View Full Version : Apple Power Supply Material - what is it ?

Chris J Anderson
01-19-2017, 5:46 PM
Hi to All.
I have searched and cant find what material Apple power supplies are made from. I have to engrave 400 of them and would rather laser them but am concerned they might be pvc so will probably tool engrave them in batches.

Any info appreciated as always.


David Somers
01-19-2017, 5:59 PM
Chris....it might help if you told us what power supplies you were referring to. There are a fair number of types that Apple has produced and still has in production?

Kev Williams
01-19-2017, 6:34 PM
Test one- PVC turns a reddish brown when lasered.

Scott Anders
01-19-2017, 6:40 PM
It'll be ABS Chris but do a green flame PVC test on it first anyway

Chris J Anderson
01-19-2017, 6:50 PM
Thanks gents...

Sorry for lack of detail.

These are macbook air power supplies, see pic (of about half of them)attached...

I will shave a small piece and do the flame test, thanks for the info.



Bruce Clumpner
01-19-2017, 7:56 PM
I bet a fiber would engrave that material... probably pick up a cheap 20watt and still net a profit...

Chris J Anderson
01-19-2017, 8:32 PM
Hi Bruce,

yes I probably should but we have a 300w fiber on the way for cutting stainless steel so the budget is already blown for a while.

if its pvc the fiber laser would still be unusable though i presume ?


Kev Williams
01-20-2017, 12:46 AM
This is what PVC looks like when you hit it with a C02 laser. I've lasered several colors of PVC, it always turns brown.

This is the same picture, I just changed it to grayscale-- a fiber makes it gray like this--

Kel Kodama
01-20-2017, 1:21 AM
More than likely those power supplies are either PC/ABS or PC, which are the most common types of plastics that Apple uses. If you have 1 that you can afford to scrap I would tear it apart and look inside, it should have the material molded on the inside of the parts.

David Somers
01-20-2017, 1:47 AM
Kev....is PVC safe to use in a fiber? If yes...how come?

Kev Williams
01-20-2017, 4:20 PM
Nope, and especially with the open style machines.

That pic I put up is one of 4 different styles of PVC trays I've engraved, lots of 'em. But even though I was able to, I would never recommend or advise anyone to laser engrave PVC....

Bill George
01-20-2017, 4:29 PM
Its heating of the PVC and years ago they banned insulation on wires that was made from PVC. There was a major fire here in Des Moines 20 years ago or so in a commercial building, the 10 people died not from the fire but the fumes off burning PVC covered wires.

Ross Moshinsky
01-20-2017, 5:02 PM
I'm fairly confident it's polycarbonate. If it is, you can laser it. I just did a bunch of police radios a few weeks ago and I found a couple of passes was better than one pass with a lot of power.

David Somers
01-20-2017, 8:07 PM
Thanks for the confirmation Kev! I read that and thought...Whoa? What is different?
Clarification much appreciated.

Bummer though. And here I was going to run out and buy miles of PVC piping and custom engrave people's sewer pipes!! Talk about an underserved market!!!!! Oh well. Missed out on pet rocks too! Sigh.

Kev Williams
01-21-2017, 2:08 AM
A fiber's wavelength just makes PVC gray instead of brown, not sure why. I've never done PVC with my fiber--when I first got the tray job, the customer brought me one THEY did on THEIR fiber. I guess they about gassed the place out.

Anyway, IF the parts in question ARE polycarb, a fiber would be ideal, with the right settings a fiber makes polycarb look exactly like it's engraved and painted with gloss black paint...

John Lifer
01-21-2017, 12:17 PM
Look closer at the power supplies. Is there an applied label on the PS or does it have molded into the part markings or is it what looks like printing ink?
If label, or molded into part printing, I'd bet dollars to donuts its PVC. or at least a blend.
If printed onto surface, then scratch and see if it is ink, (pad printed) if it doesn't scratch it most likely was fiber lasered.