1/8 (3mm) plywood cut settings

Hey out there.
Good day to everyone. Looking for the settings to cut 3mm (1/8) birch plywood. Typical hobby plywood.
It’s on a Sculpfun S9 with Air assist.
Is there a wiki with common settings for various materials…or does anyone have experience with the material and can share their settings.

Thanks in advance.

The problem is that the plywood has filler in the layers. I cannot cut through the filler with a 80w laser. And because you don’t know where it is, it is always a crap shoot when I cut ply, and bank on cutting each piece 2 or 3 times

Hey there. I had not considered filler.
I did expect to cut with 2 or 3 passes…even my small cnc router needs more then one depending on material.

not passes, pieces because I cannot cut through the filler no matter how many passes

Thank you Ray for your input.
I assume others have had success with plywood. I wonder what their config is.

Hobby plywood along with what is available in Lowe’s or Home Depot will not cut well.
Filler isn’t the problem, glue is the biggest problem. Visit MakerStock for some of the best material for lasering.
I cut with 50W one pass all day long with their material. L

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Hey Marion.
1 pass at what power and speed. I get that the sculpfun may be a different power but it’s a start.
Thanks for the plywood source.
Wow the pricing on that plywood is great, thanks for putting me on to them. They have other items I have also been looking for, Wa hoooooo

13mm/sec - 35% power

Hi Marion!
First, you are using the wrong unit settings. The S9 is a diode laser and there the speed is commonly measured in mm/min (minute, not second). (Diode lasers are much slower than CO2 lasers). This might help you when comparing to other users.
Regarding the settings, you may have a look here, I wrote some guide about how to deal with settings (focussed on Sculpfun lasers, but the majority of content also holds for others): Settings guide - Diode Laser Wiki

Check out “LA hobby guy”
He has some free files, but the main thing is sorta cut templates, for different types n powers of lasers, n virtually every material you’ll ever work with.
Its a simple dload n import to lightburn.
He does require you to sign up to his forum/page, but all quick n free.
I even used his free files for the old ladies n grandmas mother day gifts… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Anyways, so far using his settings, I’ve had to do very little tweaking.

I’ve cut cheap dollar store soft 3mm plywood sorta stuff, in like 4-5passes, and then theres a harder stuff, burns great for images etc, but imposdible to cut… 50+ passes wouldn’t cut through… (I was being stubbourn, the laser won tho.)
Now i know when to use my scroll saw vs the laser… hehe

Anyways, check it out, he has youtube vids for everything, including where to het the file, how to install n use it, (which is where/how i discoverd his site.)
Totally worth the 15mins to grab n setup!


I am aware of the mm/min versus mm/sec.

I was taking for granted the OP would know that.

I understood the difference in the speed.
The wiki is interesting.

Hi Lucas, I think what you have said is key. With diode lasers, at least, material hardness is the deciding factor. I use ash plywood, which is relatively soft, and this cuts well. Commercial grade pine plywood is a complete waste of time. I have also found that there are soft and hard varieties of MDF.

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I was sure you understood. Thanks for response. Lol

I burn 3mm plywood with my S9 on a setting of 300 mm/min in 2 passes (power 100%) and 5mm in 4 passes. 99.9% is cut out. Some parts are still connected which I then cut through with a small knife. Most often corresponding with filler I guess. Some of the non-completely cut parts really are only cut 1mm max.
Tried with a setting of 200mm/min and 1 pass yesterday but that did not work; there were parts where it cut through but was only about 50-70% of the lines.

With respect to the filler in 3mm plywood - I inspect the plywood by shining a bright flashlight through the wood in a dark room. The areas with filler show up as dark areas. In a box of 60 pieces I usually get about 40 sheets without large filler areas. On the remaining pieces, I mark the filler areas with blue tape so /i can avoid trying to cut through them. I use a 10W diode laser at 560m/sec, four SEQUENTIAL passes. (Lightburn will sometimes cut a short segment four times before moving on - this tends to burn the cut.) This is a bit of overkill but gives me the cleanest cut with minimal burning and insures I cut through since the density of the wood is higher in some areas. Also, I stain the wood before cutting. this pretty much eliminates discoloring the wood around the cut. The deposits around the cut or engraving can be cleaned off with alcohol because the wood is sealed.

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I’m sorry, I didn’t read through the thread correctly and took you as the OP :slight_smile:

I find that it really depends.
Each time you get new stock (Even the same thickness from a different store), it’s worth sacrificing a corner to do an engrave/cut test.
It takes a little time to make one, but once you do it once, you can use it on any materials.

Mines a simple grid - Speeds along the X (from 1200 to 1900), and power along the Y (20%-100%)
Then to the side, It the cutting. with my ply, I usually stick at speed 300, so each square (about 1 inch sq) is 1 to 4 passes.
I find that 3 is the sweet spot for 3 and 3.6mm, and 4 passes for thicker - I’ve done upto 5mm, but that came out with a few sections that didn’t cut all the way through. (Almost though!) and this is without air assist (Which is my next purchase for it).

I then hold onto them ‘swatches’ so I can guage what level of ‘shading’ I want on the piece as I work on all the different bits.

Thank you everyone for your insight it’s really appreciated.
I will take what I have learned from this an apply it shortly.
One other question. Anyone have any numbers for simple engraving. 3mm ply again. I just want to label the parts for assembly.


Hi Richard,
I just had a look at my projects to see what my typical engraving settings are(Sculpfun S9). I see that I mostly use 800 mm/minute at 40% power. But I do vary this, especially with text when I want to engrave deeper to get a marked embossed effect.