Talk:Laser Cutter

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Prohibited Materials

These materials may not be cut in the laser, either because they are dangerous to health when burned, or they may damage the laser, or both.

  • Food
  • Anything living
  • Polycarbonate/Lexan
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride)/Vinyl/Sintra
  • Linsoft/Softoleum/Lino from art supply stores, sold for block or lino printing. Made of PVC
  • Neoprene/polychloroprene
  • Tetrafluroethylene/Teflon
  • Anything containing chlorine or fluorine
  • Polyoxymethylene/Acetal/Delrin

Permitted Materials

Not an exhaustive list.

  • PMMA (poly(methyl methacrylate))/Acrylic/Plexiglass/Perspex/Lucite
  • Wood - including hardboard, MDF, plywood, veneer core
  • Leather
  • Glass - Can only etch but not cut
  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Cloth
  • Polyethylene/LDPE/HDPE/UHMW
  • Polypropylene (inc Coroplast)
  • Polystyrene (inc HIPS)
  • ABS (Acylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
  • Nylon
  • Mylar

A report on plastic combustion products. [1]

Feeds & Speeds

If you cut or etched something, add your results to the table. Please be as precise as possible - indicate type of wood, colour of plastic, etc.

Feed and power for cutting
Material Thickness Power used Feed rate # of passes Measured kerf Comments
Clear acrylic 3 mm 7 mA 200 mm/min 1 0.5 mm Did not remove plastic protective coating. Nice cuts in most places. Some pieces fell out during cutting. Did not cut through in all places.
Clear acrylic 5 mm 7 mA 175 mm/min 1 Paper coating catches fire - remove it. Nice cuts.
Clear acrylic .220 in (~5.6 mm) 15 mA 100 mm/min 1 Cutting depth is inconsistent across the work area. Even at full power and 100 mm/min, pieces on the bottom right (as viewed from the front of the machine) didn't cut through entirely. A 2nd beam was (indirectly) noticeable at higher powers when the head traveled towards the far edge of the x-axis. The 2nd beam hit the workpiece at approx. x - 2.5 mm. Maybe the optics need cleaning?
Clear/black acrylic .25" 10 mA 150 mm/min 1 Nice cuts, most piece fall out easily.
Opaque blue acrylic 3mm 6 mA 8 in/min 1 Same problem with double beam/not cutting through in the lower right. Possibly fixed.
RSLaserKits Brick Laser Board 1/64"? 1.125 mA 8 in/min 1 Did not cut through adhesive backing, but that's ok.
Basswood 1/32" 1/2 turn 8 in/min 1 Cut most of the way through - perforated. Good for if you want to cut out later with knife.
Hardboard 1/8" 12 400 mm/min 1 It will make a flame. Don't worry. Don't turn it down, or it won't cut all the way through and you'll have to use a knife to cut it out.
Leather 1.2 mm 6 350 mm/min 1 From the bottom. Does not smell like hamburger.
Nylon 1/8" 10 mA 200 mm/min 1 Makes a lot of smoke. Cuts nicely.
Plywood floor underlay 3/16" 9 mA 300 mm/min 1 Cuts very nicely, some flame and smoke is normal. Smells like campfire marshmallows. DOES NOT TASTE SAME
Birch Plywood (Baltic Birch) 1/8" and 1/4" 14 mA 150 mm/min 1 Cuts very nicely, some flame and smoke is normal. One solution to the flames is to soak the plywood prior to using it in the laser. The cuts, without flames, are very nice. For the 1/4" a second pass may be needed.
Mylar 2 mA 100 mm/min 1 Trying to use this for making solder stencil masks. The power has to be as low as possible. Also have a second sheet of mylar under the one that you want to use as the quality of the cuts improves a great deal. Ideally you will not be able to cut the second layer with the power setting you have. Another consideration is to reduce the size of the pads for the mask as the mylar melts and increases in size becaus of that.
White Printer Paper 0.05 mm 7 mA 4 in/min 1 Did not measure, approx. 2mm. We did not know to set the speed when importing from Inkscape, but it seems the faster the speed, the lower the laser can be set and the cleaner the cut will be.


Feed and power for etching
Material Power used Feed rate # of passes Depth of etch Comments
Basswood 1/8-1/4 turn 8 in/min 1 not a lot "a nice fine line"
Glass 5 mA 400 mm/min 1 Inconsistent Kerf twith superficial cuts. Highly prone to stress cracking, especially when touching the exterior edge. Otherwise looks good.
Glass 5 mA 400 mm/min Multiple Inconsistent Kerf with superficial cuts. With multiple cuts the depth increases but cutting through is not practical. Highly prone to stress cracking, especially when touching the exterior edge. The risk of stress cracks increases significantly with multiple runs. Otherwise looks good.
Glass 5 mA 400 mm/min 1 Inconsistent Kerf twith superficial cuts. Highly prone to stress cracking, especially when touching the exterior edge. Otherwise looks good.
Material Thickness Power used Feed rate # of passes Measured kerf Comments
White Paper 0.05 mm 7 mA 4 in/min 1 Did not measure, approx. 2mm. We did not know to set the speed when importing from Inkscape, but it seems the faster the speed, the lower the laser can be set and the cleaner the cut will be.

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