Lasercut boxes

I’ve seen a lot of boxes and 3d things made from laser cutting, are these joints typically held together by glue or are the cuts tight enough to be held by friction? I attempted some standing figures with bases but my gaps weren’t accurate enough to hold the stand tight so I was considering glue. If glue is the answer is wood glue the best option?

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Yep! Wood glue works great for this. Most 3D things are glued together. Though it’s possible to design something snug enough to go together without glue.

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Thanks for confirming, I will shoot for snug in the design and glue when necessary. I did get a caliper so I could get more accurate with my measuring as I’m in the habit of rounding everything to the nearest 1/4 inch, I’m adapting to metric, it’s better for these smaller pieces. Thanks @alysajaunice

Also wondering now if people make different versions of the same template for ease of cutting on different wood widths. Even if its a small difference between mdf sheets and hardwood store plywood options that could make a difference. I suppose sanding down (longer) tabs could be a thing but I prefer as close to exact as possible off the laser cutter.

Most plywood isn’t great for laser cutting. The glue doesn’t really burn through, rather it melts and forms an impenetrable layer.

There are certain plywood products that use a specific glue that can be laser cut. I would start with those.

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Ohhh, thanks for the heads up Erik! I’m guessing the plywood I got at Lowes won’t fit that bill. I’ll check around for other local providers. Is there a name or particular label to look out for when sourcing plywood for laser cutting?

I think you’ll probably have to test, which I have unsuccessfully done. But here is a link to plywood (birch) that is apparently intended for laser cutting and engraving. Ive never used it though.

https://www.trotec-materials.com/laser-materials/engravable-wood/plywood.html

The plywood I tested with were pieces that had a nice veneer. It was almost as if the nicer the veneer, the worse it came out. Lol

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I’ve had reasonably good luck laser cutting most baltic birch plywoods (up to 1/4in thick). I mostly get baltic birch from Star Lumber on West St, but there are other sources too.

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I made this pencil box to kill time on Saturday!

Material: $11 2x4ft handy panel from Home Depot. Look for thin veneer outside, nougaty inside.

Also glue. Doug’s pencil box class makes snug friction fit joints in the woodshop with the router table but us laser cutterers aren’t that fancy.

I did make the tabs longer than necessary by 2mm, put the box together, then belt sanded them down to get rid of the burnt edges.

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