1/2 inch pine plywood cut through results

I wanted to see what it took to cut through 1/2 inch pine plywood, uncertified material. I would have posted this in the other plywood post, but it has been locked. Here are the results with speed and power notes in the pictures:

The 6 pass demo probably would have gotten through if I tried again with either 2 or 3 more passes.


I’m too lazy to go through all that. I’d just use my jigsaw for 1/2". Of course, that wouldn’t help with smaller details. Thanks for posting your results though. :slight_smile:


As noted elsewhere, if you first engrave half the way down, cutting the second half is easier. By direct cutting, there is a point that cutting will not cut beyond no matter how many times you try as the energy is wiped out on the way down.


I’m all about experimentation, but a 40/45W CO2 laser is optimal for cutting 1/8" material, give or take a little. Even 1/4" can be a challenge unless it’s “manufactured” with a high degree of consistency.

I’ve actually cut >1/2" pine picket fence material in a single pass, lots of flame, but would never share settings - I did share a video. It’s just way beyond what the machine was designed for.


Thank you for posting your settings. I’m surprised someone hasn’t come up with a pamphlet that list settings for cutting different types & thickness of wood, or if they have I’ve never come across it.

There is, it’s a spreadsheet linked from ‘the matrix’ over in Tips and Tricks.

It’s unlikely to contain 1/2 pine because, again, that’s way beyond the scope of a 40/45W CO2 laser.


From what I’m starting to learn from other laser avenues, I think 40-45W could cut 1/2" pine reasonably well. We just don’t have a long focal length lens on the glowforge to do it. I’ve seen a diode laser cut very close to half inch wood. Granted it’s ridiculously slow to do so, but they do it. On my new machine I got a 2.5" focal length lens with it which is supposed to be better for cutting thicker materials because the cones making up the focal point are at much steeper angles. Granted, acrylic isn’t wood, but Troy TM even cuts some 1/2" thick acrylic on the GF with 100 speed / full power / 2 passes. He didn’t seem happy at the end of the video but he did it. :rofl:


To be honest, I cut what I think is 5/8" (not a typo) pine picket fencing in a single pass but I would NEVER share how I did it as it was VERY flamey and the cut was quite charred. I did post a video or pic at the time.

The burned look was desired in my case.

I keep a damp rag alongside the fire extinguisher when trying things with “unusual” materials.

1 Like

i’ve cut 1/2" acrylic (pretty sure it was 3 passes, but it was a few years ago). but the edges get slumpy and if you’re not careful, it’ll melt back together again since you’re going so slow. plus it’s a more angled edge from the slumpiness. i used it as a base, so it didn’t matter much. but trying to cut a workable slot for the piece that slotted in was a challenge.

1 Like