Exotic wood guitar picks

Playing around with a few exotic woods while cutting and engraving guitar picks. All woods do not burn the same (as I’m sure you all know). I had to go high speed and 60-ish power to keep some of the wood types from burning through. More cool than useful, but I’m excited to try pre-stamped aluminum picks as those could be used to play. Any one know if you can engrave tortoiseshell?


Cool stuff, yes there have been others who have used tortoises shell. If you do a search it should come up.

How unusual! (Would make a nice gift.) :grinning:

Very nice! I’m not sure about real tortoiseshell, but I’ve seen some pretty cool tortoises acrylic that might look good. I have a good amount of the beautiful white pearl acrylic and I’ve promised hubby I’d try making him a pick. Not sure if it’s too thick though?


I haven’t looked around yet for really thin acrylic sheets. The usual 1/8" and 1/4" stuff is way too thick for a guitar pick. The most burly picks are in the 1.14mm range for guitar, maybe a bit heavier for bass. So, on the thick side you’d have to find acrylic that’s about .045in thick. If that is something commonly available it would open a whole new world of Glowforging.

Inventables sells some at 0.06 in (1.6 mm), but I suspect it would be too flexible for a pick. (Cool idea though).

Guitar picks are flimsy so it might work… but that’s still pretty thick. For example, I typically play with a .50mm pick on the thin side. I rarely use the 1.14+ on acoustic or electric. But hey, nothing wrong with making some savage bass picks! I’m on it. The acrylic might make for some cool experimental prepared piano stuff…

Just did a search for pickguard acrylic and hit the jackpot. There are acrylics in every possible color and thickness (including tortoise). With material that thin it’s got my mind thinking about the possibilities of now having a flexible material to Glowforge. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll just make a cool custom motorbike noise maker for the back wheel of my son’s bike :slight_smile:


URL or it never happened! :slight_smile:



I found cast acrylic sheets down to .2mm in clear and .5mm in color. I guess there are a number of manufacturers that make “precision thin” cast acrylic sheets. Looking at the typical applications for ultra thin acrylic sheets, seems pretty flexible. No idea how brittle the thicker stuff would be. Maybe a thin Delrin sheet would be better?


Meh. Looking around there are lots of options for buying acrylic pick blanks. Back to exotic woods (can buy pick blanks of those too).

Thanks for that link, but I suspect it would work out pretty expensive.
At least it suggests to me that I should look at casting my own for my particular use, where thickness is important, but the optical quality is a much lower priority.


These are great! What’s the wood with the strong grain going through it?

@vitaetmusica, you should be able to obtain plastic sheet goods (perhaps even cutoffs) in useful thicknesses from a local plastics distributor, particularly if they do any fabrication/laser cutting in house. Acrylic, polycarb (‘Lexan’ et al) PVC, HDPE, etc. Let me know if you need more info. Happy to share, and I used to work at one of these. Happy creating!

Someone please correct me, but isn’t PVC something we should stay away from with lasers?

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You are correct.

Thanks! Zebra Wood. Great stuff.

Did you find out anything regarding the tortoise shell engraving? I have someone who wants a pick engraved and I need more information.

I did not find a source, but did confirm that you can engrave on actual tortoise shell (not the acrylic/plastic/resin equivalent). Real tortoise shell is quite rare these days, so this was basically a no-go.

Do you have any idea on settings? It’s a 2 mm guitar pick.

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