point that can be further refined depending on the intricacies of individual projects and the desired finish quality.

Thickness & Speed Chart Breakdown

A CO2 laser thickness and speed chart is an essential tool, providing users with specific parameters that ensure optimal cutting performance for various materials. It maps the correlation between the laser cutter’s power settings, the speed at which it operates, and the material thickness it is capable of cutting.

Chart Interpretation Guidelines

When reading a thickness and speed chart, it is important to recognize that these charts serve as a starting point:

  • Laser Power (Wattage): The wattage determines the laser’s capability to cut through materials. Higher wattage allows cutting through thicker materials or at faster speeds.
  • Material Thickness: Usually measured in millimeters (mm), indicating the maximum thickness that can be cut at various power settings.

Material-Specific Cutting Parameters

* Remarks (laser power is 95%)

1. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For Acrylic

MaterialAcrylic (mm/s)
Thickness3mm5mm8mm1cm15mm20mm25mm30mm35mm40mm
25WMax Speed841——————————————
Optimal speed52————————————————
40WMax Speed15843————————————
Optimal speed1052——————————————
60WMax Speed20105421————————
Optimal speed157320.80.3————————
80WMax Speed25129631.50.5——————
Optimal speed208531.50.50.2mm.s——————
100WMax Speed3015107420.80.3————
Optimal speed25106420.70.3——————
130WMax Speed35171285310.50.2——
Optimal speed301285310.40.3————
150WMax Speed40211511741.80.80.40.1
Optimal speed351510741.50.80.50.1——
180WMax Speed45251816952.51.30.60.2
Optimal speed40181210621.20.80.30.1
200WMax Speed553025201175310.5
Optimal speed452515138431.50.70.3

Acrylic cutting should pay attention to air flow control, and the air blowing on the material surface should be smaller or side blowing, so as to ensure the smoothness of acrylic; There shall be air flow at the bottom of the material to prevent fire.

2. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For Die Cutting & Creasing Plate

MaterialDie cutting & creasing plate
Thickness15mm18mm20mm
25WMax Speed——————
Optimal speed——————
40WMax Speed——————
Optimal speed——————
60WMax Speed——————
Optimal speed——————
80WMax Speed——————
Optimal speed——————
100WMax Speed——————
Optimal speed——————
130WMax Speed4mm/s2mm/s——
Optimal speed3mm/s1.2mm/s——
150WMax Speed6mm/s4mm/s2.5mm/s
Optimal speed4.5mm/s2.5mm/s1.8mm/s
180WMax Speed8mm/s5mm/s3.5mm/s
Optimal speed6mm/s3.5mm/s2.5mm/s
200WMax Speed11mm/s8mm/s6mm/s
Optimal speed9mm/s6mm/s4.5mm/s

The focus and air flow control shall be paid attention to when cutting the die cutting & creasing plate. The larger the air flow is, the faster the cutting speed is, the smaller the air outlet hole is, and the greater the force acting on the unit area of the material is; It is recommended to use a focusing lens with a focal length of more than 100mm, so that the focal depth is long and the knife seam accuracy can be better achieved.

3. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For Density Board (high density board)

MaterialDensity board (high density board)
Thickness3mm5mm10mm15mm18mm
25WMax Speed5mm/s2mm/s——————
Optimal speed3.5mm/s————————
40WMax Speed9mm/s5mm/s——————
Optimal speed7mm/s3.5mm/s——————
60WMax Speed15mm/s10mm/s3mm/s————
Optimal speed12mm/s8mm/s——————
80WMax Speed20mm/s13mm/s5mm/s————
Optimal speed15mm/s10mm/s3.5mm/s————
100WMax Speed23mm/s15mm/s7mm/s2.5mm/s——
Optimal speed18mm/s13mm/s5mm/s————
130WMax Speed25mm/s18mm/s9mm/s4mm/s——
Optimal speed20mm/s15mm/s6.5mm.s3mm/s——
150WMax Speed30mm/s21mm/s12mm/s7mm/s4mm/s
Optimal speed25mm/s18mm/s9mm/s5.5mm/s——
180WMax Speed33mm/s25mm/s14mm/s9mm/s5mm/s
Optimal speed28mm/s21mm/s11mm/s7mm/s4mm/s
200WMax Speed40mm/s30mm/s18mm/s12mm/s8mm/s
Optimal speed35mm/s25mm/s15mm/s10mm/s7mm/s

Density board cutting mainly pays attention to air flow control. The greater the air flow, the faster the cutting speed.

4. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For Leather

MaterialLeather
ThicknessMonolayer
25WMax Speed6mm/s
Optimal speed5mm/s
40WMax Speed15mm/s
Optimal speed12mm/s
60WMax Speed20mm/s
Optimal speed17mm/s
80WMax Speed25mm/s
Optimal speed20mm/s
100WMax Speed30mm/s
Optimal speed25mm/s
130WMax Speed40mm/s
Optimal speed35mm/s
150WMax Speed45mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s
180WMax Speed50mm/s
Optimal speed45mm/s
200WMax Speed60mm/s
Optimal speed55mm/s

For leather cutting, it is recommended to use a focus lens with a focal length of 50, together with a 60W-100W laser tube and a small air compressor.

5. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For Wood Board (except rare hard wood)

MaterialWood board (except rare hard wood)
Thickness3mm5mm10mm15mm
25WMax Speed4mm/s   
Optimal speed    
40WMax Speed10mm/s5mm/s  
Optimal speed8mm/s   
60WMax Speed15mm/s10mm/s4mm/s 
Optimal speed12mm/s8mm/s  
80WMax Speed20mm/s15mm/s8mm/s 
Optimal speed18mm/s10mm/s6mm/s 
100WMax Speed25mm/s20mm/s12mm/s8mm/s
Optimal speed22mm/s18mm/s10mm/s5mm/s
130WMax Speed30mm/s25mm/s15mm/s11mm/s
Optimal speed28mm/s22mm/s13mm/s8mm/s
150WMax Speed35mm/s30mm/s20mm/s15mm/s
Optimal speed33mm/s28mm/s17mm/s13mm/s
180WMax Speed40mm/s35mm/s25mm/s18mm/s
Optimal speed37mm/s32mm/s20mm/s15mm/s
200WMax Speed50mm/s45mm/s35mm/s25mm/s
Optimal speed48mm/s42mm/s30mm/s22mm/s

Wood cutting mainly pays attention to air flow control. The greater the air flow, the faster the cutting speed.

6. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For Cloth

MaterialCloth
ThicknessMonolayer
25WMax Speed25mm/s
Optimal speed20mm/s
40WMax Speed40mm/s
Optimal speed38mm/s
60WMax Speed60mm/s
Optimal speed58mm/s
80WMax Speed100mm/s
Optimal speed98mm/s
100WMax Speed200mm/s
Optimal speed195mm/s
130WMax Speed300mm/s
Optimal speed295mm/s
150WMax Speed400mm/s
Optimal speed395mm/s
180WMax Speed500mm/s
Optimal speed495mm/s
200WMax Speed600mm/s
Optimal speed590mm/s

Same as leather cutting

7. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For PVC

MaterialPVC
Thickness2mm3mm4mm
25WMax Speed15mm/s12mm/s——
Optimal speed13mm/s10mm/s——
40WMax Speed35mm/s30mm/s25mm/s
Optimal speed32mm/s27mm/s20mm/s
60WMax Speed50mm/s40mm/s35mm/s
Optimal speed45mm/s38mm/s30mm/s
80WMax Speed60mm/s50mm/s45mm/s
Optimal speed58mm/s48mm/s40mm/s
100WMax Speed70mm/s60mm/s55mm/s
Optimal speed68mm/s58mm/s50mm/s
130WMax Speed80mm/s70mm/s65mm/s
Optimal speed78mm/s68mm/s63mm/s
150WMax Speed90mm/s80mm/s75mm/s
Optimal speed88mm/s78mm/s73mm/s
180WMax Speed100mm/s90mm/s85mm/s
Optimal speed98mm/s88mm/s80mm/s
200WMax Speed120mm/s110mm/s100mm/s
Optimal speed118mm/s108mm/s98mm/s

For PVC cutting, it is recommended to use a focus lens with a focal length of 50 and a 60W-100W laser tube, and the power is 50% – 70%.

8. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For Steel Plate

MaterialSteel plate
Thickness2mm3mm
25WMax Speed————
Optimal speed————
40WMax Speed————
Optimal speed————
60WMax Speed————
Optimal speed————
80WMax Speed————
Optimal speed————
100WMax Speed————
Optimal speed————
130WMax Speed————
Optimal speed————
150WMax Speed8mm/s——
Optimal speed6mm/s——
180WMax Speed15mm/s7mm/s
Optimal speed12mm/s——
200WMax Speed40mm/s25mm/s
Optimal speed30mm/s18mm/s

Iron plate cutting needs oxygen assistance, and the oxygen pressure is 0.8MPa.

9. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For Two Color Plate

MaterialTwo color plate
Thickness2mm
25WMax Speed10mm/s
Optimal speed7mm/s
40WMax Speed15mm/s
Optimal speed13mm/s
60WMax Speed25mm/s
Optimal speed20mm/s
80WMax Speed35mm/s
Optimal speed30mm/s
100WMax Speed40mm/s
Optimal speed35mm/s
130WMax Speed45mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s
150WMax Speed55mm/s
Optimal speed50mm/s
180WMax Speed65mm/s
Optimal speed60mm/s
200WMax Speed80mm/s
Optimal speed75mm/s

Same as PVC cutting.

10. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For Paper

MaterialPaper
ThicknessMonolayer
25WMax Speed50mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s
40WMax Speed80mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s
60WMax Speed120mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s
80WMax Speed150mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s
100WMax Speed250mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s
130WMax Speed350mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s
150WMax Speed450mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s
180WMax Speed550mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s
200WMax Speed650mm/s
Optimal speed40mm/s

Pay attention to the laser power adjustment during paper cutting. The higher the laser tube power is, the smaller the laser adjustment percentage is.

11. CO2 Laser Cutting Thickness & Speed Chart For Rubber Plate

MaterialRubber plate
Thickness4mm(1mm)6mm(2mm)
25WMax Speed5mm/s2mm/s
Optimal speed4mm/s1mm/s
40WMax Speed15mm/s10mm/s
Optimal speed13mm/s8mm/s
60WMax Speed25mm/s15mm/s
Optimal speed20mm/s10mm/s
80WMax Speed30mm/s18mm/s
Optimal speed27mm/s15mm/s
100WMax Speed35mm/s20mm/s
Optimal speed33mm/s18mm/s
130WMax Speed40mm/s25mm/s
Optimal speed38mm/s23mm/s
150WMax Speed45mm/s30mm/s
Optimal speed43mm/s28mm/s
180WMax Speed50mm/s35mm/s
Optimal speed48mm/s33mm/s
200WMax Speed60mm/s45mm/s
Optimal speed58mm/s43mm/s

The rubber plate is generally cut in a single layer, and the surface layer can be cut through. The table belongs to the surface layer cutting parameters.

Understanding CO2 Laser Cutting

CO2 laser cutting is a precise method used to cut or engrave a variety of materials. It involves using a high-power laser beam to melt, burn, or vaporize material in a controlled manner.

Basics of CO2 Laser Technology

Carbon dioxide lasers, or CO2 lasers, operate by passing electrical current through a gas-filled tube containing carbon dioxide, helium, and nitrogen. The energy absorbed by the gas mixture generates a powerful and highly focused beam of light, which exits the tube and is directed toward the material using mirrors. This laser beam is capable of cutting through materials such as:

  • Acrylic
  • Leather
  • Wood
  • Fabric
  • Paper

The typical wavelength of CO2 laser light is 10.6 micrometers, making it highly absorbable by organic materials and many plastics.

Factors Affecting Cutting Thickness & Speed

Several variables influence both the maximum cutting thickness and the cutting speed of a CO2 laser. These factors include:

  • Laser power: Higher wattage lasers can cut thicker materials and operate at faster speeds.
  • Material type: Different materials absorb and conduct heat differently, affecting how quickly they can be cut.
  • Focus: The focal point of the laser needs to be precisely adjusted to optimize the cut’s quality and speed.
  • Assist gases: The use of gases like oxygen or nitrogen can assist the cutting process and impact the achievable speed and thickness.
  • Cutting environment: Ambient temperature and machine calibration play roles in overall performance.

Cutting speed and power settings are typically provided in charts, which serve as starting points for different materials and thicknesses. Users must fine-tune these settings based on their specific equipment and the material’s response during initial tests.

Laser Cutting Parameters

In the realm of CO2 laser cutting, precision in parameters is crucial for efficiency and quality. These include power, speed, gas flow, and lens focus, all tailored to the material’s properties.

Laser Power Settings

Laser power settings are vital for determining the cutting capacity and quality. For instance, acrylic requires lower power, typically around 95% for a 25-200W laser, to achieve smooth edges. Conversely, metals often demand higher power to penetrate adequately.

Cutting Speed Adjustments

Correct speed is equally critical to ensure clean cuts. Speed adjustments are made based on the material’s thickness and the laser’s power capability. A rule of thumb is that thicker materials require slower speeds. For a 40W laser cutting 5mm acrylic, slower speeds result in polished edges.

Gas Pressure Contributions

Gas pressure plays a significant role in the laser cutting process. It assists in expelling the molten material from the cut and prevents oxidation when using oxygen as an assist gas in metal cutting. For example, cutting acrylic requires a lower air flow on the material’s surface to maintain smoothness, while a steady flow at the bottom prevents potential flare-ups.

Focal Lens Selection

The choice of focal lens affects the quality and precision of the laser cut. A general guideline indicates that a shorter focus lens (e.g., 1.5″-2.5″) is better suited for thinner materials and finer detail, while a longer focus lens (e.g., 4″-5″) is preferred for thicker materials, balancing cutting quality and speed.

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