For reasons of general foolishness, I’m planning to use the GF to cut parts for a small machine, so I’m wondering two things:
what is the stiffest material that can be cut with a 40w laser?
what is the hardest (most wear-resistant) material that can be cut?
In my particular case, a full-size machine would be made primarily of steel, cast iron, and some bits of stainless. I’m looking at making a small very light-duty version out of laserable materials, partly as an experiment and partly because I don’t presently have access to a milling machine large enough to handle this full-sized in metal.
Some parts need to be quite stiff, while other parts need to be as wear (abrasion) resistant as I can manage. So, to be clear, I don’t particularly need to find a single material for both purposes, they’re separate components.
Also, I regard the entire assembly as being fundamentally sacrificial, because if I can manage this in the first place then I don’t mind just cutting replacement parts as the need arises (I’m trying to make a die filer for small nonferrous parts because, again, I’m being foolish).
A registered friction fit on 1/8 Baltic birch is very rigid and would likely be moreso if you glued it too. You could try cutting 1/4, but 1/8 cuts much more reliably. It’d be interesting to rigorously strength test a 1/8 assembly versus 1/4, but who has time?
Also, apparent rigidity is a function of size of your piece. 1/2” square of acrylic feels like a rock. A full sheet bends like a banana.
Well, in a perfect world I’d be able to find a laserable material that’s about twice as stiff as acrylic (so, say circa 6GPa or better both elastic & flexural modulus). If I can get that high I can probably avoid wholesale redesigning of components (just shrinking them instead). Which is the lazy way out, but laziness and foolishness go well together…