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The Ultimate Guide to Laser Cutting Felt

Learn how to laser cut felt in the most professional manner.

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Laser Cutting Felt

Modern laser machines are useful for a wide range of materials. So, you are not limited to the conventional stone, wood, and plastic only, but it is also possible to use a single product for laser cutting fabric. In this regard, felt is the most suitable material for laser cutting and engraving.

The unbiased and versatile nature of felt makes it the perfect material for permanent marking using a felt laser cutting machine. Keeping the increasing demand for felt designing, I will try to cover all the aspects of laser cutting felt in this article.

Best Laser Cutter for Felt:

Although modern laser engravers come with at least one CO2 laser module, you still have to consider some aspects to use it on any fabric. In other words, not every laser engraver is capable of engraving hard fabric like felt. For you need a machine with at least 40 to 60W power draw to laser cut felt. Therefore, I will provide a device that I personally use for laser cutting polyester felt. 

OCDAY Upgraded 60W CO2 Laser Engraver:

OCDAY Upgraded 60W CO2 Laser Engraver:

Product Specification

  • Work area: 410x420mm
  • Power: 60W
  • Laser power: 5.5W or 5500mW
  • Category: Industrial grade for small business

OCDAY Upgraded 60W CO2 laser engraver is a powerful device that comes with exceptional laser engraving features. For instance, I use it on several materials, including wood, plastic, polymers, fabric, felt, and some soft metals.

Secondly, the device offers the best safety features like eye protection, laser container, and path detection G-sensor. So, if you are looking for the best machine for laser cutting polyester felt, I highly recommend that you check this product.

Features & Benefits of Laser Cutting Felt:

Felt is an ancient fabric that humankind has been using for knitting and weaving body armor. Felt is a thick fabric with little to no warp and weft. Moreover, it is a non-woven material which makes it perfect for garment engraving and customization.

However, the thick layer of the polyester prevents it from laser-cutting fabric without a suitable device. Still, people prefer to use a laser engraving machine to intricate such fabric for extreme precision and unlimited design restrictions.  

A major benefit of the felt laser cutting machine is that it saves your time while providing professional results. For instance, it may take several hours of continuous work to engrave your name on felt manually. On the other hand, you can print complex designs on a piece of felt in 10-20 minutes using a suitable laser cutting machine. 

How to Cut Felt with the Laser Cutter?

Laser-cutting felt can be a complex project if you don’t have the right set of tools in the workshop. Therefore, I recommend that you get the following materials before starting the project:

Materials:

Cut Felt with the Laser Cutter (Material)
  • A piece of felt (12 x 12 inches) or Glowforge felt
  • Honeycomb pins
  • Felt laser cutting machine
  • Laser software for designing

Best Settings:

  • # Of passes: 1
  • Focus Height: Auto
  • Precision Power: 25
  • Laser speed: 200
  • Laser intensity: 100 (not full)
  • Overall settings: 200/25
  • Raster image: 
    • Low Gas
    • 80% Speed
    • Single Pass
    • 200PPI
    • 18% Power
  • Vector image:
    • High Gas
    • 8% Speed
    • Single Pass
    • 200PPI
    • 10% Power

Procedure:

  1. Connect your laser cutting machine with your computer and install the laser Grbl software.
  2. Download a suitable design or start from scratch; you can use your favorite software like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, and Photoshop.
  3. Import the design into the laser software and optimize it according to the size of the material.
  4. Customize the laser settings according to the best settings as mentioned above.
  5. You may increase or decrease the laser power as per the material thickness. In this case, I am using a piece of felt with 1mm thickness.
  6. Place the felt material in the work area of your laser cutter and fix it using honeycomb pins.
  7. Press the print button and close the safety lid of the machine. Otherwise, it won’t start cutting.
  8. Carefully monitor the whole process to ensure that the laser doesn’t deflect from its original path.
  9. Once the laser cutting is finished, take out the material and examine it for any uncut parts.
  10. You can use a sharp stainless-steel blade to cut off all the unnecessary parts from your design.

Safety Precautions:

Safety Precautions

Laser cutting is a user-friendly procedure that doesn’t require human interaction. However, the laser module is very powerful that can vaporize even thick material in no time. The same laser can be fatal if it touches the human body. Therefore, it is best to follow these safety tips when laser cutting felt:

Safety Glasses:

The CO2 laser is a product of ionized gas particles moving at a fast speed and focused using a lens. However, some ions deflect from the path and start flying off in other directions. Usually, the premium laser engravers come with a protective lid that absorbs 99% of the rays.

You are still vulnerable to the damage by the remaining 1% particles. Therefore, it is best to avoid direct eye contact with the laser and wear safety glasses throughout the process.

Maintain your distance:

The powerful laser rays are harmful to the human body. The constant presence of these rays can damage your body in different ways. So, it is important to maintain as much distance from the laser machine as possible. In this regard, the best laser engravers come with a camera to track the laser’s path during operation. You can access the camera’s real-time footage directly from the laser Grbl software.

Don’t touch the material:

The laser vaporizes the material’s edges to seal off the design. Thus, the material is considerably hot for a few minutes after the procedure. So, I recommend that you either wear safety gloves when touching the material or avoid contact with the material for at least 2-minutes after the process.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I laser cut felt?

Yes, you can laser cut felt by using a machine with 40-60W power draw and 5500mW or 5.5W laser power. Else, it is unwise to try laser cutting with an inferior laser engraver.

How to remove the felt burnt smell after laser cutting?

Laser cutting felt produces a strong odor that lasts for some time after the process. However, the smell goes away on its own. You can speed up the process by wrapping the cut in a newspaper or sprinkling some baking soda on the product.

How can I avoid burnt edge cutting felt using a laser cutter?

If you notice excessive burnt edges when laser cutting felt, you are probably using a high-powered laser. You can avoid the burnt edges by optimizing the laser settings and reducing the laser power by 2% on each attempt.

Conclusion:

Felt is a thick fabric used since ancient times. The material properties of felt make it the best fabric for laser cutting. However, you need to follow some guidelines to ensure the perfect laser cut. Therefore, in this article, I have discussed everything you need to know about laser cutting felt.

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