Cutting Plywood for Laser Projects

Doug Green Express Yourself Austin

Doug Green is the man behind Express Yourself Austin and countless CorelDRAW tutorials on YouTube. A master crafter, Green sometimes spends hours upon hours, if not years, to create unique and elaborate items out of wood and metal.

Plywood is what it says —it’s plies of wood that have been glued together. Typically, it has four plies, with the outer two layers clean (void of knot holes and blemishes). The inner two layers might have knot holes and excess glue that is hard to cut but can be cut, most of the time, on a second pass of the laser. 

Note: plywood is stronger than just plain wood. Mostly because the layers of wood are not all going in the same direction; the outer two layers might be going one direction and the inner two are going in the opposite direction.

I use a table saw, but any saw will cut, and it does not matter if you do a good job — once you get it sized to fit in your laser, the laser can cut it from there. 

On larger sheets of plywood, such as 4' X 4' or larger, there is a saw called a panel saw that holds the sheets vertical and the saw runs on rails. Panel saws are a lot of money just to cut sheet goods, whereas a table saw of any size can be used for almost anything. 

—Doug Green, Express Yourself Austin

Editor’s note: Many industry suppliers sell sheets of plywood intended for laser cutting. It is recommended that you purchase from these sources.