MDF with laser- yay or nay?

Hey y’all :slight_smile:
Quick question.

With the laser, I’m used to only working with baltic birch. However, I’m trying to figure out some cheaper materials to prototype some designs… which leads me to 1/4" MDF.

I hear conflicting info online (in general) about cutting MDF with lasers. Some places refuse to allow cutting it in the shop, while some other places say that (although it’s perhaps not as ideal as baltc birch) it’s OK to do.

Just wondering what everyone’s thoughts on it are?

We just did some looking up. While you may not get a great result, it will cut, and shouldn’t hurt the machine. In general thinner material gives a better result.

I have done it on our laser. It does make nice cuts, it leaves a lot of soot behind on the cut edge and it has a long lingering smell. That is not pleasant. So you may want to seal it.

What thickness did you use?

I’m not sure what places around have supply of MDF other than the obvious home Depot and such… But I can only find 1/4", would love 1/8" though.

As for sealing, what would you recommend in particular…?

It was some scrap 1/8" laying around. I made a bunch of 1" chips. I did not seal them and the sooty edge would rub off on any thing it touch. And the bag that stored them stunk. May be able to adjust speed and feeds to improve it.

Cardboard, possibly, for prototyping?

I would make prototypes from backer board. You can find it at any store that does picture framing. Cuts really accurate and is a clean cut.