Materials Costs - Some Examples for your interest

So, I’ve been having a poke about to try and get a sense of what different materials cost - and how they compare against each other. Prices are in UK Sterling - so multiply 1.5 to get a rough US dollars price. Where I can I’ve tried to find approved laser grade materials, mostly from, a UK supplier and Amazon for some other bits.

All prices are per A3 sheet - approx 42 x 30 cm - a good workable size of the Glowforge bed
All prices are for 3mm thick, roughly speaking double it for 6mm.

£0.13 - EVA mats (11mm)
£0.57 - MDF
£0.76 - Cardboard
£1.46 - Birch
£2.60 - Laser Ply
£2.67 - Acrylic
£7.32 - Bamboo

£20.64 - Rubber (for stamps - 2mm thick)
Next, the amazing SQW scale of relative cost - assuming 3mm MDF is 1

0.2 - EVA foam
1.0 - MDF
2.0 - MDF 6mm
1.1 - Cardboard
2.2 - Birch
3.9 - Laser Ply
4.0 - Acrylic
10.9 - Bamboo

Firstly, I’m surprised Birch is cheaper than ply
Secondly, I’m amazed at how cheap EVA is - that might well be my prototype material of choice
Thirdly, cardboard (if bought, rather than recylced) is more expensive than MDF
Fourthly, materials costs for many things will be insignificant. For example:

Pair of acrylic earrings: 11pence
Small box (1 sheet mdf) 67pence
Large box (3 sheets mdf) £2.24
Large Dolls house (4 sheets mdf) £2.69
Birch Large Box (3 sheets birch) £4.50

Interesting doing some numbers on all this.

Any thoughts, any additions that anybody would like to add?


True enough for raw materials. But factor in the extra cost parts that you need for a project - little hardware bits and finishing materials (stain, polyurethane, etc) and your labor.

I think the metal corners and latch on my wife’s bag cost more than the wood.


@jamesdhatch Absolutely!!

And… don’t forget the tube cost, which I think is around $1 an hour of cutting

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dont forget cardboard for test cuts haha

I stopped at the 99cents only ( albeit a bit of a misnomer) today and found they had bamboo cutting boards 13.1in by 9.05 in (33.5cm x 23cm) for $1.99.(about 3/8 inch thick). Really nice piece of bamboo - is this a good price - compared to what I see online I may need to go pick up a few more tomorrow.


Lol, I"m currently searching, researching?, similar emporia in my area for inexpensive bamboo.

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Bamboo varies widely in its cut-ability. I couldn’t get through 1/4 of it on an 80 watt laser. I know some of it cuts more easily. Keep in mind before making a major investment.


How about engraving?

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And let’s not forget about the adhesives used…obviously they are not supposed to be toxic in a cutting board, but there’s always the chance that they are.

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Toxic to eat and toxic to inhale are different. :slight_smile: They use PVC for water pipes but don’t put it in your laser!


I use kitronik for most of my UK materials, their ply (both poplar and birch) is a better quality than hobbarts and a similar price