Regarding Cutting Performance

I made an interesting discovery yesterday; all plywood is not created equal. I’ve been using 3mm Russian birch from the same supplier for years and now, due to supply chain interruptions or whatever, it is no longer available and won’t be available until late 2021. (If you want to see something that’ll take your breath away, go see what a 2x4 cost at Lowes these days). Anyhow I substituted 2.6 mil plywood from another manufacturer and much to my dismay, I have discovered that its cutting performance is horrendous. It has a different core which results in ablation and charring which attenuates the cutting power. Initially, my instincts suspected a laser tube failure, but I checked cutting performance with a piece of old 3mil stock and it cut like butter.

Point is, seemingly similar products can have result in huge variations in performance which might lead you in the wrong direction.



Yikes, I wonder what the glue the core is made with? I’ve heard of some plywood using metallic flakes in the glue.

Yeah wood prices are crazy right now. Where were you buying your ply? I use ocoochhardwoods. Their price is still pretty reasonable.


I buy 4x8 sheets at a local hardwood store, Brazos River products. I use a lot of it and I’ve never had any problems securing stock. I’m going to check around today if it ever stops raining.

Thanks for the lead; I’ll check it out.


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This is what I THINK is going on…the 3mm Russian birch that I typically use has a double-sided finish. The core section is comparatively very thin (and I believe just binder and glue) making Russian birch mostly honest-to-god wood. This other stuff I tried, even though slightly thinner, was more core than wood.

I’ve been following this forum for a long time and guys routinely complain about cutting performance. The lightbulb went off for me yesterday; seemingly similar materials can have radically different characteristics that dramatically impact laser performance.