Laser cutting a bamboo board

Bamboo boards mill very well (it’s hard as Oak), so you can achieve those clean cuts or fancy router profile cuts in your designs. But, did you know that there is a whole new world of shapes that open up when you use a laser cutter or a laser etching machine?

In this post, we have an example of a laser cut finger joint. Laser jet cutting allows for very fine detail in the product your are cutting.

It’s more common to use a router with a jig set up to cut finger joints. You can achieve wonders with these jigs. But every now and then, one wants something special, something intricate, something that can be a feature that is very difficult to achieve with the traditional line up of wood working tools and techniques. It’s in these situations that a laser jet cutter is a tool to consider to get the job done.

You’ll notice the nice fine work done on this joint by Joe Mansfield.

The burn marks created by the heat of the laser can even be used as a feature in your design if you want – did you know that bamboo has a Class A flammability rating? That’s the same category you’ll find asbestos cement in. Impressive stuff.

Plyboo bamboo board laser cut example with fine finger joints by Joe Mansfield

Water jet cutter

Water jet cutter image by Bekathwia via Flickr

We’ve even successfully used a water jet cutting machine (you know those ones one would use to cut granite counter tops?) to cut a 40 mm Eco-Logic Bamboo board.

One has to turn down the pressure sightly so as not to cause the board to delaminate, but it works well.

We’ve been asked, “how is that possible, doesn’t the water destroy the board?”. One of the great technical properties of bamboo is it’s tolerance for water. As long as you are using a quality specified bamboo board product (such as Eco-Logic or Plyboo), you can be sure the board will hold together just fine. Simply allow the bamboo board to dry, give it a light sanding in preparation for the finishing product and it’ll be just fine to use in any project.

Now that you’re totally amazed at those facts, I have to mention one aspect of bamboo and water – constantly wet or moist bamboo tends to encourage mould growth. So it’s advisable that if your bamboo board product is going to be constantly exposed to water / moisture, you’ll need to coat the board with an appropriate product to prevent the mould growth.

With this kind of flexibility in machining options, you now have the freedom to let your imagination loose on your next solid timber project.

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About Oriental Bamboo Team

We only deal in Solid Bamboo Timber Products - boards, counter tops, plywood panels and doors - nothing else.
  
Through extensive manufacturing research and experience, we specify our products at our factories to perform well in our diverse African climatic zones.
  
Being solid bamboo pioneers in Southern Africa, we have worked with users in all facets of timber application over the years.
 
We are driven to understand our customers specific requirements. As a result of these relationships with our varied clients, we have accumulated a lot of experience in using solid bamboo products wherever one would traditionally use timber.
  
This blog documents a few of our experiences and comments on various aspects of solid bamboo timber as used in various applications.
  
Cape Town based Oriental Bamboo is a bulk bamboo timber supplier of "specified for Southern Africa": bamboo boards, bamboo plywood panels, solid and hollow core bamboo doors via a network of timber merchants in South Africa and sub Saharan Africa.

Comments

  1. Hi there,
    I am from Greenpop, a social business in Cape Town’s city centre. We are looking into getting key rings made for all of our staff, supporters and, volunteers who attend our tree planting events and festivals.

    I understand this is not what you do but because we are a sustainable company, we would like to laser cut pieces of bamboo and I was wondering if you could tell me where we could source bamboo from or if you have scraps that are too small for you to use, that we could buy.

    If you have any information or advice for me, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much.

    Green regards,
    Chloe

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