View Full Version : Styrene

Walt Langhans
03-04-2014, 6:00 PM
Hi all!

I've been messing around with styrene and haven't been having much luck. I'm working with 1/16" thick and it's more melting that cutting or rastering. I've experimented with changing up the power and speed with pretty much all the possible combinations (low speed, high power / high speed , low power / high speed, high power / low speed , low power) and regardless of what I try it just doesn't come out clean.

I am trying to do some fairly detailed stuff, but I also have a 40mm lens. I was thinking that a 30mm might be something to try but before I ordered one I wanted to see if anyone has had any success even working with styrene on a laser, as I'm starting to think that I might need to abandon this project (or at least this version of it).


Mitchell Tutty
03-04-2014, 6:12 PM
Are you trying to cut it in one pass? With something like that i'd try lowering the power and raising the speed, and cutting on two or three passes, the less heat required to make the cuts the better, means less melting.

Walt Langhans
03-04-2014, 6:23 PM
Yeah I messed around with cutting it with multiple (2) passes with not a lot of luck either. But I didn't try a lot of variations either. This was about the point where I started wondering if getting good results with styrene was even possible and figured I'd post here and get some advice :D

Scott Shepherd
03-04-2014, 6:41 PM
We make stencils out of it all the time. Multiple passes is the ticket, like Mitchell said. It's a melty material, that's for sure. Likes to melt itself back together. Once you get it set, you'll be fine. It'll cut with some pretty decent edge quality, from a stencil standpoint.

Mark Ross
03-06-2014, 12:34 PM
We cut the stuff all day long using our Epilog 36EXT. On our 45W unit it is speed 100, power 20, frequency 5000. On our 75W unit speed is 100, power is 11-12 frequency 500. Material is white, 1/16" thick. If you cut a lot of it, you can pretty much kiss your vector grids goodbye. We have tried everything to clean them without damaging them either physically or chemically to no avail. Anything that melts the sticky melty stuff off the grid ends up destroying it.

Also a safety word to the wise that gets repeated here every so often, sometimes with pictures posted of the damage...

Do not for a single minute turn your back when you are cutting styrene. It can and for us it often does flare up between the stuck on stuff on the vector grid and the backside of the styrene. Having a full blast air assist will not always put out the flames, in fact, it ends up feeding it! Keep an extinguisher of the right size and composition nearby. And whatever you do, don't walk away to go to the bathroom "real quick". All it takes is "real quick".

Joe Pelonio
03-06-2014, 9:27 PM
Like Scott & Mark I also have cut quite a bit of 1/16" for stencils and other things. I have been able to eliminate flare-up by applying transfer tape to the top and misting with water before cutting. Go to slow or too much power and you get a rolled edge or id melts back together. My settings are about the same as Mark (45 watt).