Alternative to using PG Medium Draftboard?

I have seen many posts about materials that can be purchased from the local Home Depot, Menards, Lowe’s, etc. but haven’t come across if anyone has ever posted what good alternatives that are near equal to, equal to or better for the PG materials.

Anyone have a favorite they use in place of PG Medium Draftboard?

And, if you have other materials that are similar to other PG materials, would you mind sharing a list of them?


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I buy the stuff Home Depot sells and it works just as well as the PG material. Side by side, the only discernable difference is the shade of brown.

You just need to be sure that the draft board you buy is formaldehyde-free and you’re good to go.


Oh, great! Thank you! So, is it actually called “draftboard” at Home Depot? I have purchased “hardboard” there in 1/4" thick panels, and it’s done very well but am looking for something thinner, like 1/8" thick. I’m not sure if they sell it in 1/8" or not. I’ll have to check.

Check the isle at Home Depot where they have cut, smaller sheet goods. You’ll find 1/8" stuff there.

Draft Board / Hard Board are sort of the same thing. Lately I’ve been using the dark brown hard board as I like the color better (I’m building a lot of stuff for my workshop) and it cuts really really well.


That’s awesome! Thank you so much! I have a bunch of graduation ornaments to make for a class and don’t have time to wait on an order arriving!

On a side note, have you or anyone else pre-painted the hard board or draft board and then cut it? I don’t want to paint all of those by hand! LOL!

I have prepainted before. If I do that then I use masking tape so I don’t have any burn marks on it but it works good.
I also really like the purebond products from Home Depot. They deliver free to my home. I have used the maple, walnut, and mohogany (I think). They cut well. They are filled but i have never encountered issues with not cutting through. They are cut to fit the GF!!

Hunt down better sources if you can. Ideally you’ll find a lumber dealer that sells baltic birch and MDF/hardboard sheets. Cheaper than home depot by a mile, and Baltic is better than MDF in many applications. What city are you closest to? I’d look to see if there’s a Rugby architectural building products location near you, it’s my go-to.


No. Draftboard is another name for MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), hardboard is an entirely different type of fiberboard, much more dense and harder to cut. If anything, you’ll be looking for small-dimension MDF (1/8"-1/4" thick) to use in a Glowforge, often called ‘craft’ or ‘project’ board.


I used to use an MDF panel with chalkboard coating on one side for my prototyping needs. It is no longer sold. Was replaced with an 0.19" thick MDF panel with chalkboard coating on one side and dry erase coating on the other. Similar to the PG draftboard except for the coatings. The cost has also almost doubled during the pandemic.

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As stated above, “hardboard” and MDF are not the same. Hardboard is “HDF” or High Density Fiberboard. They are manufactured in similar ways but (also as stated above) HDF is much denser.

Either work just fine in the Glowforge and HDF is much more common in ~1/8" sheets at big-box hardware stores. I’ve used HDF for most of my passthrough projects, as the risk of failure would not mean trashing expensive material. :crossed_fingers:


Wasn’t sure which post you were responding to but since hardboard wasn’t mentioned since your last comment about it, it might have been mine. The chalkboard/Dry Erase panel I linked to has an MDF core.

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Keep in mind that draftboard is the dirtiest of the PG materials - so if that’s your go-to be prepped to clean your machine lenses (5) and fans (3) pretty frequently. My first sign that it’s cleaning time is a not-quite-successful cut on the right side. Every time a good wipe down will fix it for that job, and then it’s followed by a full clean on everything.


Sounds great. I really appreciate your insight on this!

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St. Louis or Springfield, IL would be the closest for us, but we have a daughter in Pittsburgh, PA and a son in Fort Collins, CO that we visit often. :wink:

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@yoyodyne2112 and @rpegg , thanks to both of you helping me out with this! :slight_smile:


I have definitely noticed how much soot is created from the hardboard. My GF has gotten pretty dirty…I am nervous about cleaning it though after seeing so many posts from people saying after they cleaned it, many things were off afterward with focusing, etc. :grimacing:

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If you follow the directions provided on the GF Support page, you have absolutely nothing to fear when cleaning yours – cleaning is an absolute necessity if you plan to get years of service out of it. Mine’s four years old and going strong.


Just be careful. Don’t spray cleaners onto surfaces, spray on towels/rags and wipe things down. Control any liquids used to ensure that you don’t accidentally promote corrosion on any connector ends, and wipe with care, to avoid accidentally dislodging connectors and cables, and pay special attention to the black ribbon cable at the rear of the Glowforge chamber. Damage to that cable often occurs when people open the lid as far as it will go while they’re cleaning.

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Might check with these guys to see what they have In thin stock:

St Louis has a menards, some people swear by them.

And so on. I just did a google map search for “plywood supplier” in St. Louis. Gives you quite a list. Now to just find out if any of them carry 1/8” materials… but I’ll leave that to you :slight_smile:

I order MDF from Craft Closet, and I’ve never been disappointed.

I also pre-paint it, mask it, then cut it. I find it is a much neater paint job if I do it that way.