Cutting MDF

I’ve never used a laser cutter before so I’ve been doing a lot of reading. One of my primary materials would be MDF and I’ve read some conflicting information on wether one should cut with it. I also noticed that MDF is not listed in the materials section under your specs.

From what I read, the glues in MDF clog filters and smell. That should not be an issue for me because I have a very good 3-stage shop filtering system. Are there any other issues/reasons why not to cut MDF? Would it make a mess in the machine? or require the optics to be cleaned? Would there is warranty issues?


I have several laser cut MDF templates that I use in my guitar business… so obviously some lasers can cut it. I just don’t know how powerful a laser was used.

Cutting MDF is usually no problem. A 3 stage filter should be OK. I’d probably add an additional carbon stage at the end just in case. The issue with resins in MDF is two-fold: 1) clogging filters; 2) really nasty phenol formaldehyde vapors. Scrubbing as much of those out of the exhaust is critical if you’re venting inside. The 2-stage filter on the PRO probably won’t cut it. As for the “usually no problem” bit…we’ve found that the ability to cut MDF on a ~ 40W laser system depends on the manufacturer. The exact composition of the resins varies, so some will cut fine while others won’t cut at all even with 10+ passes. The stuff they sell at Home Depot, for example, won’t cut. Purchase from a few different suppliers, find one that works and stick with it.