How do you cut paper/cardboard without creating burn marks? 

Laser cutting with a laser machine, from MaxLaser, is a modern and precise technique used to cut various materials, including paper, cardboard, leather, and wood to name but a few, with the help of a high-powered laser beam. It has gained popularity across a wide range of industries due to its ability to achieve intricate cuts and designs with remarkable accuracy and speed. The process involves using a focused laser beam to heat, melt, or vaporise the material being cut, resulting in a clean and precise cut. 

When laser cutting paper or cardboard there are a few things to keep in mind as they are highly flammable materials which tend to burn. 

Avoid burning your paper/cardboard 

As we mentioned, cutting paper or cardboard with a laser cutter can be a tricky task, as the material is highly susceptible to burning due to its low heat resistance. However, with the right settings and techniques, it is possible to achieve clean cuts without significant burning and without wasting materials. Here are some tips to show you how to laser cut paper without burning it: 

Firstly, use the right material. You should use high-quality paper or cardboard that is designed for laser cutting, like bond paper or corrugated cardboard. Avoid materials with glossy coatings or additives, as they can cause excessive burning. 

Once you have the right material, adjust the laser power. You should lower the laser cutting paper settings to the minimum required to cut through the paper or cardboard, as higher power levels generate more heat and can increase the risk of burning. 

It is important to optimise your cutting speed. By increasing the cutting speed, you reduce the amount of time the laser interacts with the material. Faster cutting can minimise heat buildup and prevent potential burning. 

To laser cut cardboard we recommend using multiple passes at lower power levels rather than a single pass at high power. You can then gradually cut through the material with your cardboard laser cutting machine without causing excessive burning. 

It is always a clever idea to perform test cuts on a small piece of the same material before laser cutting your full design on paper and then calibrating your machine for optimal laser-cut paper or cardboard. It is better to spend time in testing and calibrating than it is to waste both material and time on designs that are burned.  

Make use of an air assist feature with your laser cutter, which can be found at MaxLaser.  It blows a stream of air across the cutting area, which helps to remove smoke and debris, reducing the chances of burning. 

Misalignment or improper focus can lead to uneven cutting and potential burning, so make sure you properly focus the laser beam and align the paper or cardboard to ensure accurate laser-cut cardboard. 

Make sure your laser cutter is well-ventilated to remove fumes and smoke generated during the cutting process. Proper ventilation can reduce the chances of burning due to smoke buildup. 

In case you have not tried it, you could give “Masking” a try. Masking is when you use masking tape on the surface of the paper or cardboard before cutting. The masking tape can help protect the material from burning and leave cleaner edges. 

Last, but not least is to keep your laser cutter well-maintained. This includes cleaning the lenses and mirrors. A well-maintained laser cutting machine ensures a more precise and controlled cutting process. 


Laser cutting paper or cardboard without burning is possible. You can create intricate designs on any suitable type of paper or cardboard, you just need to make sure to remember to… 

  • Use the right material 
  • Adjust the settings for the correct thickness 
  • Optimise your cutting speed 
  • Use multiple passes 
  • Test and calibrate 
  • Use Air Assist 
  • Focus and Align 
  • Ventilate 
  • Mask it 
  • Regularly maintain your machine 

MaxLaser has incredible laser cutters that can create beautiful and intricate designs on paper and cardboard. Contact us today to either join the laser cutting community or upgrade your machine to one of our quality machines. You can also have a look at adding an air compressor to your existing machine.