View Full Version : Trying my first Rubber Stamp - Is this normal!?

Scott Balboa
01-19-2010, 7:25 PM
Well I just started rastering my first rubber stamp and man does it stink! Before I continue any further I'm hoping someone who's done this before can guide me...

I'm lasering on a 40w Universal and am familiar with the Rubber Stamp settings and what not, as I've made many other stamps using a different material (that was not intended for stamping, but has worked beautifully). This rubber, however, smells awful and is leaving ridiculous amounts of residue in the rubber itself and on the ruler/fence on the engraving table. Is this normal? Its not like I expected burning rubber to smell GOOD, but this smell is sickening beyond belief and the residue seems over the top. This is rubber intended for lasering and was purchased just days ago. I used the ULS factory settings for the first run, so maybe those need to be tweaked.

Any advice!?

Scott Balboa
01-19-2010, 7:36 PM
On another note, the rubber I am working with is "Premium Laser Rubber" from LaserBits. It is gray in color, smells to high heaven, and is approximately 1/8".

John Noell
01-19-2010, 7:51 PM
We do a lot of stamps, using the pinkish rubber from Jackson Marking. It does stink and it leaves a fair amount of greyish residue on things, but it washes right off. I would not consider it a "ridiculous" amount by any means. Your rubber sounds terrible. (We have a very good exhaust system and no one nearby, thankfully. It smells worse outside the shop than in it. :) )

Greg Sloan
01-19-2010, 7:57 PM
What you are experiencing is normal. I use low odor rubber, but it still stinks. I turn on every fan in my house, I make sure my blower is wide open. Yes there is a lot of residue left on the stamp itself. I take it out to my shop and blow off with my air compressor. When I'm done I leave the house for 30 minutes and do something else. I know of nothing you can do to reduce the smell or the residue.

Scott Shepherd
01-19-2010, 8:02 PM
Yup, it's normal for that material you used. I cut it once, making a stamp for the people in the next office over from me. They complained about the smell for 2 days (and they were right, it was still in my office as well).

I think that was the last time I cut the stuff. Wicked nasty smell to the gray stuff.

Bill Cunningham
01-19-2010, 10:36 PM
Buy the polymer stamp material.. I make my own, I have a photopolymer platemaker for making printing plates, but it also makes stamps using UV film, or simply sheets of photopolymer that I engrave for stamps. The photopolymer 'does' have a slight odour, but no dust, and smells NOTHING like the dead skunk people think is hidden in your shop after engraving rubber :D The polymer material is available from Millennium Marking

David Fairfield
01-19-2010, 10:44 PM
Rubber is nasty smelly stuff. I did a huge order for rubber gaskets. I felt like the guy on Dirty Jobs. I was glad when the company invested in a stamping die to make 'em.


Andrea Weissenseel
01-20-2010, 3:07 AM
I also do a lot of rubber stamps. I'm using the "New Aero" odorless rubber from Trodat and it does not smell at all. It leaves some residue on the rulers and the table, but that's normal and can be wiped off easily.


Tom Gooch
01-20-2010, 3:18 AM
The first time I tried a rubber stamp with the laser, my wife nearly threw me and the laser out of the house. It was the LAST time I tried a rubber stamp with the laser. The permeating smell which lasts for weks just isn't worth it.

Scott Balboa
01-20-2010, 6:30 PM
Well, glad to know this is normal! My God, you stamp makers are dedicated folks! This definitely tops the list of my least favorite engraving substrates, ever!

The residue on the engraving table/rulers comes off easily, but what about all the residue in the rubber itself? A couple of you mentioned wiping or air-blowing it off with ease. I thought a couple shakes and a quick rinse under warm water would do the trick, but it hangs on for dear life and takes knit-pick scraping to get it clean and acceptable, and that to me is too much labor for such a stinky time-consuming job! I may try some of the odorless stuff, but since this is purely conceptual (no customer waiting) I wouldn't be too sad if I never had to do this again.

Thanks for the feedback and product recommendations.... I will take another route with the material!

Darryl Hazen
01-20-2010, 7:13 PM
We use the low odor/no odor polymer from Millennium Marking. We won't do regular rubber. If you want to do stamps you need to try the low odor or no odor stuff.

Andrea Weissenseel
01-21-2010, 6:00 AM
The residue on the rubber I use, comes off easily - I rinse it under water with an old toothbrush, just takes a couple seconds


Scott Balboa
01-21-2010, 2:53 PM
Well that's defnitely my next order. Is odorless TRULY odor-free? Most products that claim to have low odor still stink, like latex paints and what not.

I'm trying to wrap my head around what these suppliers mean when they say "engraves __% faster than regular rubber". Does that mean that one pass can accomplish what would normally take a few passes? Cause otherwise speed is determined by what your raster/vector settings are!

From how the Polymer is advertised it looks to be superior to the other low/no odor rubbers. Is this true, and assuming it is more expensive, is it really worth the extra dough?

Bill Cunningham
01-26-2010, 8:14 PM
The epilog has a stamp mode in their driver. I've never taken more than one pass to cut a stamp from either real rubber, or polymer. I cut polymer stamps at 100%p/15% speed/600 dpi then vector cut the shape at 20% speed
Real rubber cuts at 100p/8sp/600 dpi and vector cut @ 15speed.. On real rubber, the rubber dust just sits on top, I keep the air real low(just enough to blow out any flame), when done I carefully carry it to the sink, and run cold water over it while using a toothbrush to clean the surface. If your using 'rubber' for stamps that would normally only be used with water based inks (self inking ..etc) then there's no need to use real rubber. Only use the real stuff when the stamp needs to imprint with solvent or Alcohol based inks. These inks will ruin polymer dies.

Ralph Tesson
01-29-2010, 10:22 AM
I'm Ralph from quatro-air.com. We have been producing a Rubber Stamp Chemical Module for our CSA-600 series for a few years and have had very positive results. Let me tell you that the fine-tuning was an awful experience and I pity all of you that have to endure that smell! The chemical bed in this unit is 12" X 15" X 15" and weighs nearly 70 Lbs and is filled with a custom impregnate that is designed specifically to eliminate the smell of rubber stamp engraving. The chemical bed sits in our LaserBlue Gel which means that there is zero filter bypass, all gasses from the engraver pass through the chemical bed. There is also a large easily accessible filter bag to help capture the large particulate. The CSA is our heavy-duty laser engraving workhorse and is designed to run 40 hours a week. Our experiments did show that our popular SPH-400 series which has 12" X 15" X 8" chemical bed was insufficient in eliminating the odor when filled with the same Rubber Stamp chemical bed; you really had to throw the big guns at it!
Please feel free to ask any questions either on the forum or PM me. Website info can be found if you click on my details.