Settings for shop grade plywood

I’m on my second day of experimenting with my new GF and decided to try and make a box with 1/4 inch shop grade plywood. Can someone give me an idea of what settings work best to cut the pieces? I tried high speed and high power one time and not even close. Then read some other discussions and went with 140 speed and high power, but that seemed like overkill. Thanks

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1/4" is right on the limit of what can be cut cleanly, and it depends on the quality of the material you have. Most commonly-available plywood is not suitable, contains way too much filler and voids - but good quality Baltic Birch is generally an exception. Unfortunately, “shop grade” to me implies cheap, and cheap rarely produces good results on a laser.

You’ll just need to follow the dozens of posts on how to test for the material you have on-hand.

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If you haven’t worked through the First Prints tutorials I highly suggest doing so. You need to understand the basics of power, speed and more. This will save you so many headaches.

I would work through the whole thing but here is where to jump right into manual mode:

The beginning;


The best way to cut 1/4" or above shop grade is to cut a router templet on the glowy and then use that with a router and router guide.
The :glowforge: does great with 1/8" Baltic Birch and will trudge through 1/4".

Welcome to the forum.

1/4" plywood is a challenge. Here are some discussions of the issue. You will find the search function of the forum to be extremely useful. Search results for '1/4" plywood' - Glowforge Owners Forum

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Thanks everyone for this great feedback. I tend to dive in on projects, but I realize I need lots more study time.

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Diving in is a great way to learn! As was mentioned earlier, the quality of the ply is critical. I’ve had ply cut to a virtual line in the board and just stop. Something changed, probably the filler, but knots, glue, voids, all play in. You don’t know until you try. I usually get my basic wood from Woodpeckers crafts and have had good results, but there is also a spreadsheet available on the forum with sources and settings. I’ve attached the 1/4 inch settings I use for woodpeckers 1/4 inch Baltic. Hope it helps. Have fun with your GF! Looking forward to seeing what you cut!

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I do a lot of 1/4 inch wood, both cut and engrave. If you want to know what ill work for you try this…

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Why are you cutting at 100 power and not full power?

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A picture says more than words sometimes. This was Home Depot Birch as opposed to Baltic Birch that is made to a better standard…

Good question! 100 power works for me and the burn seems less. In general, my cuts just drop out with these settings. What do you use?

I typically use the maximum (full) power for all cuts on wood and only adjust the speed. That works best for me. When figuring out my settings, I use the glowforge settings as a starting point. If I am cutting 1/8" birch plywood I tell the glowforge that I am using 1/8" hardwood. Then I look at the values that the glowforge chose and usually slow the speed in increments of 10 until I get the results that I want. The glowforge folks have spent a lot of time coming up with the settings so use them as a starting point. One last thing, you will always find that they use full power for the cuts.