My designs are primarily made from 1/4″ birch plywood.
I’ve found that birch cuts easily and cleanly, and takes stain very well. It’s also relatively inexpensive and lightweight, which helps me keep my costs and shipping low.
My other common material is 1/8″ MDF, or Medium Density Fiberboard.
This material is a pressed paperboard, not actually wood. It’s lightweight and inexpensive, but not very strong. I use it for business cards and other items where price and weight are more important than long-term durability.
I can also cut acrylic sheets in various colors. However, the acrylic is quite expensive, and also makes my workshop smell terrible. In the future, I plan to do more token sets and acrylic items, but for now I’m working primarily in wood.
I’ve tried many different types of wood at this point before choosing birch plywood as my favorite.
Thinner materials are easier for the laser cutter to cut through, but they’re also prone to warping. I’ve tried 1/8″ maple, meranti, and red oak, and it was a challenge to produce a playing board that would lay flat. Ultimately, I decided that anything thinner than 1/4″ wasn’t going to work for regular use.
I’ve also been experimenting with some slightly thicker wood, about 1/3″. Due to the thickness, I’m running into a problem where the wood is igniting from the laser’s heat, and burning away at the edges of any cuts I make! Thicker wood is also heavier, which in turn creates higher shipping costs.
If you have any requests for special materials, let me know! There will be an additional cost, of course, but if you have your heart set on cherry, we can find a way to make it work.