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Laser cutting guidance

Laser cutting guidance

Laser cutting guidanceLaser cutting guidance

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Laser cutting guidance

Endurance laser cutters and laser enravers can do a wide range of materials: wood, plywood, glass, stone, acrylic, felt, leather, cardboard, etc. Among this number there are some hazardous to either humans or the machine itself (Vinyl and PVC). That is why it is vital that any maker should have a list of those before choosing a material he has not worked with before.

Choosing between polycarbonate sheets (Lexan) and acrylic, pick up the latter, though they look, feel and smell alike. Acrylic is one of the best materials to use with the laser. It cuts smoothly and cleanly, while polycarbonate easily catches fire producing soot that ruins the optics and messes up the machine. Its combustion products are very hazardous to the health of people nearby.

To be sure of your choice test the sample first. Acrylic is not very flexible, while polycarbonate is slightly bendable.

We recomend to cut these materials only if you have an industrial air ventilation system!

Cutting and engraving can be done only under the user’s risk.

WARNING: Because many plastics are dangerous to cut, it is important to know what kind you are planning to use.

Material DANGER! Cause/Consequence
PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)/vinyl/

pleather/artificial leather

Emits chlorine gas The released chlorine gas will ruin the optics, the motion control system, causes the metal of the machine to corrode.
Thick ( >1mm ) Polycarbonate/

Lexan

Cuts very poorly, discolors, inflames  Polycarbonate absorbs infrared radiation! This is the frequency of light the laser cutter uses to cut materials, so it is very ineffective at cutting polycarbonate.
ABS Melts / Cyanide ABS does not cut well in a laser cutter. It tends to melt rather than vaporize, and has a higher chance of catching on fire and leaving behind melted gooey deposits on the vector cutting grid. It also does not engrave well (again, tends to melt). Cutting ABS plastic emits hydrogen cyanide, which is unsafe at any concentration.
HDPE/milk bottle plastic Catches fire and melts It melts. It gets gooey. It catches fire.
PolyStyrene Foam Catches fire It catches fire quickly, burns rapidly, it melts, and only thin pieces cut. This is the #1 material that causes laser fires!!!
PolyPropylene Foam Catches fire Like PolyStyrene, it melts, catches fire, and the melted drops continue to burn and turn into rock-hard drips and pebbles.
Epoxy burn / smoke Epoxy is an aliphatic resin, strongly cross-linked carbon chains. A CO2 laser can’t cut it, and the resulting burned mess creates toxic fumes ( like cyanide! ). Items coated in Epoxy, or cast Epoxy resins must not be used in the laser cutter. ( see Fiberglass )
Fiberglass Emits fumes It’s a mix of two materials that cant’ be cut. Glass (etch, no cut) and epoxy resin (fumes)
Coated Carbon Fiber Emits noxious fumes A mix of two materials. Thin carbon fiber mat can be cut, with some fraying – but not when coated.
Any foodstuff ( such as meat, seaweed ‘nori’ sheets, cookie dough, bread, tortillas… ) The laser is not designed to cut food, and people cut things that create poisonous/noxious substances such as wood smoke and acrylic smoke. If you want to cut foodstuffs, consider sponsoring a food-only laser cutter for the space that is kept as clean as a commercial kitchen would require.
Material with Sticky Glue Backing Coats lens, cracks lens There are many normally laserable items such as thin wood laminates that you can purchase that become un-cuttable when the manufacturer adds a layer of peel-off glue on the bottom to attach them to surfaces. Examples include cork tiles, thin wood laminate, acrylic tiles, and paper stickers. Never cut these materials in the laser cutter if they have this backing. The glue will vaporize forming a coating on the lens that will coat it, cloud it, heat it, and then potentially crack the lens. The glue residue is worse than resin, and can’t be removed without risking damage to the lens … requiring a lens replacement.

Safe Materials

The laser can cut or etch. The materials that the laser can cut materials like wood, paper, cork, and some kinds of plastics. Etching can be done on almost anything, wood, cardboard, aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, marble, stone, tile, and glass.

Cutting

Material Max thickness Notes WARNINGS!
Many woods 1/4″ Avoid oily/resinous woods Be very careful about cutting oily woods, or very resinous woods as they also may catch fire.
Plywood/Composite woods 1/4″ These contain glue, and may not laser cut as well as solid wood.  
MDF/Engineered woods 1/4″ These are okay to use but may experience a higher amount of charring when cut.  
Paper, card stock thin Cuts very well on the laser cutter, and also very quickly.  
Cardboard, carton thicker Cuts well but may catch fire. Watch for fire.
Cork 1/8″ Thin cork can be cut, but the quality of the cut depends on the thickness and quality of the cork. Engineered cork has a lot of glue in it, and may not cut as well. Avoid cutting thicker cork (5mm). Engraves well, cuts poorly.
Acrylic/Lucite/Plexiglas/PMMA 1/2″ Cuts extremely well leaving a beautifully polished edge.  
Thin Polycarbonate Sheeting (<1mm) <1mm Very thin polycarbonate can be cut, but tends to discolor badly. Extremely thin sheets (0.5mm and less) may cut with yellowed/discolored edges. Polycarbonate absorbs IR strongly, and is a poor material to use in the laser cutter. Watch for smoking/burning
Delrin (POM) thin Delrin comes in a number of shore strengths (hardness) and 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’s thin. Thick mylar has a tendency 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.
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 the top and bottom hard paper shell. Not a fantastic thing to cut, but it can be cut if watched.
Cloth/felt/hemp/cotton   They all cut well. Our lasers can be used in lace-making. Not plastic coated or impregnated cloth!
Leather/Suede 1/8″ Leather is very hard to cut, but can be if it’s thinner than a belt (call it 1/8″). Our “Advanced” laser training class covers this. Real leather only! Not ‘pleather’ or other imitations .. they are made of PVC.
Magnetic Sheet   Cuts beautifully  
NON-CHLORINE-containing rubber   Fine for cutting. Beware chlorine-containing rubber!
Teflon (PTFE) thin Cuts OK in thin sheets. See https://www.ulsinc.com/materials/teflon ; the issues listed in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymer_fume_fever

should not matter because our lasers are fully vented and exhausted.

 
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.  

Etching

All the above “cuttable” materials can be etched, in some cases very deeply.

In addition, you can etch:

Material Notes WARNINGS!
Glass Green seems to work best…looks sandblasted. Flat glass should be engraved in our cutter as we have no rotary device. Round or cylindrical objects like bottles or glasses will have distortion.
Ceramic tile    
Anodized aluminum Vaporizes the anodization away.  
Painted/coated metals Vaporizes the paint away.  
Stone, Marble, Granite, Soapstone, Onyx. Gets a white “textured” look when etched. 100% power, 50% speed or less works well for etching.

Laser Marking

Cermark is the brand name of a marking compound containing molybdenum that costs ~$50-100 for a 12oz spray can, which can be sprayed onto stainless steel, brass, aluminum, copper, nickel, glass or light-colored stone/tile before being etched to leave behind a permanent dark black mark. Some people have had some luck using dry moly lube spray to the same effect. It is thought that the molybdenum sulfate in the dry lube breaks down to molybdenum which either oxidizes or reacts with the underlying surface to create the mark.

was made based on https://cpl.org/ data

Read full laser cutting guidance (PDF)
Full guidance of laser cutting / engraving parameters (PDF)

Florian Kelsh from Fizzle Grafix

Plywood laser cutting and making a nice piece of art using 10 watt Endurance laser

Laser cutting and laser engraving for home and for business.

Advantages of Endurance lasers


High-quality standard

Multi-level testing system.
Industrial components.


Ultra reliable

The guaranteed duration of the continuous operation ~48-72 hours.


True continuous power output

Our products have the rated power output as advertised – unlike Chinese analogues.


TTL mode

Can be turned on and off with 3.5-24V.
Variable power output.


Plug and play

Universal and compatible mount.
Compatible with most 3D printers and CNC machines.


Friendly return policy

Do not like the laser?
Simply return within 30 days and get a full refund.


Laser attachments and laser engraving (marking) machines.

Why do our customers buy lasers and engraving machines from Endurance?


Real-time advice

We assist and give advice by Phone / Email / Facebook messenger / Telegram / Whatsapp / Viber.


Professional support

We help to install and tune the laser. We offer qualified after-sales support.


Everything you need

We ship everything you need in one parcel to get started.


Immediate delivery

We ship all units within 4-24 hours. DHL express delivery allows you to get the package in 3-5 days.


Lifetime warranty

All our lasers are tested and could work up to 10000 hours.


Upgrade option

Do you have an old model? Upgrade your unit with more powerful one.

Laser cutting guidance

Video available upon request. Just email to gf@EnduranceRobots.com or text: +79162254302 [whatsapp, viber, telegram, wechat]

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