Darkly Labs Community

Working out materials

Hi Everyone,

i got my E2 to be able to make wargaming terrain which us often done with 3mm mdf (cannot get smaller in NZ). so far its been very frustrating, some sheets have needed 3 passes and the bits fall out and the current sheet wont cut all the way after 6 passes.

So i am looking for other options, suggestions etc. maybe there is a different style of ply or mdf or wood that works better with the E2.


i picked up some wood samples from a client who is a guitar maker and had a play to see what would happen. machine set at 100%, 300mm speed and 4 passes. No air assist as i am waiting for my replacement (it died).  i just had it doing a small square.

2mm purpleheart - cut half way through, so might be ok on 5 passes or more

2mm Kwila - cut halfway but the wood breaks on the grain so hard to pop out if you dont get it to cut all the way

2.5mm (rich) mahogony - cut partway but hard to pop out

2mm walnut - pretty much cut all the way through, needed a tiny bit of help. 

1mm plastic styrene (white) - engraved but did nto get all teh way through.

so does anyone have any ideas? ideally 3mm or smaller, i dont mind looking at acrylic its just 4 times the price per sheet to buy (in NZ), and i need to make sure i get the right brand etc.


also looking to cut foam, so i can make figure trays but the first run past did not do anything but leave a small mark, but maybe thats becuase it was white foam? 


Any help appreciated. i like my machine, its just frustrating not being able to get the right materials and having 10 hours of cutting achieve nothing.






Have you cleaned the lens? MDF messes the lens up REALLY quickly. If you don’t have a lens cleaning kit yet, use Isopropyl swabs or wipes, you can get them from a chemist. You’ll be amazed at the before and after difference!

Also clean the nozzle of the air assist. My pump died too and was most likely caused by overheating due to a blocked nozzle.

yep i have a cleaning kit, and in fact a brand new laser as my laser died.  my new air assist is on teh way with the new attachment to make it vent or something.

it really is just random, i clean the laser, i have made clips to hold down the boards so there is no warp, its just very random depending on what sheet i buy and it seems the second sheet i got (which is 16 sheets for th emachine from one big sheet) is super tough.

Hi Alan,

We’ve been cutting a lot of 3mm MDF with usual settings 100%, 200mm, 2 passes. There have been times when it hasn’t cut through no matter how many passes but has been resolved with a lense clean (Full clean with one of the wips).

Since MDF is so dusty you might have to give it a clean after each cutting session.