Frequently asked Questions

The engraving and laser woods from encuma were specially developed for processing with laser plotters and engraving machines.


Our focus is to produce material that is as homogeneous as possible so that colour differences are as small as possible.


At the same time, the lamellas of our solid wood are laid in such a way that the natural warping of the wood is counteracted.


We also use adhesives in the entire manufacturing process of our laser woods, which do not produce any toxic gases when they evaporate.


The same applies to the oiling or varnishing of our laser materials. The oiled or lacquered wood is treated with products that have very good environmental compatibility and are also toy-safe. 

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Laser plywood has entered the mainstream in a big way and our plywood range has quickly become one of the most sought after products we stock at encuma. The rapid growth in popularity has led to some people asking 'what is laser plywood? This question is simple, but has a surprisingly complex answer. To tackle it properly, we've put together this post as an introduction to laser plywood. Even if you are familiar with laser plywood, you will find a wealth of knowledge here to improve your understanding and familiarity with the fastest rising star of plywood.


What is laser plywood?

Basically, laser plywood is a plywood product designed and manufactured specifically for use with consumer laser cutting machines. However, this brief description is something you probably could have deduced yourself, and it doesn't exactly tell you the whole story.


Laser plywood is an extremely adaptable and craftsman-friendly plywood that can be used in many unique ways. You only have to look at the range of applications for laser plywood that we see at encuma to get an idea. At one end of the spectrum we have members of our community making handy book covers from our poplar laser plywood, while at the other end we have customers making handbags. Laser plywood is so much more than a piece of plywood that can work harmoniously with a laser cutter; it's a whole new world of plywood.


Why are laser plywood products suitable for laser cutting?


Believe it or not, you can't just use regular plywood products with a laser cutter and expect to get amazing results. In fact, it can even be dangerous. Those who have tried it can occasionally get good results, but in most cases they encounter serious problems such as cracks in the wood or toxic fumes circulating in the air. These factors, which cannot be ignored, mean that it is crucial that you use a specialist laser product if you want to laser cut.


But why are laser plywood products suitable for laser cutting, you ask? Well, there are three main features that are required for a piece of plywood to be included in our encuma range.


Feature 1: The adhesive

Arguably the most important part of any piece of laser plywood is the adhesive. Without using the right adhesive, you'll get nowhere and may end up with fireworks you weren't expecting. With an incompatible adhesive, your plywood will either not cut at all, create potentially toxic fumes or simply burn. None of these are ideal, and the last two situations could even cause real damage. In our encuma range, we only use products that contain a suitable, formaldehyde-free glue to ensure that our customers do not experience any of these problems when cutting.


Feature 2: The structure

The next thing you need to find in any panel of laser plywood is the absence of core splits. When we say "absence", we really mean it, because even a tiny hint can end disastrously for you. Core gaps inevitably lead to air bubbles during laser cutting. The presence of these bubbles inevitably causes the wood to crack and become completely unusable. Every single sheet of plywood at encuma meets this standard so that your freshly purchased product does not end up in the scrap bin!


Feature 3: The density

Finally, density plays a big part in making a good laser plywood. If you take a plywood product that is too dense and try to use it with a laser cutter, you will get very poor, uneven and all around ugly cuts and there is even a risk that the wood will not cut at all if it is dense enough. This doesn't have the extreme side effects of using the wrong glue or having air gaps, but it's still extremely frustrating when you come home with your new plywood and find that you can't even cut it.




As you can see, there are many factors that go into making a true laser plywood. The depth of our knowledge of these important properties is what makes our plywood range so special and so perfect for laser cutting.

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When choosing acrylic sheet for your next project, you need to consider which type of acrylic is best for the job - cast acrylic or the cheaper alternative extruded acrylic.


So what are the differences between extruded acrylic and cast acrylic?


There are only a few differences, but they can have an impact on the final product and should therefore be taken into account.


When extruded acrylic is manufactured, it has a uniform thickness across the sheet, making it ideal for general fabrication and a variety of applications. Extruded sheet has a higher tolerance to heating or bending; it is more malleable than cast acrylic, can be easily flame polished and adheres exceptionally well when used with solvent-based adhesives.


These sheets are up to ten times more impact resistant than glass, making them recommended for greenhouse glazing, shed and garage windows and interior applications such as office screens and partitions.


Cast acrylic is the highest quality acrylic; it is more expensive than extruded acrylic and offers the best optical clarity, higher thermal stability and greater resistance to solvents. With a slightly harder surface than extruded acrylic, cast acrylic has a less consistent sheet thickness with a possible variation of up to +/-10% across the sheet; it is thermoformable and can be hot-finished, which is not always possible with extruded sheet.


The surface finish, flatness and optical properties of cast acrylic sheet are superior to those of extruded acrylic sheet.


Both types of acrylic sheet offer excellent surface hardness and durability, excellent UV stability and are virtually shatterproof. Whether you choose cast or extruded acrylic for your next project, you won't be disappointed.

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Although PVC can be cut with the laser, hydrochloric acid and toxic gases are produced during thermal processing. For corrosion protection of the laser system and for the safety of the machine operators, we therefore recommend not to process PVC with the laser.

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