What strength laser cutter will allow us to cut thin metal?

we are new to laser cutting and have a 40watt co2 cutter. We bought this purely for wood items etc and some plastics etc all for small jewellery pieces. Out of interest what strength do you need to upgrade to cutting metal? Or is there any chance of our cutter working at all? I guess super thin brass etc?
Thanks so much for any advise.

1 Like

Hello Helen

First I’d like to make it clear that Smoke & Mirrors are not experts in metal cutting machinery. Your 40W cutter is totally unsuited to cutting metals, thin or otherwise and could not realistically be upgraded to do so.

A much more powerful machine, around 120W with a special head that pumps an oxygen mixture to the head is needed. It is a series piece of equipment.

Smaller laser engravers and laser cutters even with tubes as large as 150W are not intended for the cutting of metals, the lenses and other parts of the machine are simply not designed for the task. Be careful please, it’s not as simple as an upgrade. Also all metals work differently, have highly different melting points and require different wavelength of laser beam to have have an effect on them.

Please do not attempt to cut any metals in your laser cutter, especially shiny metals it can be dangerous and damage the equipment potentially. I’m sorry if this isn’t the answer you were hoping for. If you email info@smokeandmirrors.store I would be happy to direct you to a company that sells suitable metal cutting equipment!

Good luck.



Sorry, You can’t cut metal with the type of laser you have - I’ve tried because a student didn’t believe me so I had to visually demo! It sparks spectacularly and doesn’t make a hint ofa mark - But you can engrave.
Anodised aluminium works well and there’s a compound you can get calmer Laser Mark that you apply to metals and essential burn it to fix the compound to the surface. As far as I’m aware it only comes in black.



I am so so sorry for late reply! I didn’t see my messages! Thanks all so much! Hope you are all okay and well.


1 Like

Bit late to the party, but…

I’ve seen a fair few people suggest the use of “Dry Moly” - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017XJS4LM/ when doing this. As it’s £25 a tin, I’ve not yet found myself flush enough to experiment!

Some details at https://www.instructables.com/id/Laser-Engrave-Metal/ would give a starter for this particular rabbit hole.

Happy Friday peeps :slight_smile:


just for reference @idnorton et al marking metal, engraving metal and cutting metal (as you know) are very different things.

The technique in the instructable linked above is good for marking metal.

Note that Thermark spray is used in industry, it’s expensive.


MSRaynsford had some success with a sharpie way back in 2012 also.