Materials and suppliers

Wood Identification Kit. I quite like the materials I order that are identified. Like the acrylic samples from earlier, I plan to laser off the top 3/4s for use and keep the bottom part with the tags for reference. $35 Prime.

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What is your testing protocol going to be? Not knowing the specifics of how the forge will interact with vectors and greyscale rasters in the cut file is holding me up. I know there are various templates that have power level and speed correlated with the template, but then how do we set up speed and power and focus? I would assume it will be trivial once we get a forge and open up the interface. I have a few templates ready to adapt to whatever is necessary. Part of it will be size of test piece and the materials. I have quite a few sample materials ready for the Glowforge, but before I would try any of them, I’d like to at least understand what may happen. I have not purchased anything for this reason because I’m not sure which material I’d focus on first (sorry for the pun). I do have suppliers identified though.

My plan was to start with the cheap or free materials first. Things like cardboard, thin MDF or anything I have leftover from projects and work up from there. Glowforge will also have some plug-n-play materials at some point if all goes to plan. However, none of the materials I have purchased or collected to date are anything I would consider exotic in laserland. I don’t have any heartburn over failure either. We learn from our mistakes…

I am also designing all my projects with adaptability in mind. I have not assigned any line widths or colors as of yet. None of my designs incorporate any raster imagery yet either, until more info is out there I am sticking to vector. I have however collected a bunch of raster images (maps, historic photos, whatever catches my eye) that I hope to use in the future.

Vegetable tanned leather. Thanks to @marmak3261 for this supplier. I just received this order over the past weekend. I counted at least eight colors and lots of various thicknesses. Several strips long enough to make belts that my kids have already laid claim to. Generous 10lbs of leather shipped for $60.

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CO2 laser markable Aluminum. This had been posted elsewhere I think, but I could not find it to give credit to the person that found it. Here is what comes in the free sample pack from http://alumamark.com/

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That could have been me. I posted their site when I ordered the same sample pack from them a couple of weeks back, but then I failed to document or post it. It arrived only a few days after ordering. Now I want a sample of the metalphoto and IDMark products.

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I’ve been engraving a long time. My personal opinion is that you cannot beat Rowmark’s quality for a lot of the laserable materials (http://rowmark.com/). I get a lot of mine from Johnson Plastics (http://www.johnsonplastics.biz/). They ship, and I have a business account with them. Rowmark also started breaking out into the mirrored acrylic recently (http://rowmark.com/laser/Reflexions/reflexions.asp), I have to say that their gold cuts like butter and has a much higher quality shine and colour. They are more pricey, but I think worth it.

Locally, we also use Port Plastics who get in Acrylite (http://www.acrylite-shop.com/). Their cast transparent greens, reds, and blues are amazing. Port Plastics also uses Plaskolite Fabback for their mirrored acrylic (http://www.plaskolite.com/ProductCatalog/FABBACK-Colored-Acrylic-Mirror), which is just a step under Rowmark’s and a little more affordable for some of my clients.

Inventables.com is a good back up. I find their high shipping costs to be a turn off, so only go with them if my normal suppliers can’t find something. Other complaints include them not keeping the same colours in supply, and without warning dropping products and styles. Laserbits.com is another supplier, but they often have more blanks that are ready to go. Slightly pricey, not always consistent in their supply, but definitely a good resource, especially when trying to come up with ideas.

Other things to think about:
We’ve set up acrylic sheets and had a print vendor UV print on them, and then use registration marks to cut around the shapes.

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Huh. I guess I should take a page out of his book and sells my scraps on eBay!

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It is great to hear from someone actively in the biz and buying supplies, thanks for your insight!

As someone who is new to plastics engraving (if not to working with plastics) I am very interested to hear that there is such a big difference in quality.

And forget ebay, you should sell your scraps here!

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I agree, post any laser materials you wish to sell here!

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I found some very nice small cork squares at Staples the other day. I would really like to make some cork coasters so I thought they would be a great buy! :slight_smile:

@spike provided this source for some nice 1/8" thick wood.

http://www.ocoochhardwoods.com/scroll_saw_lumber.php

Lots to choose from and the quality seems very good. Ordered 18 - 4"x24" unique species for $100 shipped. I have already cut them down to 20" for use in the Glowforge. You can see the 4"x4" cut-offs in the top of the photos.

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Oh, you’re going to have fun with that selection. YUM!

Looking at how common 24" wide stock is (acrylic sheets, plywood, MDF, etc…) I was figuring the pro v2.0 should have a 25" pass through slot and until then someone was going to make side money with a table saw turning 4’x8’ stock into 5 - 19" x 48" pieces. or 20 - 12" x 19" pieces.

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Love it! Is that one on the left in the bottom photo birch or yellow heart?
Be careful with that padauk. Small pieces break off easy.

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Yellow heart…good eye!

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It occurred to me that with the alignment possibilities of the GlowForge it should be extremely easy to align a design or pattern with issue areas such as knot holes so you don’t have problems cutting through. On the flip side it will be great to use them to your advantage like if you wanted to use a knot in a piece of wood as the eye of a dinosaur.

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Just like Marquetry, but with lasers! yup.

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Looks like a Catan set in the making.

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This thread has caused my Amazon christmas list to become completely filled with veneer sample packs and leather. I’m okay with that.

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