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Thread: engraving PVC

  1. #1

    engraving PVC

    OK read before you jump on me LOL . I know its bad for the machine and your lungs ok , but heres the deal. I bought a pak of credit card size pvc cards. Didn't realize they were PVC when I bought them, wasn't paying attention to the description, and I didn't buy them with engraving them in mind. These are white cards, and I decided to engrave one to see what it looked like ,and wow they engrave really nice with a co2. there small cards and I probably would only engrave one on a rare occasion. But I really don't want to use my co2 so I'm wondering if one of those cheap diode lasers would engrave these cards. I'd put the machine outside and walk away from it while it did its thing. whats ya all think anyone tried PVC on a diode laser?
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  2. #2
    Lemme guess, nice rust colored engraving, yes? (fiber will turn it gray)

    in 2014/2015 I made many thou$and$ of $ engraving PVC parts trays,
    this is one of my first practice trays, not my best work ;P
    pvct.jpg
    there were 4 sizes of these, this was the smallest. Notice this tray is stepped, which meant doing them in my LS900 because I can program different focus distances via color. Many of the flat versions I did in small ULS I had at the time. In 2014 I engraved 1500 of each size, and in 2015 I engraved 950 of each size. 9800 of these things, and the sum total machine damage I suffered:
    My LS900 lens tube (left) used to look like my LS100 tube...
    lensd.jpg
    The smoke stripped the anodizing-which on these things is very minimal to be honest. And it darkened my copper air-assist tube...
    The 900 lens shined like a mirror, but has since darkened as aluminum does.

    My old ULS, saw no ill effects at tall. My HF blower that sucked all that smoke, the blower blades and inner housing were caked with red residue, but nothing else. I'm still using that blower...

    Outside, I piped the smoke into some shrubs, they seemed to help dissipate the smoke, and the shrubs weren't adversely affected at all. I walked around the back yard while the machines were engraving, if I got within 10' of the shrubs I could feel it in my throat. Anywhere beyond 10' away, zilch. Neighbors never noticed anything.

    Indoors- I normally laser with the lids open, but I couldn't while engraving this stuff. Never noticed anything as long as the lids were closed...

    Here's the thing, the 2 machines I engraved these with (and my LS100) are extremely efficient at drawing smoke. These machines exhaust ports are 2-3" behind the table, incoming air comes from the front of the machines via cavitiy built into the door or front face of the machine, and all that air moves across the length of the table. It's so efficient I hardly ever have to clean my lenses. My LS100 gets used every day, I haven't cleaned the lens in months. So, because of the efficient smoke extraction, very little smoke ever came in contact with machine parts that could be damaged, and left no smoke remaining indoors...

    That's my PVC experiences. The smoke from PVC IS nasty bad, to be sure. The first time I ran the machine with the door open, when I got close to the machine the effect when trying to breathe was like getting to0 close to oven cleaner.

    That all said, I can't honestly recommend lasering PVC. But just as honestly, based on my own experience, if more of these trays show up, I won't turn them down...

    --cheap diode laser may be the ticket for one-offs though...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  3. #3
    so what color do you think a cheap diode will do.? and I gather you really don't think I'll harm myself of my laser doing a couple credit card size engraving a month.
    If the Help and advice you received here was of any VALUE to you PLEASE! Become a Contributor
    Rabbit RL_XX_6040-60 watt Laser engraving/cutting machine Oh wait its a 3D Printer my bad LOL
    Lasercut 5.3
    CorelDraw X5

    10" Miter Saw with slide
    10" Table Saw
    8" bench mount 5 speed Drill Press
    Dremel, 3x21 Belt Sander


  4. #4
    Bert

    I've done a few pieces of pvc from time to time on my Trotecs with no harm done to the machine or me. I would guess that my total engraving time in more than 20 years is less than two hours so, while I know all the rules, I would still do a small job if I needed to. I used white cards which engraved to a brown color.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Gravograph IS400
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

  5. #5
    Yes its a nice Brown rust but I'm still wondering what a diode will do if they can engrave them and what color will it be
    If the Help and advice you received here was of any VALUE to you PLEASE! Become a Contributor
    Rabbit RL_XX_6040-60 watt Laser engraving/cutting machine Oh wait its a 3D Printer my bad LOL
    Lasercut 5.3
    CorelDraw X5

    10" Miter Saw with slide
    10" Table Saw
    8" bench mount 5 speed Drill Press
    Dremel, 3x21 Belt Sander


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
    Posts
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    Bert I do not recall if my diode laser would do what your asking. You might do a google or go on Facebook to search.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

  7. #7
    searches don't really come up with a lot of info on diodes and pvc. Mostly just says plastic and doesn't specify pvc. Found 1 you tube video with the guy engraving white plastic and he was turning power up and down while it was running, didn't find that very useful either. If you find a piece of white PVC and want to give it a go let me know how it turns out .I do like this tho
    IMG_20210516_191120685 (Copy) (Copy).jpg
    If the Help and advice you received here was of any VALUE to you PLEASE! Become a Contributor
    Rabbit RL_XX_6040-60 watt Laser engraving/cutting machine Oh wait its a 3D Printer my bad LOL
    Lasercut 5.3
    CorelDraw X5

    10" Miter Saw with slide
    10" Table Saw
    8" bench mount 5 speed Drill Press
    Dremel, 3x21 Belt Sander


  8. #8
    I mentioned above that a fiber makes PVC gray, that was based on sample parts my customer brought me- so I just wanted to find out for sure
    fiberpvc.jpg

    I'm going to guess that since a 10,640nm C02 laser turns PVC rust colored, and a 1,064nm fiber laser turns it gray, that a 445nm diode laser will also turn it gray, maybe a snick darker-- that's assuming it has enough power TO engrave it... my fiber wouldn't touch it at 10% with my 420mm lens..
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  9. #9
    now ya got me wondering if it will engrave at all LOL. Think Ill just do them with my co2, Like I said it will be very few and spread out over time.
    If the Help and advice you received here was of any VALUE to you PLEASE! Become a Contributor
    Rabbit RL_XX_6040-60 watt Laser engraving/cutting machine Oh wait its a 3D Printer my bad LOL
    Lasercut 5.3
    CorelDraw X5

    10" Miter Saw with slide
    10" Table Saw
    8" bench mount 5 speed Drill Press
    Dremel, 3x21 Belt Sander


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