OK, I have a plywood project

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 03-02-2012 09:05 PM 1043 views 1 time favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3891 posts in 2664 days

03-02-2012 09:05 PM

I’m in the process of building a CNC router, using plywood for the structural parts. I want to use 3/4” MDO [plywood impregnated with resin]. It is used for highway signs and is a very structurally sound material [very stable, dimension wise] The problem is it is very hard to come by in my area, so I’m thinking about going to the hardwood plywood available from Lowes and HD. Their plywood is 23/32” thick [MDO is 3/4” thick] and has voids in the plys. My question is; if I use the plywood from Lowes, will it be as strong as the MDO and serve the purpose as well as MDO? The MDO, if I have to order it costs 3x more than plywood. I’m thinking about Birch or Oak plywood. Lowes claims it is made in the USA??

5 replies so far

View canadianchips's profile


2310 posts in 2418 days

#1 posted 03-03-2012 03:45 AM

Go to a sign making shop. They buy it in volumes and might sell you a piece.
Second option would be CABINET grade plywood. The core is better quality than anything at Lowes or Home Depot.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View brtech's profile


882 posts in 2343 days

#2 posted 03-03-2012 04:23 AM

I think you want mdf rather than ply for this project. Baltic Birch ply would be my second choice. MDF is very flat, which is very useful for a cnc machine. It’s also very stable. About the only downsides are that you will want to seal it against moisture, and you really cant reliably thread it or put a wood screw in it. Most cnc designs don’t do that, so usually, that isn’t a problem.

I would suggest you spend a whole lot of time over at, in the DIY woodworking section.i

View DIYaholic's profile


19138 posts in 2096 days

#3 posted 03-03-2012 04:52 AM

I love CNCZONE.COM !!! I plan on building a CNC Router and have learned tons there.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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3891 posts in 2664 days

#4 posted 03-03-2012 03:19 PM

Go to a sign making shop. They buy it in volumes and might sell you a piece.
I checked this a while back. A sign shop wants $140 for a 4×8x3/4 sheet of MDO [$46 wholesale price]. Even cabinet grade plywood is not easy to find around here. The best price I can find is a 5×5 Baltic Birch sheet from an internet dealer for around $100. I need 2/3 of the 4×8 sheet or all of the 5×5 sheet.

View 489tad's profile


3083 posts in 2432 days

#5 posted 03-05-2012 02:28 PM

I purchased MDO from Menards. If there’s one in your area?

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

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