I was recently contacted by a church friend to design and make 50 small wooden ornaments for gift baskets they where giving to their top clients.
I did some quick calculations and looked online for the cost of the wood necessary for the project and quoted her $1.45ea. I found the wood would cost me $12.00 off of Amazon, which gave me five sheets of 300mm x 200mm x 1.5mm, and I could fit 11 per sheet at about 70mm in diameter; this would yield me enough plus a couple extra for mistakes.
For the wood, I decided upon basswood as it was one of the cheaper materials which had excellent rigidity at about 1/16". If I weren't looking for something so rigid, I would probably go with something to cut faster so the overall machine time would be lower.
For securing the wood to the bed of the laser cutter, I just used some double-sided painters tape, which worked out quite well and was easy to remove afterward.
For the actual design process was very simple, I used adobe illustrator to design everything. She wanted her business's logo on the front and "Thank you" engraved on the back and a single 8mm hole on top to attach a string.
The runtime was 9 minutes for the back and 14 minutes for the front. I started with the end as it would be easier to work with because the text didn't need to be perfectly centered.
After getting the first sheet of 11 done and working out some of the kinks, I was able to whip through the rest pretty quick and sanded the edges where necessary from burn marks and where it didn't cut all the way through.