It’s not the cheapest (ranges from $40-$60/20 sheets), but I’ve now gone through three sets of it and every one was spot on. Unlike actual Proofgrade wood, it’s only perfect on one side and has fills on the other, it’s not finished, and it doesn’t come with masking already applied - but the setting works, and for some that’s more important!
For now. Glowforge may change that setting at any time.
Also, I suspect that you are overpowering your cuts. MDF is a fair bit harder to get through than birch layers, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that you’re getting reliable cuts. For example: looking at my pro, I currently see 170/full coming up as the medium basswood plywood setting, whereas I cut my BB very reliably at 205/full, and a little less reliably up to about 215/full.
So, who cares? Why are those 35 speed points important? Well, at 170/full you’re tearing the wood up more than you need to. On tighter cuts and finer details you’ll fry your materials a lot more than is necessary. The edges of BB get darker and darker with slower cuts, so your BB edges will be very dark indeed at 170 versus 205. Lastly, it’s significantly slower.
So, doing a material test and zeroing in on the fastest speed you can get reliable cuts with will pay you back in time, materials, and maybe aesthetics if you want lighter edges.
This is debatable, not the least of which is that anyone who is using non PG materials should be aware of what they’re doing. You’re not a casual once you graduate to custom materials.
Take a more concreate example: if someone is cutting a very intricate design (etsy earring designs are a very common “getting my feet wet” project), 170/full will toast your BB to the point of the design failing at least, and catching fire at worst. Overpowering very tight details is dangerous.
Add that risk to the list I made above, and testing a material to get the “proper” settings is a very good idea.
Your advice isn’t wrong – it will work, and it is probably adequate for most people and projects even with the heightened risks. All I’m saying is that you may want to go that extra mile, it really does pay off.
Good advice! Medium Maple Ply were my fall back/lazy settings for Baltic Birch (no idea how they compare to bassword, but it doesn’t matter), but I now have specific BB settings saved on my machine. I guess I’ve been really lucky. I’ve had no trouble cutting Baltic Birch from any of my suppliers.
I think you meant neither of those things have proven to be true? If so, fire risk increases with design complexity. A simple box should be no issue, which is why I pointed to a finer design, like a delicate earring design from etsy or some such. That’s where overpowering can really bite you.
Yeah, and they’re quite dark. From 2017:
You can get a much lighter color than what you’re seeing at 170/150. In fact multiple cuts at very high speed is the lightest method. I’ve never tried to see how light I could get it, mostly because I’m impatient. I go for the fastest speed at the highest power that will get get it done in one pass.
Anyway, again, you’re not wrong, your way works fine for most things. Just something to consider if you ever want to speed things up or get lighter edges, or if you find a fine design getting a little too toasty.
aaaand we’re back around to you missing the point that my post was for new users.
Comments like “you’ll toast your work and it’ll catch fire” will scare new users and then we get almost constant “why won’t mine cut through” questions because they’re using settings that get you kiss cuts if everything is working perfectly. The PG settings were designed around get through every time. This material with that setting will get through every time. The points you are making are valid - but they are far beyond what a new user (and yes, new users are using non-PG materials frequently on their very first day) needs.