CTR Lasers - CO2 Settings

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CO2 Settings

CO2 laser machine settings

Congratulations on your new CTR laser machine.

Now that you have a CTR laser machine, you are likely looking to explore the different materials that you can process for cutting and engraving.

A list of some of the common materials can be found here to help you know which are safe to process. Buying from CTR directly gives you support in materials, so if you are looking to process something new, you can use our guide, check the COSHH data from the material supplier, or contact us for assistance to check the material is laser compatible.

We have given you some settings on this page for common materials customers use, to give a guide of the settings that can be used.

Please remember that all of the settings are to be used as a guide only, and the laser machine should never be left unattended, especially with new materials.

Keep in mind that for new materials you should always: 

  • Check the COSHH data to ensure the material is laser-compatible, non-flammable and will not produce nasty fumes/gasses/smells/particles which may be hazardous to the operator, the environment or the machine.
  • Test your cut settings on a small offcut of the material first, to ensure your chosen settings will give you the desired results.
  • Never leave the machine running unattended, whether this is a new or regular material.

The following guide settings may need to be adjusted on your machine depending on the optics fitted, the air assist gas being used, and the laser power.

Material properties also vary a lot between different manufacturers and over different times of the year - wood may be damper through winter or rainy seasons and as such harder to cut when the laser needs to vaporise the water as well as cut through the material.


Not all material thicknesses have been listed here, but as a general guide if you double the thickness of a material, you need to half the speed.


Laser Cutting

50W DC CO2 laser
MATERIAL (3mm) SPEED (mm/sec) POWER (%)
Acrylic 8-10 70
Card 40-100 30-70
Laser Plywood 10-12 70
MDF 10-15 70


80W DC CO2 laser
MATERIAL (3mm) SPEED (mm/sec) POWER (%)
Acrylic 15 70
Card 30-100 30-70
Laser Plywood 15-20 70
MDF 16-25 70

Not all material thicknesses have been listed here, but as a general guide if you double the thickness of a material, you need to half the speed.


Laser Engraving


When engraving, the speed will depend on the intricacy of the file which you are processing.

If the file has a lot of fine detail, you will need to run the job at a slower speed.

A guide for engraving speeds is between 500-600mm/sec for DC lasers.

RF lasers can run 500-800mm/sec.

If the engraving area is small, the laser may not have sufficient distance to get up to the full speed, so you may need to reduce the power slightly if you want a shallower engraving on small jobs.



A starting point for the power setting when engraving is 30-35%.

A higher percentage will increase the power and produce a deeper engraving, while a lower percentage will decrease the power and produce a shallower engraving.

The depth of the engraving will also depend on the material which is being processed (softer materials can be etched away more easily than harder materials).


Scan Gap:

The scan gap is the distance between each line of engraving, and is typically set to 0.0635 as the default. This can be altered if you are looking for a different effect, by either increasing or decreasing the number as desired.