Dual Pro 14W struggling to cut

New to Lasers. My Dual Pro 14W is mounted on my Shapeoko 3XXL. Engraving and fill is fine, but laser struggles to cut.
Basswood @ .050" thick
10IPM/ 100%, takes 10 passes.
Using Lightburn

Anything thicker like 1/4" plywood or mdf, near impossible. I purchased in March, but just now trying to cut with it. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Starting to feel as though I have wasted money on this laser.

Air assist is nearly mandatory for any form of cutting with lasers this low powered. Do you have any form of air assist? Without something to clear the kerf, your laser has to continue to cut through smoke, ash, and the carbonized remnants your last pass left.

Are you focusing on the top of the material or the bottom (or the top of the workbed; however you would like to consider it)? Focusing on the bottom increases cutting potential considerably.

Cutting with a diode laser is always asking a lot, even with a nice unit like the jtech.

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I do have air assist, 32watt 950GPH @110V aquarium pump. You have me rethinking that might not be enough air flow? Normal focus is set at .210” below the shroud for engraving/filling. I set mine at .100 above the material on the .050” thick material, for example. Also, tried using Z-offset per pass etc.

I doubt that is the issue. I use a $15 walmart aquarium pump for my cheap ortur laser and have no issues with material of that thickness. I printed a little jig to point a drilled out 3d printer nozzle at the kerf and it seems to work well.

Unless i am misunderstanding, try adjusting your focus. Focus on the top your table- that is, the very bottom of the workpiece. That way your cutting power is “ramping up” as the cut proceeds. I don’t understand the logic of focusing above the workpiece.

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Have you posted on the Shapeoko forum or asked their Support team? They might be better able help if it’s something unique about the way the laser mounts to the Shapeoko head & how it might affect focusing.

1/4" ply is going to be just about impossible (without burning the crap out of the edges with a lot more passes than is reasonable). Plywood contains voids and pockets and resins/glues that can make it impervious to lasering. I have issues with my 45W CO2 laser and try to stick to 1/8" or real Baltic Birch plywood when doing 1/4".

But your Basswood seems pretty thin to need 10 passes.

Thanks Jim, I’ll reach out to them. I guess I fell for the internet videos and did not do enough research. Lesson learned.

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