What do you use for 1/4" Materials?

I am venturing into cutting 1/4" and find getting material that cuts a problem. I got a variety pack from Planks and Blanks that barely cut at 130 full power with 2 passes. Other boards from Lowes are hit or miss if they cut. I just ordered some Columbia walnut boards from Home Depot to see how they do.

What 1/4" material do you do get that cuts consistently? What settings do they cut at without charring? Any input would be greatly appreciated.


I don’t.

The machine is optimized/the power of the laser is best suited for 1/8" material.

Some people do use 1/4", so they might offer some advice. I’ve just never had much luck with it, even Proofgrade from the Glowforge store.


the best luck I have had with 1/4" material was with super dry cedar planks. They engraved amazing and cut fine with two passes.


are you talking about plywood or hardwood?

i’ve had better luck with hardwood than ply. but i’ve cut 1/4" baltic birch with minimal issues.

with plywood, something like baltic birch has a more consistent core that will cut better. if you’re buying other types of plywood that don’t have as consistent of a core, you can run into issues cutting through. and the thicker the wood, the more likely you are to have issues.


Here are some 1/4" materials I’ve had good success with, along with what cut setting to use.

All of these are sold as laser-ready materials and will cut and engrave consistently in one pass, or at least have always done so on my Glowforge Pro.


I use Columbia Forest PureBond Plywood in the 10 pack from Home depot. Always cuts great. Sometimes it’s hard to get but you just have to be vigilant.


What setting do you use?

Thanks, I haven’t tried hard wood yet

I just use the proofgrade settings, 1/4" walnut I use thick walnut setting & 5/32" walnut I use medium walnut setting & so on.


The only 1/4" non PG material I’ve had really good luck with was a red oak I got from a lumber yard (not Lowe’s or HD). I found that I get good results using the Thick Maple Plywood setting. I have been successful in cutting some 1/4" maple ply I got from the lumber yard, but had to slow the cutting down just a couple degrees to get it to cut through, although it left quite a bit of charring, so I only use it on stuff I don’t care too much about such as boxes that I plan to paint.


Check out #6:

The bottom line is that no one can tell you exact settings for your material, you’re going to have to test to be sure.


I find 1/4" (6mm) mdf cuts great, but the 1/4" mdf plywood with hardwood veneer is very hit and miss and is also unpredictable based on the grain of the wood on the underside. Cutting with multiple passes causes it to look too burnt.

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So I got some Columbia Forest 1/4" double sided Walnut (0.20" measured )from HD and it cuts like butter at the thick walnut plywood setting! Just ordered some red oak and mahogany! This will work out great for my purposes. Thanks for everyone’s help


Good to know! I love their Maple product, and won’t even try to cut any other 1/4" ply anymore. I tested lots of manufacturers before trying the Columbia Purebond. And for those interested, I recently tried to find 4x8’ sheets of the same quality at a plywood seller (Rugby). Turns out that Home Depot prices are pretty great for a B1 grade ply. What Rugby had available was B4, which I wouldn’t even touch.

Plywood grading is A, B, C, D, for the front, and 1, 2, 3, or 4 for the back. Anything less than a 1 for the back is going to make consistent lasering not great, since it allows larger knots and whatnot. Home Depot must be buying in very large lots to offer it at the price that they do, especially once you take into account the drudgery work of moving with a trailer, then cutting down to size that a large sheet of plywood would need.

I’ve been meaning to try the other flavors from Columbia Purebond that HD offers, thanks for adding your experience about how well they cut!

Oh, and by the way, since my laser is older, I slow the speed of the PG Thick Maple setting down by 10 so that it is 140/Full.


The pre-cut Glowforge-sized packs never touch Home Depot’s hands. They’re shipped directly from the manufacturer to your house (or to your store for pickup).


that’s a fair point, but i think what’s still happening is the HD factor bumps up the volume to allow columbia to keep that price low compared to some of the other vendors.

IIRC, columbia forest originally only did 12x24, which is a standard size. but enough people asked them (and one of their sales folks was in some of the FB groups) and they added the GF sized sheets.


I just wish they had 1/8" too.

They have 5/32" and their maple ply is probably my most used material for the past couple of years.

Never, ever had a problem with it, It’s not masked, but I rarely need masking. GF-sized sheets at a very reasonable price. Much better than Baltic Birch from Rockler.

The only “issue” is the sheets are not flat, so they have to be pinned down. I don’t consider that a problem, as even Proofgrade materials need to be for the most part as well.

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(I just checked a couple of scraps and new sheets… the 5/32" is .135-.1355" That’s way closer to 1/8" than 5/32" - which would be .156" or so.)


Good to know, thanks. I just printed out a conversion chart because I am so horrible at math, and see how close to 1/8" the 5/32" is. And if your test scraps are only .135, that’s really good!