PDA

View Full Version : Engraving in plastic



mike klein
06-01-2006, 5:47 PM
I was recently contacted by a hospital to engrave information into their 3-ring plastic binders. My first concern was if the material contained any pvc, but after contacting the manufacture that issue was cleard up, no pvc. They tell me they are made from a polymer type of material. The binders are 1/8" thick and are made by a company called Carstens, who specializes only in filling systems for hospitals.

They want these laser engraved and then the text colored filled, which is not a problem. Has anyone ever worked with material such as this and if so any laser settings to start at? I requested a sample piece to experiment with but the company was not real comfortable in doing so. Not sure if I will get the sample or not.

http://carstens.com/es_show_products.php

Thanks
Mike

Dave Jones
06-01-2006, 5:56 PM
Polymer is a very generic term. PVC is a polymer (it's made by polymerizing vinyl chloride). Polyester, polystyrene, polypropolene, are also polymers.

Lee DeRaud
06-01-2006, 5:58 PM
I requested a sample piece to experiment with but the company was not real comfortable in doing so. Not sure if I will get the sample or not.Um, can't you just ask the hospital for an extra binder to experiment on?
It's not like they've only got one of them...

Joe Pelonio
06-01-2006, 6:19 PM
Polymer is a very generic term. PVC is a polymer (it's made by polymerizing vinyl chloride). Polyester, polystyrene, polypropolene, are also polymers.
I question whether the person you spoke to knows. I'd make sure to have a copy of the MSDS on it. The people at Carstens may not have it, they may have to get it from the people thay they buy the plastic from. You might even suggest using laserlights or something similar and not get into
it.

I know a guy who ruined his laser with an unknown material that turned out to contain PVC. Here's a decent chart of materials for the Epilog put together by users of one at MIT:


http://web.mit.edu/jbiggs/www/publications_files/ShopMans/Laser/laser_mats.html

Lee DeRaud
06-01-2006, 6:33 PM
Here's a decent chart of materials for the Epilog put together by users of one at MIT:
http://web.mit.edu/jbiggs/www/publications_files/ShopMans/Laser/laser_mats.html A couple of things on that list caught my eye:
1. I was under the impression that laser-cutting teflon was a no-no, emitted gasses being very toxic. Is this not true?
2. The list shows them cutting wood to 1/2" thick with a 35-watt machine. I kinda doubt it.
3. Can anyone here verify that linoleum is laser-cuttable?

Dave Jones
06-01-2006, 6:45 PM
From a Synrad newsletter describing cutting and shaping teflon with a 50W laser:

Remember, some materials such as Teflon<sup></sup>, can generate air contaminants such as vapors, fumes, and/or particles that may be noxious, toxic, or even fatal. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all materials being processed should be thoroughly evaluated and the adequacy of provisions for fume extraction, filtering, and venting should be carefully considered. In some locations, it may be necessary to consult with local governmental agencies regarding restrictions on the venting of processing vapors.

Joe Pelonio
06-01-2006, 7:11 PM
A couple of things on that list caught my eye:
1. I was under the impression that laser-cutting teflon was a no-no, emitted gasses being very toxic. Is this not true?
2. The list shows them cutting wood to 1/2" thick with a 35-watt machine. I kinda doubt it.
3. Can anyone here verify that linoleum is laser-cuttable?
Lee, I also noticed that with their 30 watts they can cut .0025 steel,
I question that one too. Maybe even MIT is not the greatest authority.

I looked up an MSDS on that type of teflon sheet and when it burns it creates Carbon, Flourine, and Oxygen. Looking up flourine, it does appear to be corrosive, so I'd be concerned about laser damage as with PVC. I'd
not expect anyone to walk into the shop and ask me to cut up some teflon film or sheet, but if they do, I'd say "no thanks". I don't have MIT's budget for equipment replacement.

Jim A. Walters
06-01-2006, 10:53 PM
You could tie up a cat by the exhaust vent :eek: to see if it the by-products was poisonous. I would hate to hurt a canary...:D

or really even a cat... scratch the thought this reply implies.

mike klein
06-01-2006, 11:11 PM
Living out in the country its not so much the fumes that concerns me as much as the possibly of damaging the laser, although we should cautious of what is put in the atmosphere I guess.

Rodne Gold
06-02-2006, 3:59 AM
One could cut 0.0025" thick steel with 30 w with a short lens and oxygen assist , its only 0.06mm thick , I would imagine it would be something like very very thin shim stock.
I can actually engrave reasonably deepishly into Stainless with a 25w and speeds like .1% /100% power.

Joe Pelonio
06-02-2006, 9:22 AM
One could cut 0.0025" thick steel with 30 w with a short lens and oxygen assist , its only 0.06mm thick , I would imagine it would be something like very very thin shim stock.
I can actually engrave reasonably deepishly into Stainless with a 25w and speeds like .1% /100% power.
With my 45 watts I tried aluminum foil and it wouldn't cut. I did manage to engrave the back of an I-Pod (stainless) using 1% speed 100% power but it seems like that has to be hard on the machine.

Mitchell Andrus
06-02-2006, 10:15 AM
I'd think that marking stainless would cause the laser to get dull rather quickly.

By the way, I've yet to see a thread discussing sending the laser out for sharpening. Where do you send yours?

How would you do it? Sent the tube? Catch the beam in a container - perhaps a mirror lined box?

Mitch

Rodne Gold
06-02-2006, 1:32 PM
Yeh Joe , it wont touch ally foil at all as there are no added bits in in ally , its the pure metal. Can do steel tho , its a slightly diff process as the steels carbons etc absorbs the laser energy and steel doesnt doesnt dissipate it like ally or copper
The lasered point takes a huge thermal hit , the O2 promotes an even more intense thermal reaction and acts like a blowtorch. I also thought the engraving of SS was hard on the machine , my eyes became inflamed due to me was looking at the intense bright beam as it was engraving , didn't seem a thing that would promote durability of the machine. also results were variable with little control of depth and a "burnt" edge where the engaaving was.

As to laser sharpening , well the Gallileo prismatron mkII is one of the best units out there , ground crystal resonators with their patented lazsharp coatings , combined with rhodium plated surface mirrors , their excellent beam diffusor model ensures that your tool is always up to scratch , so to speak.
I made one of these in my kitchen using my wifes powder compact mirrors , some chewing gum and the bottom of 2 coke bottles. This also worked a charm and at $1.12 is a lot cheaper then $123 000 commercial unit.

Joe Pelonio
06-02-2006, 3:11 PM
As to laser sharpening , well the Gallileo prismatron mkII is one of the best units out there , ground crystal resonators with their patented lazsharp coatings , combined with rhodium plated surface mirrors , their excellent beam diffusor model ensures that your tool is always up to scratch , so to speak.
I made one of these in my kitchen using my wifes powder compact mirrors , some chewing gum and the bottom of 2 coke bottles. This also worked a charm and at $1.12 is a lot cheaper then $123 000 commercial unit.
Darn, i bought the commercial one, but got it on E-Bay for just $21,000.

Here's another place that says they cut teflon all the time, under
flouropolymers. Nice music on the website too.

http://www.vtlaserworks.com/page3.html

Dave Jones
06-02-2006, 9:54 PM
By the way, I've yet to see a thread discussing sending the laser out for sharpening. Where do you send yours?

No need to send it out, as long as you have a sonic screwdriver.

Brent Vander Weil
06-02-2006, 11:49 PM
My guy will do a set of wiper blades along with the laser for free!!!!