Material for CNC

I got my Snapmaker over the holidays and finally got it assembled. I was wondering about testing either the CNC or Laser engraver: what material should I use and where can I get it? I am new to this so, any suggestions? thank Jose

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Hi @lasvegasjose

Doug the newbie here. I started with paper on the laser, until I burnt holes through it. I then tried some 150gsm card and that was fine. I did this for practice. I have since tried thin sheets of MDF and will try other woods soon.

For practice on the CNC I also used MDF and will try other woods and acrylic sheets in the near future.

Have fun


Hi @lasvegasjose ,

I haven’t tried the CNC module yet but I have been enjoying the laser module quite a bit. I started with some small, thin squares of wood (almost like balsa) from the local craft store. I have since started burning artwork into inexpensive phone cases with great success. Just yesterday, I picked up some leather samples from the craft shop to see what we can do with that.

Aside from getting the focus right, the trickiest bits are determining the laser power and getting your artwork positioned properly. For the power piece, when using a new material, I have started burning a small 2mm x 2mm dot onto the material starting at 70% just to see what it would do. You can reposition the dot and try again at a higher power if you like. Obviously, multiple pieces of the same material would be ideal. Still working out the centering piece, though. The bounding box button does help but it goes so fast, it’s hard to get a real feel for placement.

Have fun!

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Hi Ogundy

Doug the newbie here. Glad that you are having fun like the rest of us.

BTW, you gave me an idea for an improvement on SnapmakerJS.
Possibly Snapmaker can add to the Run Boundary function that it finish above the origin point so you can line up your media. ( over to you @Rainie @Noah )

Have a great week


Quick update… lasering leather was a success!

70% power seemed too light (something was off with the size / resolution of my 70% test file, though) so I switched up to 80% and the results were pretty solid.

Word of caution: In case it isn’t obvious, burning leather smells exactly like burning flesh… because that’s exactly what it is. Open a window or two. I regret not thinking of this sooner.

Burn on!


Haven’t tried the CNC yet… still waiting on my enclosure.

But for the laser, I’m finding anything that has any detail to it does well on lighter colored media that has no grain to it. If been using the lightest color MDF, and it seems a good media for this. Vector or line art should not be as fussy. But burning a photo on Oak, for example, which has a prominent grain, might compete with details in a complex image. Something like the Bioharzard symbol, on the other hand, probably would do well on just about any supported material.

I bumped into that issue with the laser burning at 100% (regardless of what the SM said on the touch screen, or what my software said), so I lost some time there. With the new firmware, the new software seems to be working well though, and I"m back at it. I bought different types of media to test out once I feel I can produce replicable results. One media I’d like to try is archival mat board, for framing photos and other artwork, as it seems it would offer a high contrast (assuming you choose a white or light color) and has no grain to it whatsoever. Maybe it won’t be all I hope for, but I plan to try when I get the chance.

I used the laser to do some heat sensitive (color changing) phone cases. Those turned out pretty rad. Leather wallet cases were probably the coolest.