PDA

View Full Version : Laser Birch ply or poplar ply



James Higgon
07-19-2014, 4:41 AM
I have recently tried cutting laser poplar ply and it was great. Really clean easy cut, however the laser Birch ply comes in a bit cheaper and already precut to the sizes I need to fit my engraver. My question is does the laser Birch ply tend to give similar results to the poplar? Thanks

Josh Borlovan
07-19-2014, 8:01 AM
James,

I am not sure exactly what your application is, but I use birch 1/8 ply all the time. I have used it for business cards, cuff links, intricate necklace pendants...you name it and I have found it to be very consistent. It also has very nice edges after cutting.

I am not sure if this quality would depend on the source or not, but I get it pre-finished and pre-cut and it works great!

It is cheap enough, the easiest thing to do now is buy a sheet and play :)

Michael Hunter
07-19-2014, 3:29 PM
As Josh says - birch ply is cheap enough and even if you end up preferring the poplar, you are sure to find some uses for it.
My supplier cuts the sheets (5' square) into 6 smaller panels, so it is easier to get home and fits in the laser. I buy several sheets at a time and pay about 50p extra to have it cut.

Where did you get your poplar? My supplier doesn't stock it and the transport costs from Bristol (the nearest place I have found that admit to stocking it) are ridiculous.

Dave Sheldrake
07-19-2014, 3:50 PM
Poplar ply isn't as strong but cuts more easily,

Mike, TP do birch without the need to go to Jennor etc ;)

cheers

Dave

James Higgon
07-20-2014, 2:33 PM
I was going to go with hpc for the poplar unless anyone has a better recommendation?

Michael Hunter
07-20-2014, 4:52 PM
Thanks James. Hadn't realised that the HPC stuff was poplar - it just says "laser ply".
Price is reasonable for small quantities, so long as the postage isn't too steep.

Avon Plywood do 10' x 5' sheets of 3mm poplar for 16.81. About 135 delivery though...

Dave Sheldrake
07-20-2014, 7:47 PM
It's only just up the road from us Mike, drive over and pick it up?

The HPC stuff is great, the 3/8th cuts like 3mm for edge finish, really clean. I think post is about 35 from Chris at HPC but you would have to check with him :)

cheers

Dave

Michael Hunter
07-21-2014, 6:31 AM
Will probably make the trip over to Avon some time this summer.
No rush though as I have a mountain of birch in stock.

Mark Ward
07-22-2014, 3:21 AM
Hi Josh, you are using 3mm ply for business cards? I've been trying to find some decent ply around 1mm for similar products.

John Bion
07-22-2014, 1:59 PM
Mark, I purchase 1mm BB from James Latham in 5’ X 5’ sheets. It is Scandinavian in origin, has a superb silky finish with lovely figuring/grain, however it is not MR glued, so you need to weigh up the formeldehyde risks for yourself. Despite this, due to the thickness (thin-ness?), it cuts very nicely and does do business cards.
I personally would NOT use Poplar for business cards, too soft with a lack-lustre finish (unless painting), besides 3mm is thick in the wallet (bill-fold).
Kind regards, John

Michael Hunter
07-22-2014, 3:13 PM
Model shops are good for small quantities of thin ply to play with, though the 5x5' sheets are very much more economical if you can make use of it all.

Most of the very thin stuff is described as "aircraft grade" (that's for real light aircraft, not models) and is very good quality as it has no knots, no voids and very few, if any, footballs.

As John Bion says, it is not MR or interior, but fully boiling water proof with the nasty phenolic glue which makes a mess.
As it is thin, cutting is no problem even with a low power laser, but you probably want to protect top and bottom with masking tape to avoid smoke marks. Be ready to sand the edges too!

Dave Sheldrake
07-22-2014, 3:58 PM
Mark, I purchase 1mm BB from James Latham in 5’ X 5’ sheets. It is Scandinavian in origin, has a superb silky finish with lovely figuring/grain, however it is not MR glued, so you need to weigh up the formeldehyde risks for yourself. Despite this, due to the thickness (thin-ness?), it cuts very nicely and does do business cards.
I personally would NOT use Poplar for business cards, too soft with a lack-lustre finish (unless painting), besides 3mm is thick in the wallet (bill-fold).
Kind regards, John

+1 for Lathams :)

Mark Ward
07-23-2014, 4:31 AM
Mark, I purchase 1mm BB from James Latham in 5’ X 5’ sheets. It is Scandinavian in origin, has a superb silky finish with lovely figuring/grain, however it is not MR glued, so you need to weigh up the formeldehyde risks for yourself. Despite this, due to the thickness (thin-ness?), it cuts very nicely and does do business cards.
I personally would NOT use Poplar for business cards, too soft with a lack-lustre finish (unless painting), besides 3mm is thick in the wallet (bill-fold).
Kind regards, John


Model shops are good for small quantities of thin ply to play with, though the 5x5' sheets are very much more economical if you can make use of it all.

Most of the very thin stuff is described as "aircraft grade" (that's for real light aircraft, not models) and is very good quality as it has no knots, no voids and very few, if any, footballs.

As John Bion says, it is not MR or interior, but fully boiling water proof with the nasty phenolic glue which makes a mess.
As it is thin, cutting is no problem even with a low power laser, but you probably want to protect top and bottom with masking tape to avoid smoke marks. Be ready to sand the edges too!
Hi John & Michael, thanks for the replies. So the very thin ply available gives off the poisonous gasses then? Not sure I'm too keen on that myself.
Bit of a noob query, what is MR glued?

Mark Ward
07-23-2014, 5:02 AM
This stuff from Hobarts is 0.8mm so this could be what I need: http://hobarts.com/sheet-materials/wood/wood:-birch-plywood_124_15_56/8mm-exterior-grade-plywood-p-311.html

Michael Hunter
07-23-2014, 5:26 AM
What is MR glued?

Moisture Resistant.
Best quality may be glued up with PVA or similar, cheap stuff with urea-formaldehyde or similar.

Exterior grades (marine, boiling water proof etc.) are usually glued up with a phenolic glue.
I don't think that the phenolic glue is particularly nasty from the health point of view, but it definitely doesn't laser well - it just bubbles up and makes lots of smoke.

Personally, I don't worry too much about the gasses given off by the glues - the wood itself gives off lots of carcinogens and poisons so the little bit of extra nastiness from the glue does not seem very significant. Formaldehyde and many of the other by-products from heating are inflammable, so the actual amount in the exhaust is likely to be small.


PS Have a read of page 8 in this document : http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/industrial/pulp_paper_lumber/pdf/emissions_report_08.pdf
You will never go near a bonfire again!