Read enough about Endurance not to go there, but if I want a Laser module that can cut with Air Assist, (I have a pump I bought for a cheapo Laser 5.5W I have since returned) I want to be able to cut up to 12mm baltic birch plywood if not more, but also be able to cut veneers for inlays id dialed down. While I understand the different types, I don’t know which is best for cutting vs. engraving and have to assume that a Co2 Laser would be the way to go if cutting is my main goal and not engraving - but I want something that is basically “Plug and Play” with current Primo MPCNC or LR3 builds and input power requirements/plugs. Still on the fence about which way I want to go with that - I bought a Maslow CNC kit for $200 which would give me the full sheet cutting capability when I need it, so I am looking at a 4’ X 4" LR3 or a 4’’ X 3’ Primo - my concern still being Z travel and being able to route end boards clamped in a jig to cut dovetails or finger-joints in wider boards such as making larger drawers or toolboxes for hand tools and Pneumatic tools and being able to support a Rotary axis for lathe turnings. But again, I am looking for opinions and advice since like the LR3/Primo choice, the laser will be a one-time purchase for a while until I can try to get these things to help pay for themselves by doing 3D carved signs in thicker sign foam and carved reproduction furniture but now designed around what a CNC and rotary axis Jig can provide - I have at least a dozen nice reproduction designs I’m working on, Gothic, Viking, Elizabethan and Jacobean up to some late Victorian pieces - I love Davenports. They fit very well in modern homes/apartments,. (slightly off track…LOL)
Cutting 12mm is a tall ask for a diode laser. Given the frequency they operate at, plus the lens setup typically used, the amount of distance that is near the focus point is small. For any effective 12mm cutting, I’d be looking for a 40W optical laser module.
To get an idea of how 40W diode lasers will cut 12mm, you can take a look at YouTube reviews of the 40W laser engravers. Most of the reviews test cutting different thicknesses of wood.
I’m sure there are others out there, but the only 40W laser module (as opposed to a full engraver) I’ve come across is this one by laser tree. At that price point, it might be beneficial to look at a full engraver, and then figure out how/if the module can be swapped to the Primo/LR3. The dedicated laser engravers have substantially higher engraving speeds than you will get with your CNC, so there is a substantial benefit to being able to swap.
Personally, I keep eyeing this laser engraver from Longer. For this laser engraver, extension rails can be purchased, giving a working area of 17.7" x 33.5", and it can be placed on top of larger sheet goods if the area to be engraved or cut is smaller than this working area.
That Longer machine is a nice one.
They also sell a ruby pulsed infrared laser diode that might be a good choice for cutting. It’s on sale at the moment, about half price. (Though not cheap!)