View Full Version : Alowable Plastics

Steven Warwick
04-06-2014, 9:23 PM
Hello all, I'm new to the laser engraver tribe and was warned about not engraving and cutting PVC. but there are so many other types of plastics out there and some not laserable, was wondering if there is some sort of list/ spreadsheet that I could refer to on what I can and cannot use. For example: Acetal Delrin, Polycarbinates, Polybutal, Polyetheline.....etc. I don't want to damage my new machine or create other harmful issues.

Thanks, Steve

Matt Turner (physics)
04-07-2014, 1:19 AM
Check out the table on pages 8-9 of http://www.synrad.com/synradinside/pdfs/LaserProcessingGuide_Plastics.pdf. (They don't list any safety issues with Teflon, but I'd be wary about cutting it.)

Michael Hunter
04-07-2014, 9:45 AM
That is a very good link that Matt has given.

As Matt suggests, PTFE (Teflon) is potentially very bad.
When heated it can release nanoparticles of resin which, if inhaled, give symptoms very like influenza.
Heated further to decomposition it can also release flourine gas which combined with water vapour in the air is very nasty indeed.

Because of the huge number of "trade names" used for the relatively small number of distinct plastics (and the way that different plastic types get mixed together to achieve particular properties) , it is always best to get the safety sheet for the actual plastic you are thinking of using.
Only then can you properly decide the risks involved in ***your*** workshop (extract fan arrangement, filter?, distance to other premises/people etc. etc.).