Why Should You Do Crafting with Cork?

Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. It consists of many honeycomb-shaped cells filled with resin and tannins. Due to the air-filled cells, cork exhibits excellent elasticity, sealing, heat insulation, sound insulation, electrical insulation, and friction resistance. In addition to these advantages, cork is tasteless, lightweight, soft to the touch, and fire-resistant, making it a unique material.

Cork can be cut into “natural cork” or ground into small pieces to form “crumbled cork.” Apart from the wine industry, most industrial applications use flat sheets or block-shaped crumbled cork.

Since cork is an excellent insulator, it absorbs most of the laser energy. This allows for laser engraving and cutting to be performed at lower power levels. Cork is therefore frequently used in the laser processing industry, particularly in crafting with cork. With laser engraving and cutting machines, complex designs can be achieved with lower power than with wood, plastic, or metal.

Advantages of Laser Cutting Cork:

  1. 1.Laser engraving and cutting of cork can be performed in one step, without damaging the material and with high-contrast engravings.

    2.There is no waste and hardly any need for machine cleaning when laser cutting cork.

    3.Laser-cut cork contours are extremely fine and fast without radius.

    4.The cork material should not be clamped or fixed when crafting with cork.

    5.Contactless laser cutting reduces damage and waste.

Basteln mit Kork

Cork Projects Made on a Laser:

  1. 1.Coasters and placemats when crafting with cork

    2.Mouse pads and drawing boards

    3.Christmas decorations

    4.Alternative gaskets/washers

    5.Furniture glides (for covering floors)

    6.Reusable handle for mugs

    7.Location-marked world map of places you’ve visited

    8.Art installations and framed artworks

    9.Earrings, necklaces, and bracelets

    10.Personalized nameplates and wedding/event favors

Basteln mit Kork
Basteln mit Kork
Basteln mit Kork
Basteln mit Kork
Basteln mit Kork
Basteln mit Kork

When laser cutting cork, there are a few factors to consider:

Difference Between Standard and Presentation Parts:

Standard part cut when crafting with cork: Applied when the laser-cut edges are either not visible or appearance is unimportant.

Presentation part cut when crafting with cork: Used when the appearance of the laser-cut edges is very important for the part’s aesthetics. By adjusting laser power and speed, the cut edge appearance can be improved.

Impact of Cork Sheet Thickness on Required Laser Power:

Thicker sheets require higher laser power to ensure the laser cuts through completely. Like cork cuts soft materials ideally at lower power and high speed. If the laser cutter does not cut through the sheet, the speed can be reduced and the power increased – but this increases the risk of discoloration.

The maximum possible cutting speed depends on the maximum laser power and speed. Lower laser power transfers less heat to the workpiece. Higher laser head movement reduces the heat exposure time on the material, thus preventing scorching of the edges.

The optimal laser power for crafting with cork is the one where the machine’s maximum possible speed still reliably cuts through the cork completely.

Optimal Laser Machines for Crafting with Cork:

For laser cutting and engraving cork, low-power CO2 lasers are best suited. Depending on the thickness of the cork, a power of 30-100W and a speed of 1-30mm/sec is recommended.

The laser focuses the beam for cutting and engraving via a lens. Typically, focal lengths vary between 1.5 and 4 inches depending on the machine and application. Shorter focal lengths are better suited for thin materials like cork. 1-2 inches provide particularly clean cuts here.

Recommended Thunder Laser CO2 Machines for Crafting with Cork:

Thunder Laser CO2 machines deliver high-quality results when laser cutting cork. They can precisely cut thin and thicker cork areas. Additionally, the higher laser power allows the cork to be cut faster, enabling optimal speeds.

Thunder Laser Small Batch Machines (Nova 24): 

Compact desktop size, ideal for crafting with smaller-sized cork. Pre-cut round or angular cork pieces are suitable for coasters, decorations, or jewelry.

Thunder Laser Workshop Machines (Nova 35/51):

Accept standard cork sheet sizes up to approx. 90x60cm or 120x90cm. Multiple small pieces can be cut simultaneously.

Thunder Laser Large Batch Machines(Nova 63):  

The large work area also allows for continuously loading a sheet feeder or unloading the cut pieces. This enables more efficient processes and higher production speeds.

Common Errors When Laser Cutting Cork:

Scorched Edges: The cork surface tends to oxidize and discolor near the laser path when laser cutting. This can lead to dark discolorations on the surface when crafting with cork in the areas cut or engraved nearby. To avoid this, the area can be covered with tape, and the laser breakthrough can occur through the tape. After removal, the surface remains clean.

Incomplete Cut: If the power setting is too low or the speed is too high when crafting with cork, the laser may not cut through the material thickness completely. Always perform test cuts to ensure proper parameters.

Focusing Errors: If the laser focus height is not adjusted correctly relative to the workpiece, the laser may not be able to cut the material or produce clean cut edges when crafting with cork. In such cases, refocusing and adjusting the laser head height according to the manual is required.

Thunder Laser offers comprehensive manufacturing capabilities like sheet cutting and additional services to fulfill your entire prototyping and production needs when crafting with cork.

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