Ideas for places to get laser material…
https://woodpeckerscrafts.com (amazon shop)
Lasers can help you create a great many things. NOT everything can be put in a laser (toxic fumes or reflected light are bad). The most common materials to use are paper, cardboard, acrylic, wood products (MDF, birch plywood, hardwood). They vary in bed size, but most schools lean towards 12″x18″ to 24″x36″ range. They vary greatly in power (20 watts – 100+ watts). The power tends to dictate the thickness you can cut. Some are deep enough to put round things in them, like drink glasses/tumblers. All of these variables lead to a wide range of cost , but it is traditionally the most expensive digital fabrication tool. They also vary in their ease of use.
Most lasers have in them/require : an air assist at the head to help keep flames down, a chiller to keep the laser temperature down, and exhaust/ventilation to take away fumes. For exhaust/ventilation, some use an inline fan to vent outside (through window or wall or ceiling). If you cannot get to the outside, you will need to use a HEPA filter system.
A laser can do three things : cut, score, engrave.
You need to find the right combination of speed & power to do what you want it to do. The speed & power numbers are unique to the material you use. Green acrylic and red acrylic will have similar numbers, but they could be different. And they will be much different than baltic birch.
Cut is usually done at 100% power and whatever speed is needed to get through.
Score tends to be fast and medium power. Again, adjust the mix to get the scoring you need.
Engrave is similar to score – how dark/deep do you want it.
Engraving takes the longest time. Think coloring in vs outlining.