Materials and suppliers



Lowes. SC


Be aware… I’ve read somewhere that the hard board from lowes contains asbestos…been looking for the msds sheet for it specifically…that would suck since many a folks cut it all the time manually for paneling…I hope the source was wrong…


i can’t say you’re wrong, as i don’t know, but i’d be very, very surprised if this were the case for the 4x8 sheets. there definitely are products like fibroboard which has cement and asbestos. also, it’s a federal requirement that all such products are clearly labeled.


It appears the term is, MDF is “the asbestos of the 90’s” due to the formaldehyde content, and not because it contains actual asbestos.


Its also listed as formaldehyde-free.



Have you played with the machine and with these material? Where you cutting or engraving the material?



These are materials I collected over the 1.5 years of waiting for the Glowforge to arrive. Since receiving the Glowforge I have now used/tested many of the materials I collected and so far everything has been successful. I did not collect anything too exotic, so I would have expected as much.

Things that come to mind that I have not yet tested are the worbla, cedar planks, wood veneers and the bone. Is there anything in particular you were interested in?

Some of my favorite were the free Costco MDF, anything bamboo, low cost acrylic scraps, cardboard, Baltic Birch and B&F Plastics “garage sale” items. I am sure I have forgotten some.

I also really like Proofgrade. I have ordered over $300 of it so far, that should tell you how great it is to work with.


Have you tried the two-tone acrylic? Also, can I ask a silly question? I don’t have my machine yet and I wanted to know when you use the cardboard, does it burn, cut, or score during the process of using it.


Cardboard is highly varied. And I know some people even have special designations for some kinds (like soda/beer is often sold in cases made of chipboard, which is something I always called cardboard).

Some corrugated cardboard has such large internal channels that finding settings which cut through from top to bottom in one pass without causing a fire is essentially impossible.

With any cardboard, you want to avoid full cuts which re-cross the same square inch in under about 5 seconds. Heat dissipation is rather vital to avoid ember/burn issues which demolish your detail work.

If dealing with recycled cardboard, be wary of soaked-in flammable liquids (oil, chicken grease - which I guess is also oil…, toxic fume creating things…)

All of that said… it is absolutely possible to find settings to cut, score, or engrave absolutely any cardboard I have ever encountered.


I have used quite a bit of the two-tone acrylic. It works very well. Be sure to remove the plastic protective film from both sides and if you want the best results, mask it before use. You will find lots of recommendations for masking material on this forum.

I love cardboard! As @jacobturner pointed out, there are some general guidelines to follow, but it is cheap to test to find the desired settings. Once you dial in, it cuts very fast and makes a wonderful prototyping material.


Some of it is masked with a paper masking. I leave the backside (side that faces the bed/honeycomb) on so it doesn’t get a chance to get scratched and bear the brunt of any flashback that occurs. I will often take the top off as it can be a pain to week and acrylic usually cleans pretty well with a bit of an alcohol wipe.


Oh great! Thank for the information. I can’t wait to receive this machine. I am still not sure where to put it but by the end of next month, I will have it all figured out.


had to pick a few things up at HD and as I didn’t have the pickup, just grabbed a 2ft x 4ft sheet of the .125" hardboard, was around 5 bucks or so, cheap for testing things out :slight_smile:
best cut so far seems around 300 speed, full power, 3x (2x doesn’t always make it through, might try 250). 200 speed 2x chars more than 300 speed, 3x.
smoke/smell wasn’t too bad.

engraves quite nicely, but is obviously quite dark.


Thanks for posting this, I just got the medium silver mirror acrylic scrap package for $22, and it weighs 8.8 lbs! There was a handful of pieces almost too small to be used, but a good 50% are pieces that I can probably get a 3" x 3" size out of. If you are making small things or jewelry, this is a great bargain!


Has anyone tried TAP Plastic yet? They carry a variety of acrylic sheets. They’ll cut it for you with their laser cutter, but it’s a $100 fee for any new design last time I looked. The physical stores are pretty common here on the West Coast, which is why I ask.

There’s also a place called The Plastic Store in Torrance, CA if you’re looking for acrylic to pick up without having to order on-line.

I have my GF still sitting in it’s box in my living room. Another machine came earlier and took it’s place so now I have to find a place to put it where it won’t make the hubs mad.


What type of design?? Thats pretty pricey!


Evidently the folks in Denver gather as a pack like wolves when their remnants sales happen.


Anything they haven’t already made themselves. It was odd I wanted something they already had, but in neon pink instead of clear and they said the set up fee for that was $100 plus materials. But if they did it once, any other copies would be about $25. That was about six or seven years ago, and I was dead broke so it wasn’t feasible for me. now i can make my own funky table to display my robot dolls on!


Two more possible places…

Woodcraft stores might be a good source of wood, possibly even scraps. There’s stores all over, including one about five minutes from me.

This etsy shop sells fashion weight leathers that are vegetable tanned. One of the things I wanted to do with this laser was use it to cut out my doll clothes. Tracing all the pattern pieces and cutting them each out of leather is really time consuming and for me, physically painful because of tendinitis. So finding a fashion weight leather I can use in the machine is crucial for me… and all these pantsless dolls sitting around. My plan is to pay out to get one of the pelts to try out, if it doesn’t work I’ll for sure use it for something else. I’m just sad that the leather I HAVE is all chrome dyed. Or pleather.

the GF is going in the dining room where I can keep an eye on it and there’s nothing flammable(the lab has a lot of paints, glues, fabric in it, no need to take chances!) and someone else said the chrome dyed leather might give off carcinogens when laser cut… so I don’t want to take the chance of introducing them into my dining room! So even if it’s fashion weight and super thin… not going to risk it!

they have foiled vegetable tanned leather… that’s probably not safe in the laser either but it’s so pretty.


Not free, but fairly cheap and very easy is a box of 50 sheets of cardboard, 12x20. Great for alignment guides, etc.