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Universal Laser Materials

ALL CUT TYPE MATERIALS

MATERIAL MAXIMUM THICKNESS NOTES Warnings

Variety of Wood

1/4" recommended

Avoid oily, resinous woods.

Oily or resin-filled woods may be more prone to fire.

Plywood, Composite woods

1/4" recommended

These contain glue, and may not laser cut as well as solid wood.

 

MDF, Engineered Woods

1/4" recommended

These are okay to use but may experience a higher amount of charring when cutting.

 

Paper, Card Stock

Thin

Cuts quick and well on the laser cutter.

 

Cardboard, Carton

Thicker

Cuts well but may catch on fire.

Watch carefully for increased fire risk.

Cork

1/4"

Cuts nicely, but the quality of the cut depends on the thickness and quality of the cork.

Avoid thicker pieces of cork

Acrylic, Lucite, Plexiglass, PMMA

1/2"

Cuts extremely well leaving a polished edge.

 

Delrin (POM)

Thin

Delrin comes in several shore strengths (hardness). The harder Delrin tends to work better. Great for gears!

 

Kapton tape (Polyimide)

1/16"

Works well in thin sheets and strips like tape.

 

Mylar

1/16"

Works well if it is thin. Thick mylar tends to warp, bubble, and curl.

Gold-coated mylar will not work

Solid Styrene

1/16"

Smokes a lot when cut, but can be cut.

Keep it thin! Keep the hood closed until the smoke clears before opening.

Depron foam

1/4"

Used a lot for hobby, RC aircraft, architectural models, and toys. 1/4" cuts nicely with a smooth edge.

Must be constantly monitored.

Gator foam

 

Foam core gets burned and eaten away compared to top and bottom hard paper shells.

Not a fantastic thing to cut, but it can be cut if watched. 

Cloth, Felt, Hemp, Cotton

 

All cut well. Look into lace-making!

Not plastic coated or impregnated cloth!

Leather suede

1/8"

Leather is very hard to cut but can be managable if it's thinner than a belt. 

Real leather only! NOT pleather or other imitations. 

Magnetic sheet

 

Cuts nicely

 

NON- Chlorine - containing rubber

 

Fine for cutting

Beware of chlorine-containing rubber!

Teflon (PTFE)

Thin

Cuts OK in thin sheets

 

Carbon fiber mats/weave that has not had epoxy applied

 

Can be cut, Very SLOWLY

You must NOT cut carbon fiber that has been coated.

Coroplast ('corrugated plastic')

1/4"

Difficult because of the vertical strips. Three passes at 80% power, 7% speed, and it will be slightly connected still at the bottom from the vertical strips.

 

EDGE CUTS ONLY

MATERIAL

NOTES

WARNINGS!

Glass

Green glass works really well. (Gives sandblasted look)

Flat glass and cylindrical items can be engraved.

Ceramic tile

 

 

Anodized aluminum

Vaporizes the anodization away

 

Painted/coated metals

Vaporizes the paint away

Make sure settings are set to just etch off the paint!

Stone, Marble, Granite, Soapstone, Onyx

Gets a white "textured" look when etched.

100% power, 50% speed, or less works well for etching.

FORBIDDEN MATERIALS

MATERIAL

HAZARD

CAUSE/CONSEQUENCE

PVC, Vinyl, Pleather, Artificial Leather

Emits pure chlorine gas when cut!

Do not ever cut this material as it will ruin the optics, cause the metal of the machine to corrode, and ruin the motion control system. 

Polycarbonate/Lexan

Cuts very poorly, discolors, and catches fire.

Produces flames and lots of soot - will ruin the machine and is extremely hazardous to the health of people nearby.

ABS

Emits cyanide gas and tends to melt

Cutting ABS plastic emits hydrogen cyanide. (Very unsafe.) 

HDPE (Milk Bottle Plastic)

Catches on fire and melts

It melts. It gets gooey. Do not use.

Polystyrene Foam

Catches on fire

It catches on fire, it melts, and only really thin pieces can be cut. This is the #1 material that causes laser fires.

Polypropylene Foam

Catches on fire

Like Polystyrene, it melts, catches fire, and the melted drops continue to burn and turn into rock-hard pebbles.

Fiberglass

Emits fumes

It is a mix of two materials that cannot be cut. Glass (Etch only) and epoxy resin (emits fumes)

Coated Carbon Fiber

Emits noxious fumes

A mix of two materials. Thin carbon fiber mat can be cut, however, prepare for some fraying. But, carbon fiber cannot be cut when it is coated. 

 

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