Basswood is one of the most versatile woods I’ve found for CNC routing and low-power LASER cutting. And, when starting out in the world of CNC Making, I think it’s one of the most exciting too. The reason I say that is that you get a ‘real wood’ feel and ease of cutting more than just thin sheet. Why bother wasting time trying to cut through a couple of millimetres of plywood, which really doesn’t want to be cut, when you can cut shapes out of 6mm Basswood instead!
So why do I praise it so highly? Well, for one thing it lets you use thick and thin wood to make whole structures quickly. Also, it allows for easy cutting out of routed designs. Mostly though it’s because it significantly extends what you can do with a low-power diode-LASER setup on a cheap CNC machine. And above there’s a photo of my cutting test to show what’s possible with this wood which, according to my meter, had a water content of 11%.
Obviously it takes quite a bit of work to cut through a whole 6mm, but as the photo shows it is possible with three passes at 100% power on my 5W LASER. Also, the quality of the cuts was much better than I’d expected, meaning it’s possible to make some nice, fairly detailed, parts from fairly thick wood. Below is a photo of the back of the cutouts and, as you’ll see if you look closely, the back should be ready to clean up without too much effort sanding, which is a nice bonus.