Which is easier on the GF: draftboard or plywood?

I use my GF to cut out words for signs. So far I like using the laser approved MDF or draftboard because I don’t need to sand it, but is it “harder” on the machine vs baltic birch plywood? Aka, I’m I putting more wear on the laser cutting through certain materials vs others?

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Nope. It’s harder on the filter if you’re running one, because it fills it up faster, but it doesn’t do any damage to the machine. (You might have to clean the lenses and windows a little more frequently, but that’s pretty simple.)


Thank you! That makes me feel better. And yes, definitely need to clean everything after my latest show prep. Thanks again!

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I’ve gotta disagree with this. My Glowforge Pro is only a month old, and heavy use of draftboard is killing it. I literally had our room full of smoke and all the house’s smoke detectors going off earlier this week after doing an engrave on draftboard.

My wife has been making full sheets of earrings that are engraved then cut from medium PG draftboard, and the smoke and vaporized glue is clogging up the whole machine. In addition to having to clean all the lenses after every 1-2 prints, the exhaust fan and port became completely clogged by what’s essentially reconstituted draftboard: wood fiber/smoke glued itself back together all around the honeycomb grate behind the fan until most of the airflow was blocked, and the blades of the fan had a thick coating on them. I know it’s gotten too bad when smoke starts pouring out of the front of the machine instead of being sucked out the back.

I’ve had to do the “official exhaust fan cleaning” process 3 times in a month, using 3M degreaser to get the fan blades clean, and a combination of metal pokers and q-tips and a vacuum to get the grate unclogged. Plus, the whole inside of the machine, the tube, the doors, the rails, have a buildup of brown resin on them, some in parts that are uncleanable.

I don’t have this problem no matter what I do with wood or plastic. I have wood engraves that take 2.5 hours to complete and the machine looks relatively pristine afterward. Only the draftboard ruins everything.

I’d love any tips if anyone has them. Because my wife loves making stuff with draftboard, and I have to try to steer her to other materials to avoid the downtime and potential damage to our machine.

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