J Tech 14 watt laser

I have the woodworker and would like to add a laser to it.

I will mostly be cutting and etching acrylic.

How well does the 14w do at cutting through .25" acrylic?

I need to make a lot of very tiny holes, .75mm.

Is cast acrylic better than extruded?

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A visible diode laser isn’t going to cut clear acrylic. You can cut some colored acrylics. I cannot speak to the jtech 14 but my “”“20 watt”“” (more like 5) ortur cuts black reasonably well, its just fairly slow. You will be limited to thin stuff anyway.

For 0.75mm holes, would drilling be a better option for you? I see 0.75mm bits for sale at under a dollar a piece (i am sure they are quite fragile), and i guess collets are available. That certainly dispenses with worries about colors of acrylic and you dont have the occasional piece “welding” itself in as you cut, which can be frustrating. I cut some jigsaw puzzles from black acrylic and while they looked good, it took me quite a while to get fit right as without any tolerance the melted edges interfered with the fit. And it was sloooooow.

For large amounts of acrylic work a co2 laser is really the preferred tool. Honestly while i certainly have done it with reasonable results anyone looking at a diode laser, especially one as pricy as the Jtech, should really consider it as an engraving and burning tool before being a cutting tool- they have some hefty limitations in that regard.

If you have serious aspirations to cut and etch a quantity of acrylic, grab some O flute bits for cutting and a diamond drag bit for engraving. If you have not seen what you can do with a diamond drag bit on acrylic it is stunning- and fast, simple, and with very low cost to boot!

I have these two bits:

Here is a seriously cool project example:

As an aside, it also allows you to do some rather neat metal engraving. Inexpensive and super cool business cards are easy to pump out. This was my first attempt at a business card (i dont want to post my better versions with my real name). An aluminum business card is a real attention getter!

I don’t mean to discourage you and a laser is a worthwhile addition to your shop… but i don’t want you to spend $1k for a laser that is patently not intended for the task you want to use it for, when you have several tools available much more inexpensively and suited for the job.

That said, you can mark up anodized and painted metals with a laser. But it isn’t as durable as engraving, obviously. Here is an example of a goofy test marking on aluminum i did with a laser.


Thank you, you definitely haven’t discouraged me!

Those were the answers i was looking for before spending $1k.

I bought some cheap 1/8" collet bits that cut 1/32 from amazon. They arrive tomorrow with a couple pieces of cast acrylic. I will only be using them to drill holes so hopefully they last awhile.

I have wanted a laser for quite awhile and thought this would finally be the reason to get one. Kind of limited to space so adding to the 1F would help me.

The choice was either the laser or the X-50 48" upgrade. I’ll do that for now.

I looked at the glowforge but it is outrageously expensive compared to other lasers on the market.

Definitely use CAST acrylic NOT extruded. Extruded doesn’t cut well - it self-fuses. For engraving with a diamond drag bit it may not matter, but I learned the hard way to stay away from extruded acrylic.

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