Selection and Application of Different Processing Platforms

As an important tool in modern manufacturing, the choice of processing platform for laser cutting and engraving machines directly impacts material processing quality and efficiency. This article introduces the structures, application scenarios, ease of cleaning and loading/unloading, prices, and other advantages and disadvantages of honeycomb platforms, blade/flat iron platforms (sometimes called cutting platforms), pin platforms, and vacuum platforms, aiming to provide a reference for users to select the most suitable processing platform.

Platform Structures

Honeycomb Platform

The honeycomb platform, also known as the honeycomb table, is typically made of metal. It is composed of many small grid-like units, forming a structure similar to a honeycomb, hence the name. These small units often have a nearly hexagonal shape, but can also be square or other shapes.
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Blade Platform

A blade platform is formed by parallel blades mounted on a frame; a flat iron platform is formed by parallel flat irons mounted on a frame. These types of platforms are commonly used for cutting materials, so they are also called cutting platforms.
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Pin Platform

A pin platform consists of upward-facing pins or small cylindrical rods uniformly arranged on a baseboard.
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Vacuum Platform

The principle of a vacuum platform is to create a vacuum environment and use vacuum adsorption to firmly secure the material. Generally, vacuum platforms are built upon support structures like honeycomb platforms that have dense patterns.
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What is a Vacuum Platform?

Cover the surface of a honeycomb platform and the surrounding gaps with soft materials like creasing paper or soft magnets. When using creasing paper, cover the entire surface of the honeycomb platform and the surrounding gaps, then use a laser to cut out an opening the size of the material to be processed. When using soft magnets, cover all the gaps around the honeycomb platform, leaving an unobstructed space in the middle the same size as the material to be processed.

Important points:

1. Check that the machine cover is fully closed during processing; 

2. There must be no gaps left around the honeycomb platform, it must be fully covered; 

3. After setting up the vacuum platform, before placing the material to be processed, put your hand near the exposed honeycomb platform to feel if there is a noticeable suction force. The presence of suction indicates a successful vacuum platform setup, no noticeable suction indicates an unsuccessful setup;

4. It’s best to avoid gaps between the material and the vacuum platform, as gaps will affect the vacuum platform’s effectiveness; 5. Confirm that the vacuum is turned on.

Using soft magnets as an example: Attach the soft magnets to the honeycomb platform, and use soft magnets to fully cover the gaps around the edges of the platform. Leave an unobstructed space on the honeycomb platform equal to the size of the material to be engraved, do not cover this area with soft magnets. To fully enclose the gaps around the honeycomb platform, wider soft magnets are required; it is recommended to insert one end of the soft magnets under the rails to prevent them from curling up, which could cause air leaks in the vacuum platform or interfere with the rail movement. Overlap the edges of the two soft magnets without leaving any gaps.
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Why Use a Processing Platform?

Some small diode laser machines often do not come equipped with a processing platform. To avoid damaging the surface, users typically place a board underneath the machine or material. However, during cutting, we will notice obvious stains or burn marks around the cut grooves. This is caused by the laser being reflected back onto the material surface from the board, which we refer to as burn marks.
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Equipping a processing platform can greatly reduce burn marks and produce smoother finished products. The image below shows the effect of cutting materials on an MDF board (left), an oxidized aluminum board (middle), and a honeycomb platform (right). The structure of the processing platform weakens the energy of the laser reflecting back onto the material, reducing damage to the bottom surface of the material. Additionally, the platform provides channels for the vaporized material to escape, resulting in a cleaner material surface.

Application Scenarios

Due to its unique structural design, the honeycomb platform has become the preferred choice for material processing. Its advantage lies in providing uniform support, and when combined with small tools like pins, magnets, and creasing paper, it can prevent the material from moving during processing and flatten warped materials to the greatest extent possible, thereby improving processing precision. This platform is particularly suitable for processing lightweight, thin, and small-sized materials like paper, leather, and thin wood boards. However, the honeycomb structure of the platform can easily accumulate dust, oil, and debris, requiring timely cleaning and maintenance.
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The blade platform is more suitable for processing large, thick, and flat materials like wood boards and acrylic sheets. Compared to the honeycomb platform, the blade platform has a smaller contact area with the material, which helps reduce reflected burn marks during cutting, resulting in a cleaner material back surface. Unlike the honeycomb platform, the blade platform is simpler to clean and maintain, but it is not suitable for processing small, thin and soft, or easily warped materials. Small materials may fall through the gaps between the blades, thin and soft materials cannot be well supported by the blades, and warped materials are difficult to flatten on a blade platform.
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The pin platform further reduces the contact area between the material and the platform by providing point support, which helps reduce reflected burn marks during cutting. The simple structure of the pin platform makes it relatively easy to clean and maintain. Additionally, placing a smaller pin platform on top of a honeycomb platform creates a height difference, which can be used for 3D cutting.
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The vacuum platform secures the material by creating a vacuum environment and using air pressure differences for adsorption, providing an extremely stable processing environment. This is highly suitable for scenarios requiring high-precision processing. Whether it’s detailed engraving or thin film cutting, the vacuum platform ensures that the material remains flat and stationary during processing. However, constructing a vacuum platform requires additional time and effort, and it is typically suitable for engraving extremely lightweight, thin, and soft materials that require high precision and flatness.
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Practical Case: Faux Leather - Newspaper Engraving

Without a vacuum platform, faux leather placed directly on the honeycomb platform has many wrinkles. These wrinkles can affect the engraving quality when engraving faux leather.

To create a vacuum platform, attach soft magnets to the honeycomb platform and cover all the gaps around the edges with soft magnets. Leave an unobstructed space on the honeycomb platform slightly larger than the engraving pattern size but smaller than the faux leather (material to be processed), and do not cover this area with soft magnets.

Place the faux leather on the platform and flatten it by hand.

After applying the vacuum platform, the faux leather is flattened.

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During regular use, it is necessary to clean and maintain the processing platform promptly. Regardless of the platform type, we provide corresponding cleaning machines, please refer to the relevant articles. Cleaning the entire honeycomb platform is a major undertaking. In comparison, the blade platform and pin platform structures are simpler, making cleaning and maintenance relatively easy; you can use a cloth and brush for simple cleaning. The vacuum platform can be disassembled after each use. If you use creasing paper, you can simply discard it; if you use soft magnets, you can wipe them clean and reuse them.


Different processing platforms have their own characteristics in terms of application scenarios, ease of cleaning and loading/unloading, and price: the honeycomb platform is the most versatile, the blade platform is suitable for cutting, the pin platform is suitable for cutting and 3D applications, and the vacuum platform is suitable for thin, lightweight, and soft materials. Selecting the appropriate processing platform can effectively improve processing efficiency and quality, providing you with a better processing experience.

Thunder Laser’s cutting and engraving machines are equipped with a dual-layer platform, with a honeycomb platform on top and a blade platform below, for convenient loading and unloading, allowing you to create without worry!