About Our Materials Range
We understand that a great project doesn’t end with an electronic project kit. For this reason, we stock a wide range of design and technology materials to help you create the perfect finish for your projects. Most of our materials are also suitable for use on a laser cutter. We also have a number of guides and tutorials to help you get the most from your materials purchases.
Firstly, when selecting the materials for design and technology, we look for quality, laser friendly sheet sizes, and also that the glues and materials themselves are suitable for the laser cutter. Whether your project is for the School National Curriculum or for something for the home, we have the materials to help you make it a reality.
Navigate quickly and easily to the products that you want via the filters on the left. They include sheet sizes, thicknesses, colour and finish and change depending on the material type that you are viewing. The information below can help you determine what type of product may be the most suitable for your current project.
Materials For Laser Cutting:
Most, but not all, of our materials have been carefully selected with laser cutting in mind. It's not just the material itself which informs our choice but also any glues or resins used in its construction. As more and more Schools and Makerspaces are using laser cutters, suitable materials are now very much in demand. We seek regular feedback from schools and makers and this has helped us select our range.
We are adding to the range on an ongoing basis and we have also been adding a wider variety of sheet sizes. No matter what type or size of laser cutter you have, we have the sheet sizes to match. If we don't stock materials or sheet sizes that are right for you then please contact us (see details at the foot of the web page) and we will get right on it!
As with all things that Kitronik does, we also like to produce resources to help you get the most from your purchase and your laser cutter. See the list below for a small selection of these resources.
We use plywoods on our lasers every day so we've made sure to select the most suitable laserable plywood possible. We stock a wide range of sheet sizes and thicknesses. All of our plywood uses interior grade glue and as a result, gives less of a 'burnt' look on and around the areas that are cut.
Plywood is a great material for makers, due to its versatility. It is a great choice for things such as cabinets and desktops as it doesn't crack or shrink. It can also be re-enforced with a wooden frame or batons for more strength.
If you're looking to buy Perspex sheets you've come to the right place. We stock a wide range of branded Perspex® acrylic sheets in a variety of thicknesses, sheet sizes, finishes and colours. Perspex is a highly versatile material that is used for a wide variety of purposes.
Perspex is easy to engrave using either a pantograph, CNC engraving machine or laser cutter. You can also a machine and route it provided you follow best practices. Further info on how to work with Perspex can be found on our Working with Materials resource.
Our Laser Compatible Medite Premier MDF sheets are highly versatile, suitable for a wide variety of uses. It is very easy to work and when cut with routers or saws and the finish and edges remain uniform and free from things such as splinters.
Medite Premier MDF is cheaper than many of the alternatives and it is also consistent in terms of finish quality and thickness. The surface of MDF is also very smooth making it ideal for painting or covering with a veneer.
Above all, a veneer is a cost effecting way of adding a real wood finish to your projects. These jointed veneer sheets are first pressed onto paper. The wood fibres are then broken and finally, they are pre-sanded with a 150 grain. This gives a flexible sheet of high-quality wood veneer which can also be finished with any varnish, stain or wax you may choose.
Also, the rear face of the veneered sheet is covered in a paper backing that is a similar colour to the chosen wood. These veneered sheets can also easily be cut with a knife or laser cutter. A nice veneer can help your project fit in anywhere, regardless of the main construction materials used. The look and feel of veneers make them a firm favourite in design and technology departments in schools and colleges.
Foam is a great crafting material. It is easy to work with and can be used for everything from product prototyping to children's arts and crafts. We carry two distinct types of foam, Polyethylene Craft Foam and Craft Foam Styrofoam Sheets. They are both very different from each but they can both be put to a variety of uses.
Craft Foam Styrofoam is a perfect choice for prototyping and modelling as It can be worked easily and quickly by hand and can be sanded smooth and a professional finish can be applied. Even though it is a very rigid material it is also very lightweight. Polyethylene Craft Foam is supplied in much thinner sheets which lends itself to laser cutting/engraving. It can also easily be cut by scissors, laminated, and thermoformed.
A key element to determine if a material has resistant properties is the use to which it will be put. What is desirable from a material in one application may be of no use in another. For example, a washer made of rubber or cork has good resistant properties when being used to create a seal against a liquid or gas. The same materials do not have useful resistant qualities when used for something like a mechanical assembly, where rigidity and compressive strength are more desirable.
Most, if not all, of the materials we stock, could be said to have resistant properties when deployed in an appropriate way. It's also worth noting that treating a material in the right manner can also impart a resistant quality that it otherwise lacks. For example, sealing wooden furniture that will be used outdoors to protect it from water damage.
A great example of a resistant material is High Impact Polystyrene Sheets (HIPs). These sheets have a high resistance to impact damage and they can be thermoformed and vacuum formed, making them a great choice for making a protective case or shell.
Another excellent example is
Laser Compatible Rubber. Although it has a number of potential uses, that it has a high resistance to alcohol and water-based inks makes it the ideal choice for making custom rubber stamps. Other potential uses include; Making custom seals, rubber feet, protective strips and even durable external decorations for your projects/designs.
Other Design and Technology Materials:
Not all of our stocked range is suitable for the laser cutter. Even though that has been the recurring theme above. We stock a selection of plastic tubes and rods that can be used for supports or a lighting effect. We also stock flexible PVC sheets that can be used as a covering for a surface or signage. It is important to note that PVC should be cut by hand and never with a laser cutter as it produces dangerous fumes.
We also stock products that suit other types of machine forming, products such as High Impact Polystyrene Sheets (HIPs). They can be routed, sawn, punched, drilled, guillotined, thermoformed or vacuum formed making them a good choice for a protective covering.
For reference only
In a world of finite resources and climate concerns, sustainability and carbon footprints are becoming key design factors. In order to comply with regulatory standards, all industries have been encouraged to find greener alternatives for raw materials, manufacturing processes, and finished products.
We've seen several of the products we stock become greener over time and we have made sourcing decisions based on this too. One recent addition to the range, cork, was sourced mainly because of its green credentials. It is fully sustainable, as the tree continues to thrive after it is harvested. Also, the end product is 100% recyclable. The potential uses for cork go far beyond the obvious. It can be used as a gasket, as waterproofing and even as a substitute for leather.