Wood Parts - Alternatives

Hi everyone,

I’m just about to get the wood sections cut out and the prices are comparable (ish) between wood, acrylic and metal I was just wondering, in an ideal world, is there a preference between the three materials?


I was looking really hard at aluminum/acrylic sandwiches like alucore and dibond. I have an i3 printer carriage I bought off the internet cut out of 6mm dibond and it’s the ideal material. Lightweight and rigid. Nobody here seems to sell this stuff other than wholesale that I could find. There was a sign store going out of business selling some dibond but it was only 3mm. I haven’t seen alucore in person but it looks interesting… being much thicker a single sheet of it should be much more rigid.

That said my 1/2inch MDF pieces work fine but the pointy arms are a little bendy.



Agreed, We saw a clear plastic one here a while back and it looked amazing. Other than that I don’t think there is actually much difference. MDF is light rigid and stable and for everyone else inexpensive.

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I did some research on alternate materials a little while ago, specifically aluminum. In comparing weight/strength ratios in terms of deformation over the width of the material for a given thickness, it just didn’t make sense to switch from MDF to aluminum. I don’t remember the specifics (it’s on a thread here somewhere) but to obtain the same characteristics of MDF aluminum had to be about as thick. I didn’t research any other more exotic materials, just aluminum.

Yup and we also tested steel, it ends up being heavier to get the same rigidity. Sorry it was designed with MDF in mind, other materials require a different shape. The old design was material friendly but in doing so it took longer hardware and more printed parts…not worth it.

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Thanks both

No you misunderstand - I wasn’t asking to use other materials just asking about other materials.

The cost to CNC cut the ‘wood’ parts in ply, Acrylic or mild/aluminium are about the same. As you market the LR based on cost factors I was just wondering on the benefits (if any) of other materials



I thought that is what we answered?

On the subject of Dibond, is a brand Name of a ACP ( Aluminum Composite Panel). A 4x8 x 3mm Panel cost is $100.00 +. a Panel of Dedond same size is around $46.00 . They broth have Aluminum Panels on the out side with a core.

I can get small off cuts, (Drops).

That sounds like a really reasonable price. I did some more searching and found a guy on a local buy/sell site selling something similar but the middle layer is some low density fire restardant. Who knows it might be even lighter/better. I guess they use it as building cladding. He has any size up to 5x16’ in 3 or 4 mm but I don’t think that would be thick enough? It’s only $2 a square foot I guess a person could cut it in half and laminate it to itself.

Funny it’s so hard to find here… we have plastics and metal shops that sell retail.
The metal shops only sell metal and the plastic shops only sell plastics.


Greg, Where are you Located ?

Larry, I’m in Calgary, Alberta.


Greg, If you are interested in some small pices I could send you some. You pay shipping.


Larry that’s very kind! I think I will give the building cladding stuff here a try first and see how it goes.