Birch plywood

I am trying to.make a design out of 1/4" birch plywood and for some reason it will cut 80% but certain areas it doesn’t go through. I have the thickness on the focus correct and the settings are 150 speed at full power. Any suggestions would be appreciated

Often that’s the nature of the beast with some of the standard off-the-shelf plywoods. Glue pockets, knots, voids, etc all will stop the laser beam in its tracks.

You can try slowing your speed a little more to brute force your way through but that won’t work a lot of the time and can leave poor quality edges if it’s too slow.

Those woods are generally made for mechanical-type contact cutters (saws, etc.) rather than lasers. Their uniformity can leave a lot to be desired, which is why Glowforge developed the Proofgrade line - to attempt to make a uniform product that works well with contactless cutting.

If you want assistance from support with a cutting issue, you’ll want to try some tests on draftboard, which is their benchmark for testing.


Sometimes plywood can warp. Make sure it is completely flat on the bed.

Is this laser approved plywood? Some plywoods have stuff in them that make them nearly impossible to cut with a laser.

Not sure how you came up with that setting, but I have a Pro (more power than the other models) and use 150/FULL to cut through 1/8" BB. No way it would cut through 1/4". I use much slower speed for thicker material.

In any case, support can’t help with non-proofgrade materials or settings so I’ll move this to the appropriate forum. Unfortunately, posting in P&S opens a support ticket so they will have to check in anyway…

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I use 200/full on 1/8 BB and pretty much never miss.

I can go 215/full and still get 90% plus success.

Is your pro feeling well? Are you sure you have BB?


I would use around 145 on 1/4” Baltic (with a pro). That calipers at .240”. No way For us to tell for sure the true thickness of the wood in question — 1/4” rating seems to range from .180” up to .150” depending on SKU.

If OP is getting 80% cut through, it seems indicate material inconsistency/issues, or, depending on the pattern of miscuts, possibly warping.

Cuts PG material with PG settings without issue.

I get my BB from Rockler.

If you have any way to cut/transport it, you might want to head down to Rugby ABP. Rockler is expensive and apparently harder to cut.

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I get it, if I was using it in quantity it would be worth the 60 mile round-trip, but I’ve used two 24x30" sheets in 2 years. Rockler BB is 1/5th cost of PG Maple ply, and I have a store 5 minutes from my house.

Thanks for mentioning Rockler … Just found out I have one 30 min away from my house!

I always forget you’re pretty far out.

PG or not its the same material. I have worked with them for years. There is no difference just a tag. I have the plus and it has worked great already. Just not sure why now. Could be just need to clean the lense as i have had that issue with my other laser . Thanks for the input though

What is the same material?

There is a huge difference between just Birch plywood and Baltic Birch. Baltic Birch is made to very high standards, Just plain Birch… not so much…


My problem is I already cut several pieces of birch plywood no problem. It just seems that now it doesn’t want to cut all the way through for some reason. Maybe cause there is fine detail I am not sure

I haven’t read this whole thread closely, but the thing you need to keep in mind with most plywood (not proof grade) is that across pieces, and even within one board you can have huge difference due to glue used, layers, voids, and many other factors.

Look closely at the side of your plywood, how many layers do you see? If you see more than 3, I would always go into it knowing you will likely have great difficulty getting nice clean cuts. My own rule of thumb is to never even look at plywood if it has more than three layers (core, plus the two outer layers). Those with much more experience than me, I’m sure, probably will chime in with more information but so far this has served as a great starting point for me when I am looking at wood.

Baltic Birch is considered a more consistent, nicer plywood to use for your laser than just plane birch. So even though you have been successful in cutting birch, doesn’t mean you will cut it all, especially using the same settings.

If you want to figure out if it is your machine versus the wood, you will need to cut the Gift of Good Measure on proofgrade.

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Most good Baltic Birch has at least 5 layers except for the very thinnest and I prefer 5 layers at least. In Revolution and some of the Columbia stuff has 5 layers but the outer ones are thinner than paper which is quite an annoyance but in every case above the cutting is 90%+ clean.

By contrast I got some 3-layer Birch from Home Depot that was really horrid as considerable laser-proof bondo was used everywhere and even a leftover smudge of it would block the laser from cutting there.


I figurer it out. Thank you for the response. Always appreciate it.


Agreed. The stuff at HD isn’t great at all. I’ve been sourcing from Amazon and have had really good luck with these 2:

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