[POLL] The best material to laser is

The best material for a finished product is… (Choose up to two)

  • Hardwoods
  • Proofgrade plywoods
  • Acrylic
  • Leather
  • Tile/slate

0 voters

If you have specific details about why your choices are best, feel free to comment.

I love working with hardwood maple and yellowheart more than just about any other materials. Laser cut super easily/consistently, leaves a beautiful golden edge, and they can be sanded to 1800 grit (or more) for a mirror shine. Makes a really good impression.

D: All of the above.

I do a LOT of plywood that is not proofgrade.
I usually have fantastic results with acrylic.

I have been happy with hardwood, tile, and leather.
I have had fantastic results with etching metals - anodized or marking steel and its alloys.

The best material is frequently the one in my Glowforge; though not all have been unqualified successes. Really, though, so many things work really well. Usually poor results are operator error or things that never were going to work well.


No can do…that would be like asking someone to pick a favorite child. :smile: They all work for different applications.


Come on now, you know there’s a material that is your fave to work with. The one that gets the most oohs and aahs, the one that is easiest to cut, the best bang for the buck… you can do it, no one will tell the other children. :slight_smile:

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Chuckle. I honestly don’t have a favorite. I like tile and plywood and fabric and paper and acrylic and leather. And cardboard.

Ohhh…I’m not real crazy about blue mirrored extruded acrylic…it smells like a burning dead skunk dipped in a vat of formaldehyde. And the smell when cutting through 3M tape is similar. But other than that…no issues.


i’m kinda w/Jules on this. favorites differ by what i’m making. i like hardwood for boxes, different kinds of materials for ornaments based on which ornament it is, BB for some of the signs i’ve made… i’m all over the place.

BB is still the best bang for the buck, but not the best material for everything.


Dang. I have some of that and haven’t used it yet. That’ll be fun.


A: The one that suits your design & gives you the results you want…

Some images work better on different materials, of course, e.g. you can’t really get 3D designs to work on leather or tile, but can look great in wood.

Or by project, e,g, for business cards, I’m not going to use tile. But I have great cutting and etching results on card stock or veneered wood “cardstock”. But I’m not going to use those if I want to make a key tray or box!

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Tile is the perfect medium!

  • Very cheap
  • Doesn’t catch on fire
  • Doesn’t smell
  • Leaves no mess

Psht you guys are way too levelheaded. Hardwoods rule, acrylics drool!



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Paper wasn’t on the list but I do more of that than anything else!


It was a hard choice, but I looked at it plainly, and I get way more use out of my plywood. I agree that certain projects are better with different materials or even mixed, but that doesn’t mean I do those as often.

The next questionnaire should have subcategories: Cherry, walnut, maple etc. Cherry sweeps for me, clear acrylic is a beauty, especially when mixed with cherry :wink: and as for the other options, I like the veneer, but it’s difficult to remove the back if you’ve cut it a lot. I haven’t played with any leather, but the projects I see on here makes me want to!

Cardboard is fun, and so is paper. My wife made me throw out a lot of boxes that I was saving to cut up…still saved a few!


Exactly. None are my favorite and none get more oohs and aaahs than another. I can (and do) wow people with chipboard as easily as acrylic or walnut.

The star of this show, my friends, is the MACHINE, and everything we know has gone into it.


I expect a new made on a Glowforge thread to prove this! Pictures or if never happened :slight_smile:


I agree that they all have their specific benefits and uses.

Maple plywood and Baltic Birch for living hinges
African Mahogany and Purple Heart hardwood for elegance.
Glass and acrylic for light effects.
Tile for crispness, durability and cost.
PG plywood for ready finishes and ease of repetitive, consistent uses.

I use real sail cloth for fun accents. Rather boring in that it cuts cleanly, but doesn’t discolor in a very useful way for engraving.

Want to try more paper cutting / layering and leather projects.


In 57 years I still haven’t been able to settle on a favorite COLOR, and you want me to pick a favorite material out of things I’ve only been using for 8 months? Unpossible.


I burn through so much MDF. It’s a great test material, but also I am selling so many finished pieces in MDF. Currently I’m using over 100 sheets a month on this that and the other.


You’re really putting me in the spot…I’ll post some and tag you when I can!

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