View Full Version : Cutting through 3M adhesive

Steve Clarkson
12-12-2012, 1:00 PM
Often times, when I buy a sheet of Rowmark I will have the supplier put the 3M adhesive on the back.

99 times out of 100, whenever I vector cut the Rowmark, it cuts through the Rowmark like butter, but it will not cut through the mask on the 3M adhesive. I can even run the cut job twice and it won't cut through.

My frequency is 5,000 PPI......should I lower it? Should I focus closer to the material? Should I buy and apply my own 3M adhesive?

Anyone have a solution?

Lee DeRaud
12-12-2012, 1:31 PM
You're talking about the 4-mil PSA stuff? That's bizarre. I've used it on probably a dozen different substrates and never had to change any settings: as far as the laser is concerned it isn't even there.

But I'd consider your experience a feature rather than a bug. Lord knows, as much time as I've spent peeling bits of mask from tiny pieces of PSA-backed veneer, I'd love to be able to cut the veneer and adhesive and leave the mask intact...once in a great while it will, but not consistently.

Tony Lenkic
12-12-2012, 3:29 PM

I do that on daily bases without any issues here with 3M 467(2 mil adhesive) or 3M 468 (5 mil adhesive). I even cut through protective film on Rowmark and after cutting holes/shapes I remove top film and send raster part of the job. Doing it this way eliminates cleanup afterwards.

Joe Pelonio
12-12-2012, 9:17 PM
I only have that problem for part of the job when doing a full sheet of Rowmark with small letters and the sheet warps before it gets through the whole thing. Most of the time, and especially with thicker material it cuts through nicely.

Steve Clarkson
12-14-2012, 1:52 PM
It may be 2 mil thick, but it's like trying to cut through titanium for me......here's a picture of a typical result.

Should I lower my PPI?


Tim Bateson
12-14-2012, 1:56 PM
Maybe I missed it, but what are your settings?

Tony Lenkic
12-14-2012, 3:01 PM
Could be focus issue (does the sheet lay flat or is it curled up).
My old ULS 40 watt machine would do similar results in Y direction if material would bow.

Now days with Trotec 60 watt cutting 1/16" Rowmark my settings are 60P / 1.8S / 2k freq,

Steve Clarkson
12-14-2012, 6:28 PM
Tim.....I'm cutting at 20 speed, 60 power and 5,000 dpi and again......even if I cut it twice (the first time definitely gets through the Rowmark), it still won't cleanly cut through the 3M mask.

Tony.....since it happens everytime and it looks pretty flat, I'm not sure that is the issue.......but I wonder if I should focus down into the material more.

Joe Pelonio
12-14-2012, 10:22 PM
That's really odd for 45 watts, I cut Rowmark adhesive and all at 20 speed 30 power frequency 1000. What is your setting for 1/4" acrylic?

Steve Clarkson
12-15-2012, 10:00 AM
Joe - next time I'll try dropping the frequency to 1,000.

I cut 1/4" acrylic at 5 speed 100 power 5,000 PPI......I just got a new tube about a month ago because it died without notice. The new tube isn't cutting any faster than the one that died (Epilog measured it at 53 watts before it shipped). I've made sure the table is level, did an alignment, and made sure the optics were clean, but it just seems like it cuts like a 30 watt machine. My next step is to buy a new lens to see if that is the problem.

Joe Pelonio
12-15-2012, 7:21 PM
That doesn't seem right, last time I got a new tube I could cut 1/4" at 10, now down to 8 after about 3 years (other settings the same). Take a good close look at your mirrors/lenses especially the ones on the head for scratches or
bare spots in the gold coating, that makes it absorb too much energy. I had to replace those by the first lens out of
the tube area and corner lens on the left side are both original from 2005 and still in great shape.