Does the blackness of the ebony and the whiteness of the holly present any challenges to laser cutting?
Light-colored wood is more likely to show char/burn markings from the cutting process, which we can mostly prevent by applying a protective paper masking to the material.
Due to the relative scarcity and rareness of ebony and holly, the sheets will be non-standard sizes. I can layout to the dimensions required. Is this an issue?
We can generally handle sheets of various sizes as long as there is a sufficient margin (~1/4”) between the edge of the layout and the edge of the material. You are welcome to lay out the parts, but we might have to move things around, so if you have special requirements such as aligning the wood grain, please let us know.
I want to inlay one of the material into the other. What size adjustments, if any, do I make to allow for inlay? In other words, should I make the inlaid piece slightly smaller than the cutout into which it is being inlaid?
Our laser burns away a small amount of material during the cutting process, which should give enough room for the inlays to fit into the recess of the same shape; however, there will be some wiggle room due to the laser’s kerf (beam width). While we do not guarantee any particular tolerance, we typically expect a kerf of ~0.007” – 0.010”. You can offset your lines by 0.004” (approximately half of the kerf) for a tighter fit. I suggest doing a small test run first or using a wider line offset and sanding the pieces until they fit snug.
I can’t guarantee absolute flatness of the material. I was considering gluing the wood to a plywood substrate. For example, I could take 1/16" holly and glue it to 1/16" birch plywood to make up my total required thickness of 1/8". Would that be sufficient? If wood pieces are not completely flat, could you double-tape them to a stable material? For example, could we attach the 1/8" slightly warped wood (which can be made flat with a few ounces of pressure) to a 1/2" piece of plywood? Obviously, the cut would only have to go through the top wood, not the plywood.
Gluing the wood to a piece of plywood and cutting through the entire thickness is no problem, though the same design will cost more to be cut from an 1/8” sheet than a 1/16” sheet. We can also try cutting halfway through a sheet, but I would expect the cut quality to decrease since the heat from the laser will build up if it is not piercing through the material and allowing our laser’s exhaust to work. We typically use tape and weights to secure and flatten the material to our cutting bed - if it will only take a few ounces of pressure, having non-flat material should be no problem for us.
I hope this information helps; once you have your layout ready for us to quote, please feel free to submit a quote request. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.