Baltic Birch setting

What material setting would I set 1/4 Baltic Birch to cut ? I can set 1/8 Baltic Birch at Medium Draftboard and .125 focus and it cuts fine. I set the 1/4 and at .25 focus, same material and it won’t cut. Really confusing to me. Any ideas from you all? Thank you !!


I am moving this to Beyond the Manual as this material is not Proofgrade and Glowforge support will not address non Proofgrade material questions. Also, a search for baltic birch in the forum produces lots of answers.

Here is a starting point: Cutting Baltic Birch


Thank You !!

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I’d doubt you’d need to, but you could always do 2 passes.

But I think your best bet is to simply try a test sheet and increment up 10 powerses per test object. You’ll find one that cuts cleanly and that’s what you’ll want to use.


thank you

Another thing to remember is that 1/4" pieces are typically not actually .25 inches. Dimensional lumber isn’t typically the full measurement on the label. Digital calipers are always very handy for verifying material thickness before beginning a cut.

Additionally, the “Set Focus” function in the GFUI is remarkably effective for most of the materials I’ve worked with.

As for the .25 focus, most of my 1/4" Baltic Birch (from both Home Depot and from Wood Werks) is typically more of a .20 - .21 range, if I recall correctly.

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I will try .20 thank you

In case you’re new to this, you’ll find real Baltic Birch easier to get consistent results from vs birch ply from a big box like Home Depot or Lowe’s (they don’t sell Baltic Birch, the sell birch veneered plywood). BB is a defined manufactured product that consists of two things - birch & glue. There are two faces ofbirch veneer with one or more but h plies. It comes in 5’x5’ sheets (full size) or cutdowns. If you’re a special customer you may be able to order Russian sourced 4x8 sheets but it’s incredibly uncommon.

Because it’s designed to be used in cabinet making its definition includes restrictions on voids (none), content (birch & glue), knots (small to tiny) and patches (one side, 2" football/bowtie max & only a couple per sheet). So it cuts well with lasers and is generally consistent from sheet to sheet.

Birch plywood’s only requirement is that it have 1 face of birch veneer. The other side as well as the internals can be anything. The glues are often laser-resistant. Voids are allowed. Heck, you’ll find pictures here of blobs of Bondo used to fill spaces in plywood cores - Bondo doesn’t laser. Voids are hard to laser cut. Epoxy & external glues don’t laser well.

So standard birch ply will generally be harder to dial in for power & speed - even within a single sheet (there are techniques you can use to see where there are voids or sketchy stuff like Bondo or epoxy in the inner plies using very bright lights). It’s usually a good idea to do several multiple passes on 1/4" birch ply.

You’ll see people use the name for both products - it’s like the Kleenex of plywood. There is a difference and the differences are important in the laser cutting world. :slightly_smiling_face:

Use the Set Focus tool (under the gear icon in the UI). It will measure it precisely so you won’t need to pull out the calipers for every sheet you put in your GF.

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I have been testing on Birch Plywood and, as you said, my results are inconsistent. I do have some Baltic Birch, I’ll test on that

Thank you, you are being very helpful

An “advanced” technique for 1/4" ply is to duplicate your cut lines in 2 different colors. Set the first to cut using the Set Focus. The second color override the focus to be about .125" It will override the Set Focus determined thickness and focus the laser in the middle of the material for a cleaner cut. It’s better than simply doing 2 passes - that results in more char because you’re just pushing the same beam shape that’s focused on the surface until it breaks through.


Oh wow. Could have used this yesterday when cutting letters out of 1/4” with very charred results! Thanks for the tip.

I have consistent positive results with the B.B. with 120/100/1 pass/auto focus settings. Thank you for getting rid of my nightmare.


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