Cardboard is everywhere we look, whether for delivery boxes, books, picture books, etc. Cardboard is used everywhere. How to cut cardboard to the correct size and shape?
Previously, we would use a knife to cut cardboard, but this cutting method requires the operator to have enough experience.
In order to cut cardboard faster and better, you can use a cutting machine to do so. The following section will discuss how the cutter cuts the cardboard and which laser source should be selected to cut the cardboard.
What type of cardboard can be use laser cutting?
Generally, cardboard types that can be laser cut include cardstock, corrugated cardboard, and chipboard. However, the specific type of cardboard to use will depend on factors such as the power of your laser cutting machine and the thickness of the material.
Some of the types of cardboard that are suitable for laser cutting are listed next:
- Cardboard: Common greeting cards or thick cardboard cut with a laser. If the paper is very thin, fixing the cardboard to the cutting table with tape is recommended to avoid movement during the cutting process.
- Corrugated cardboard: Corrugated cardboard is the first choice for courier and cargo boxes. Corrugated cardboard usually has a wavy sandwich in the middle and is highly compression-resistant.
Advantages of laser cut cardboard
There are many advantages of Laser cut cardboard, a few of which will be listed below:
- High precision: Laser cutting cardboard can cut at a very fine level to achieve exact designs.
- High speed: Laser cutting cardboard can finish the cutting task quickly, thus increasing production efficiency. And you can mass-produce several of the same goods.
- High flexibility: Laser cutting cardboard can be cut in different shapes to meet various design requirements.
- No contact operation: When Laser cutting cardboard, the laser head does not touch the cardboard, so there is no loss of the machine during the cutting process. So there is no need to worry about the deformation or damage of cardboard during the cutting process.
- Environmental protection: The laser cutting process does not need to use chemicals and does not produce harmful fumes, so it is relatively environmentally friendly.
Improper operation can easily cause fire, need to prepare fire extinguishers and other safety measures.
What is the max thickness of laser cut cardboard?
The maximum thickness of laser cut cardboard depends on the power of the laser cutting machine being used. Generally, a laser cutter can handle cardboard up to about 1/4 inch (6mm) in thickness. However, some more powerful machines can handle thicker materials, up to 1 inch (25mm) or more. It is important to check the specifications of your specific laser cutting machine to determine its maximum cutting thickness for cardboard.
Best laser cut cardboard machine
CO2 laser cutter
The CO2 laser cutter is the first choice for cutting cardboard. It is ideal for cutting cardboard, wood, paper, and non-metallic materials. Typically a 50w laser cutter can cut paper up to 10mm.
A 50w CO2 laser cutter costs between $2500-6000. The price will be higher if you want to buy a machine with more power or a larger working area.
Diode laser cutter
A diode laser cutter can also cut cardboard and paper, but it is limited to the thickness of the paper it can cut. And it is a more economical choice, usually only costing $200-1000 to buy a desktop laser engraver.
If you need to cut paper frequently, buying a diode laser cutter with more power is recommended.
How to laser cut cardboard?
Laser cutting cardboard can be a precise and efficient way to create intricate designs or precise shapes. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to laser cut cardboard:
Prepare your design and cardboard
Start by creating or obtaining the design you want to laser cut. You can use graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, or even online design tools. Make sure your design is in a vector format (such as SVG, AI, or DXF) so that it can be easily imported into the laser cutting software.
It's best to use a relatively thin and consistent cardboard with minimal variations in thickness. Avoid materials with coatings or finishes that could release toxic fumes when cut.
Set up your laser cutter
Ensure that your laser cutter is properly set up and calibrated. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific laser cutter model. Check that the lens and mirrors are clean and in good condition.
Secure the cardboard
Place your cardboard sheet on the laser cutter bed and secure it in place using masking tape or a dedicated material-holding system. Ensure that the cardboard is flat and taut to prevent any warping during the cutting process.
Adjust the laser settings
Configure the laser settings based on the thickness and type of cardboard you're using. Consult the laser cutter's manual or the manufacturer's guidelines for recommended settings. Typically, you'll need to adjust parameters such as power, speed, and focus distance.
Import and position your design
Import your design file into the laser cutting software. Position it on the virtual representation of the cardboard sheet to ensure it fits within the cutting area. You can also arrange multiple designs to optimize material usage.
Test the settings
Before cutting the actual design, it's wise to perform a test run on a small area of the cardboard sheet. This allows you to verify that the laser settings are correct and that the design will be cut as intended. Make adjustments if necessary.
Start the laser cutting
Once you're confident with the settings and alignment, start the laser cutting process. Most laser cutters have a control panel or software interface where you can initiate the cutting operation. Ensure that you are in a well-ventilated area or have proper exhaust systems to handle any smoke or fumes generated during cutting.
Monitor the process
Stay attentive and monitor the laser cutting process to ensure everything is running smoothly. Avoid leaving the machine unattended during operation.
Remove the cut pieces
Once the laser cutting is complete, carefully remove the cut pieces from the laser cutter bed. Use caution, as the edges of the cut cardboard may be hot immediately after cutting. Allow the pieces to cool down before handling them further.
Remember to practice proper safety precautions when using a laser cutter, such as wearing protective eyewear and following the manufacturer's guidelines.
Best cardboard laser cutting machine
Gweike cloud basic is a powerful 50/55w CO2 laser cutter, perfect for small businesses and many design professionals. 50w/55w laser power for your choice, up to 600mm/s cutting speed, greatly improve your productivity.
Laser machine with bottom feeding design, cutting/engraving plate length is not limited. This machine is not only suitable for small businesses but also for professional DIY designers.
The Gweike basic has a built-in exhaust fan to ensure that the fumes generated during the cutting process can be exhausted to the outside in time. And the machine is equipped with air assistance to ensure that cutting paper will not catch fire.
Safety precautions for laser cutting of cardboard
Cardboard is made from paper, wood pulp, residuals and similar materials. It can easily catch fire, so additional safety measures should be considered when laser cutting cardboard.
Make sure the air assist is turned on. It is a necessary tool for laser cutting cardboard. It helps in cutting and prevents fires through its powerful airflow. It removes smoke from the object and reduces the temperature.
The laser should have a fire alarm and safety features. It is best to connect a fire safety kit to prevent accidents.
You can place a fire extinguisher near the machine to deal with fire.
Never leave the machine unattended while it is working.
Laser cut cardboard is a very marketable business. You can profit by customizing various cardboard products, including greeting cards, toys, decorations, etc. Above are frequently asked questions about laser cut cardboard. You can consult our online staff if you still want to know the machine setting parameters of laser cutting cardboard or other details.