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09.01 CNC vs Laser Cutting

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There are differences between a laser cutter and a CNC router. These differences include, kerf size, need for holding down a workpiece and the ability of the router to make pocket cuts or cuts that don’t go all the way through the material. See CNC pocket cuts and joints for more information about CNC joints.

Laser cutters burn the edges of wood materials while CNC routers make a clean cut on the edges of plywood. Laser cutters have a limit on the size of the material thickness while CNC routers can cut through much thicker materials. This often requires multiple passes of the router bit over the material. When creating toolpaths, this “stepdown” amount will be important. It is typically 1/2 of the diameter of your tool bit.

CNC Routers vs Laser Cutters