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View Full Version : Cutting decals on a laser?



Brent Vander Weil
05-23-2006, 11:55 AM
Does anyone know if you can cut decals from some type of whether proof/resistant material... like a whole stack at a time...??? I know of the PVC issue and a laser and as most adhesive sign materials are vinyl based was not sure if this could be done....

Dave Fifield
05-23-2006, 2:00 PM
Brent, it can be done, but I don't think anyone would recommend it. PVC (vinyl) emitts corrosive chlorine gas when vector cut on a laser. This ruins the laser optics very quickly and, of course isn't good for your health. If you were to use a waxed paper type of decal with adhesive backing, I'm sure that'd be fine.

Dave F.

Joe Pelonio
05-23-2006, 2:34 PM
It might be worth looking for an inexpensive or used plotter.

There are laser safely cutable films made of polyester, but in clear and metal-looking mylar only. The problem though with cutting through several
layers at a time of anything that thin and light is that even with a vaccum table they tend to blow out the exhaust. I tried cutting through 3-4 layers of polytag (coated card stock) to save time on a quantity of 150 stencils, and pieces would fly around and get in the way of the beam.

Brent Vander Weil
05-23-2006, 8:16 PM
I was checking more out of curiosity than any thing... I guess there is a reason you don't see too many advertisements for laserable adhesive decals :-) I just had somebody at work ask me if I could do those... they were wanting a soccer ball with a kids name in it for the window on the "soccer mom mobile" LOL

Michael McDuffie
05-24-2006, 12:34 AM
I was checking more out of curiosity than any thing... I guess there is a reason you don't see too many advertisements for laserable adhesive decals :-) I just had somebody at work ask me if I could do those... they were wanting a soccer ball with a kids name in it for the window on the "soccer mom mobile" LOL
Check this (http://www.paper-paper.com/cling.html) out, ink jet printable window cling material.

I Yahoo'ed "ink jet windows cling" and got a ton of hits. Seems to me I've seen it at Joanns and maybe the office supply stores.

If you want to make your own decals, Testors (http://www.testors.com/catalog_item.asp?itemNbr=2255) makes a do it yourself kit. I've seen the results on a model heliocopter and it looked good. Use decal in their quicksearch to find refills.

Michael

PS, I've lost a lot of little cutouts up the big hose and out to the garage.

Joe Pelonio
05-24-2006, 8:00 AM
For what she's looking for you can use Rowmark Laserlights.

Brent Vander Weil
05-24-2006, 11:25 AM
Mike.... sorry for this, but after your PS on your message all I could think of was "That sucks!!!" LOL

I will do some checking and I had never heard of LaserLights.. will look at that too....

Kevin Huffman
05-24-2006, 12:00 PM
Hello Brent,
If you wanting to use Vinyl, there are 2 different types : PVC and Polyester. When you call any sign making company you can ask the sales rep if they sell the Polyster based vinyls. You can use the Polyester based vinyls in the machine with no issues.

Joe Pelonio
05-24-2006, 12:13 PM
PS, I've lost a lot of little cutouts up the big hose and out to the garage.
Yesterday I did some .03mm ABS for a guy, in order to keep it in the laser I took some plastic screen, larger holes than used on windows, and taped it over the vents to the exhaust. You just have to let it go slightly over the vector grid so that when you open the top the pieces don't fall into the bottom. It worked great, and caught several pieces.

Brent Vander Weil
05-24-2006, 4:50 PM
I think I may have a line on a couple types of poly adhesive material... just wating on contact from a distributor... I think Dennison-Avery makes some and what may be even more cool is that I think 3M actually makes some that is reflective :-)

I was thinking... What if you took several layers and used that paper tablet making binding cement that goes at the top of a note pad.... only put it on all four sides to hold the stock in a pile while cutting? Just a wild thought...

Joe Pelonio
05-24-2006, 6:32 PM
I was thinking... What if you took several layers and used that paper tablet making binding cement that goes at the top of a note pad.... only put it on all four sides to hold the stock in a pile while cutting? Just a wild thought...
If you are only cutting one shape that could work, infact you wouldn't really need the adhesive since nothing would be flying away until it hit the end. Say the letter "5". But if you did the letter "B" the centers would still be moving around and could land on the outside edge and keep the beam from focusing. If you were doing several letters together the same thing could happen, as it cuts the 2nd letter the first pile could start blowing around. If you figure it out tell us, but I've tried many things and haven't been able to solve the problem of multiple layers other than appropriately placed tiny bits of thin double sided tape or artist's temporary spray adhesive, and that only works on things that can be cleaned off after.

Aleta Allen
05-25-2006, 12:41 PM
Brent,

I too have had a few ask about those window stickers that have a sport and name on them. If you find any info, please pass it on. I would love to know what and how to do those without using PVC products. There should be some type of polyester base product to use. I have even seen a view in colors on windows, but mostly white.

Good luck!:)

Joe Pelonio
05-25-2006, 1:20 PM
If you can find the material that can be done on a laser but it's really a vinyl plotter application, the ones you are seeing were plotter cut or if mass produced overseas may have been die cut.

Michael McDuffie
05-25-2006, 8:04 PM
Yesterday I did some .03mm ABS for a guy, in order to keep it in the laser I took some plastic screen, larger holes than used on windows, and taped it over the vents to the exhaust. You just have to let it go slightly over the vector grid so that when you open the top the pieces don't fall into the bottom. It worked great, and caught several pieces.

My someday plan is to put hardware cloth (looks like bug screen but bigger holes and stronger) across the opening. My 2 HP Grizzly DC has much suckage, Iíve lost bits of LaserLights, a couple of pieces of 8.5 X 11 paper and all kinds of bits and pieces. Iíve even had pieces shift when I close the lid.

The other day, I cut so much leather that the bags faced over with smoke and it stopped sucking. Two trips through the washing machine fixed that.

I set focus then slide the vector table away from the back wall and tape along the bed to the back wall. I then put the vector table back in place and tape above the air exhaust to the top of the vector table. Some tape all Ďround the vector table to block off the big holes and Iíve got a vacuum table. It will hold stuff very tight to the table.

Michael

Brent Vander Weil
05-27-2006, 1:25 AM
Joe... I think you are correct Joe... I would guess the are plotter cut due to the custom names that were worked right into the decal...

Shaddy Dedmore
05-27-2006, 3:03 AM
My 2 HP Grizzly DC has much suckage

You could mount a "Y" on the back of the laser (stem going to laser, one arm going to dust collector, the other nothing). Put a gate on the open port, then when you don't want as much suckage, open the gate and it will lose some suckage, but still be enough to clear the smoke.

Shaddy

Michael McDuffie
05-28-2006, 2:47 AM
You could mount a "Y" on the back of the laser (stem going to laser, one arm going to dust collector, the other nothing). Put a gate on the open port, then when you don't want as much suckage, open the gate and it will lose some suckage, but still be enough to clear the smoke.

Shaddy

It has a wye already, I also use it with the tablesaw and whatnot, and it never occured to me to use it to throttle it down a bit. Most of the stuff I do now is heavy enough to stay in place and I really need max suck when cutting leather.

Burnt leather is not a pleasant smell.

Michael