The cork does account for most of the laser time (and price), correct. But I decided early on that I wanted the edge to be curved and soft so that your hands are comfortable even after using the desk for hours. Another bonus of using cork is that it is less sweaty than the acrylic or even melamine coated MDF as found in flatpack.
The desk comes with coasters so the surface won't get scratched by mugs, and the incline has cork feet so that won't scratch it either. Most keyboards have soft rubber feet as well. I wouldn't recommend throwing your keys on it, but I've used an early prototype for months and it is still lovely and shiny with few scratches. Some benefits of acrylic are it has greater impact strength than glass, higher light transmittance, and is lower weight.
The costs of the SG Incline are: materials (baltic birch plywood, natural cork), hardware (nuts and bolts), the shipping of the above to me, laser time, packaging, shipping to you, Kickstarter's cut, card processing, and VAT on the fees. My profit margin on the SG Incline is slightly higher than the other products, but far lower than for example tech giant's typical 40% margin. The overall product is cheaper than several laptop risers from a leading retailer. I wish I could sell all of these products cheaper as I love them and want as many people to be able to afford them as possible, but without reaching massive scale this is sadly as low as I can go. If you factor in the hundreds of hours of work that has gone into this project then I should really be charging a lot more or have the goal much higher, but I wanted to be as fair to backers as I can, put the price low, while leaving a small margin for any 'unforeseen expenses' I may encounter so I'm confident I can deliver.
I hope this provides some clarity, design is all about compromises and the path I've chosen may not be for everyone. But that's great, because design is a very individual thing and everyone having different tastes makes the world interesting. Thanks for your feedback, feel free to ask any more questions on here, Kickstarter or by email. SG