Formica is used heavily within the millworking industry, it’s strong, resilient, glues great to MDF and pretty easy to work with whether you are using hand or power tools, CNC routers or CNC lasers.
I’ve actually been wanting to make a blog posting about Formica for some time here on CNCROi.com but just never got around to it so I figured I’d have a bit of fun with some swatches a client gave to me for some material testing.
The first Formica swatch looked just like wood, what I like about Formica is that regardless of texture, the material is pretty consistent across the board regardless of the image “printed” on it. I decided to under-power my laser on purpose to give it a deep engraving using a cutting line – it’s quicker than using an engraving setting and produces the same results for “lines”.
The result? As you can see in the picture below, it marked it perfectly but that maple leaf is NOT coming out of that Formica swatch!
So the next step was to double the power, this introduced some bright lights and flares which is always cool to have in the shop and our Austrian Trotec Speedy 400 flexx blew straight through the Formica… producing lots of ashes and a very much “rounded” and “burned” appearance on the finished piece as you can see in the middle of the picture above.
Next step was to use a power setting in between the overpowered and underpowered laser, this can be refined further but for this example, the results were pretty good considering I didn’t even wrap the surface, which is something I typically do for millworking projects involving Formica as it saves time in clean-up afterwards.
I made a video of the laser doing all three Formica swatches, I do enjoy this material very much, the results you get with a CNC laser are consistent and sharp, something you can’t do with a CNC router. I’m sure there is a record we’ve broken in the past two months regarding the amount of Formica we’ve cut with our Austrian CNC laser… if you are in the millworking industry and looking for a company with experience cutting Formica of all sizes and shapes, CNCROi.com is the company you’ve been looking for!
We’ve done sheets as long as 3 meters long and can do pieces that are even larger thanks to our pass through ability.