One of my mates used to get cuttings of birch faced ply in from a company that did the laser cutting. The edge was carbonized but crisp and some of the tiny lettering in the boards had to be seen to be believed. That went from 6mm to 18mm in thickness. Only sad thing was the factory wouldn't allow visitors to watch as they said they would get swamped with onlookers and get nothing done.
Thanks Drew. I guess the kit will become cheaper as time goes on and eventually we will all have it in our workshops. In the meantime I wonder if an enterprising soul might invest in facilities to help the amateur/diy sector?
I saw some work done by a student at Loughborough a couple of years ago - it was truly amazing - not just the level of detail but the beautiful curving shapes he could generate - inspiring.