Back to MEAM.Design - Laser Cutting - List of Approved Materials and Cutting Parameters


The following materials are approved for cutting. If what you want to cut is no listed here, you must check with the shop staff before using the laser (a list of specifically forbidden materials can be found at the bottom of the page). Note that the settings listed as raster etch should provide a relatively light engraving. To vary the depth/strength of the engraving, adjust the laser power or speed accordingly.

These settings are for the PLS 4.75 Lasers.

Plastics

material thickness power speed PPI notes
ABS (a.k.a. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) 1/16" 80 4.5 850 material properties
1/8" 80 3.7 850
3/16" 80 1.4 850
1/4" 80 1.6 850
1/3" 100 .7 1000
3/8" 100 .4 1000
Acrylic (Polymethyl Methacrylate, PMMA, Lucite, Plexiglass) 1/16" 80 6 750 material properties

Acrylic is probably the ideal plastic for laser cutting. The edges are sharp and clean, and it can be cut relatively quickly.

It is usually a good idea to leave the adhesive paper on the bottom side of the material, but especially when etching, you will want to remove the paper from the top surface.

1/8" 80 4.0 750
1/4" 80 2 750
5/16" 80 .7 1000
1/2" 80 2 pass @ 1.5 1000
vector etch 10.0 10.0 750
raster etch 50 100 500
Delrin (Acetal) .045 80 16 750
Mylar
Nylon
Perforated Plastic .003" 60 100 1000
PETG 3/32" 60 2 1000
Polyester .002 (film) 50 20 1000
1/8" (cloth) 100 20 1000
Styrene
Vinyl Sign Vinyl - Kiss Cut 50 10 500
Sign Vinyl - Raster etch 100 75 500

Wood-Based

material thickness power speed PPI notes
Balsa 3/32" 25 15 850
3/16" 25 3.3 250
vector etch 80 11 500
Cardboard 2-ply 40 3 1000 These settings are for standard corrugated fiberboard, more commonly called "cardboard"
vector etch 9 4 500
raster etch 28 20 250
Foamcore top layer only 23 3.2 200 You only want to cut through the top layer of paper using the laser. If you try to cut all the way through, two things can and will happen: 1. the foam near the cut will vaporize, leaving a relatively deep void area along the cut, and 2. the bottom paper can ignite.
Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) 1/16" 85 6 800 You'll see that the cut edge has a burnt appearance after cutting - this is normal.

A note on raster etching: The settings on the left are 1 of many variations in speed and power. Feel free to play with different settings for different effects. An example is that a higher speed and higher power will cut material away faster and not burn the MDF; conversely a lower speed and lower power will show a deeper burnt color.

1/8" 85 4.0 800
1/4" 85 2 800
3/8"
vector etch 10.0 10.0 800
raster etch 25 100 500
raster etch (DARK) 10 50 500
Paper cut 10 10 1000 As you'd expect, paper is flammable, and care should be taken to avoid ignition!

Paper will fly away from the internal fans unless you tape it down.

vector etch 50 100 1000
raster etch 15 80 500

Other

material thickness power speed PPI notes
Anodized Aluminum etch only
Carbon Fiber 2x2 Twill 100 1.0 1000
Ceramic Cloth 1/4" 100 6.0 1000
Ceramic Fiber 1/16" 100 20 1000
Deer Skin- Tanned cut 75 6.0 800
Fabric
Felt 3/64" 25 15 1000
Gingerbread .36" 100 1.3 1000
Glass etch only
Leather
Peel Ply 95 100 1000
Sandblasted Aluminum etch only 100 4-5 500-1000 Aluminum can only be etched on the lasers and must first be coated in LMM-6000 before cutting. You must obtain permission to etch metal on the lasers and may only do so after obtaining the material and having it coated. The etch settings can vary depending on what finish you are looking for but I suggest lower power and higher speeds for a crisp etch.
Silicone 1/16" 100 2 1000
Stainless Steel Etching Only! 50 - 90 10 - 30 500 Steel can only be etched on the lasers and must first be coated in LMM-6000 before cutting. You must obtain permission to cut metal on the lasers and may only do so after obtaining the material and having it coated. The etch settings can vary depending on what finish you are looking for but I suggest lower power and higher speeds for a crisp etch.
Vegetable Fiber 1/64" 100 40 1000 Values are for water-resistant vegetable fiber. McMaster #9453K103.
Neoprene/EPDM/SBR Sealing Foam 1/8" 80 20 850 McMaster Material, good for static gaskets

Cutting of Fiberglass, Polypropylene, Polyethylene, Rubber, Polyvinylchloride (PVC), and any other chlorides are expressly forbidden. Again - if it's not listed above, you must check with the shop staff before using the laser!