Ponoko

2D materials FAQs

What materials can I use for laser-cutting?

You can choose from the range of 2D sheet materials listed in our materials catalog. You can also access the materials catalog through your Personal Factory. We continue to expand our material range on a regular basis.

Can I use my own materials?

Kind of, yes. You can suggest a material that is not in the catalog via the form on this forum post

Will there be burn marks on my cut parts?

Quite possibly. Burn marks are a natural side effect of cutting materials with a laser. We do our best to minimize these marks, but they're impossible to avoid entirely.

To remove marks from wooden materials, you can lightly sandpaper them off. Scorching marks can be removed from acrylic with plastic cleaner, or you can format your design to minimize the possibility for acrylic burn marks. Felt tends to get ash residue on the edges of cuts, which can be cleaned off with baby wipes - or washed off.

How do I get my materials to fit together or interlock?

If you are designing an object with parts that interlock, you will want the thickness of the material to be exact. In the real world, natural materials are not exact. Materials can be up to .5mm greater or less than the specified thickness. This is called tolerance. For example, a 6mm acrylic may actually be 6.2mm thick (+0.2mm) or 5.8mm (-0.2mm). This will impact how your parts fit together. Because material thicknesses vary, it may take a prototype (or two) to figure out how to make your product perfectly.

Also be aware that the laser cutter will burn away some of the material along the cutting line. This varies depending on the depth the cut needs to be. In other words, the thicker the material, the slower the laser moves and the more material lost. This loss is likely to be in the region of 0.2mm - 0.3mm.

Each material you use will have a different 'tolerance'. You can find out more about the tolerance of each material by looking at the material information in the materials catalog. You can also access the materials catalog through your Personal Factory.

For more tips about tolerance see our blog posts about creating 'nodes' with wood, and ensuring snug joints with acrylic.

What are my options if a material I've used is no longer available?

From time to time, we have to remove a material from our catalog. If this happens, you can no longer make with that material but you can edit your design and add a different material.

You can still show and sell your product. We'll add a note that the material is no longer available in your showroom. If you have stock for sale, we suggest you indicate this in your product description. Otherwise, we suggest you change to show only.

Contact us if you’d like us to help by suggesting a good alternative material.


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