Laser cut is able to cut many materials with high quality and precision. Due to its precision, laser cutting is frequently used in many industries.
However, not all materials are suitable for laser cutting, and vinyl is one of them.
If you want to cut it, is there a safe method or alternative you can use?
This article will look at how to cut vinyl more safely.
Understanding Laser Cutting and Vinyl
Vinyl is one of the best-selling types of plastic, often found in plastics and some leathers. Its biggest drawback is that it produces toxicity when burned. This is why taking some protective measures when using laser cutting is important.
Vinyl consists of chlorine and vinyl; the toxic chlorine vaporizes from the heat during the cutting process. Some precautions need to be taken to prevent the operator from being exposed to these harmful fumes when laser cutting.
Can I laser cut vinyl?
Yes, but it is not recommended, although vinyl has become one of the very common materials to laser cut. However, you probably won't.
The chlorine gas produced during the cutting of vinyl can not only damage your skin and respiratory system, but it can also damage your laser cutter. And if you cut thicker vinyl, it can also have a burnt appearance.
Choosing the Right Type of Laser
CO2 laser cutter and diode laser engraver are more suitable for cutting vinyl. You can choose the right laser source type depending on the vinyl thickness you are cutting. A CO2 laser cutter is generally more powerful and is suitable for cutting thicker materials. A diode laser is better suited for thin vinyl and will vaporize the material without generating too much heat during cutting.
Gweike G1 Diode Engraver
Safety Measures for Laser Cutting Vinyl
Safety precautions are essential for safe vinyl cutting. Of course, the following measures will not eliminate the chlorine gas generated during the cutting process. However, they will help to minimize the risk of chlorine and other harmful gases.
- Provide a laser safety enclosure to not only ensure that the fumes generated during the cutting process do not spread but also to help minimize the exposure of human eyes to the bright laser beam. (Preferably metal or ce certified materials).
- An exhaust system is one of the most direct measures to reduce exposure to harmful fumes. A specialized fume filter cabinet is highly recommended, as simply venting chlorine gas outside is also not recommended.
- Equip yourself with personal protective equipment such as safety masks, protective clothing, and safety glasses.
- Keep an eye on the cutting process, and stop the machine immediately in case of uncontrollable smoke or fire.
- Cutting machine cutting vinyl will reduce the service life of the machine, so the use of the machine to do an excellent job after the completion of cleaning.
- Keep the cutting environment well-ventilated, and place the fire extinguisher where you can get it quickly.
Alternative Techniques for Cutting Vinyl
Razor or hot blade cutting is also a good option for cutting vinyl. If you choose hot blade cutting, you must take several safety measures.
Blade cutting is an efficient and safe way to cut vinyl and is the most common way.
Many factories use water cutting, which utilizes a high-pressure stream of water to cut vinyl. The downside of this method is that it can contaminate the water stream and requires a specialized wastewater treatment system.
Laser Cut Vinyl FAQ
Can I laser cut vinyl records?
Vinyl records contain PVC; therefore, we do not recommend laser cutting vinyl records. Also, laser cutting will affect the playback quality of the record.
Is laser marking vinyl safe?
No, vinyl is not safe for laser marking. Although some argue that vinyl is safe for laser marking because it does not involve material vaporization. However, laser marking usually involves the melting and solidification of the material, which produces relatively fewer fumes than the vaporization of vinyl. However, the fumes produced during the melting of vinyl are equally toxic.
Laser cut vinyl can harm you, your machine, and those around you if not handled properly. We strongly recommend using only laser safe vinyl to avoid the serious effects of this process. Another way to reduce the risks of using laser cut vinyl is to take the necessary safety precautions. For example, use personal protective equipment or operate in a well-ventilated environment.
Don't try to answer the question, "Can you cut vinyl with a laser cutter? A better option is to use a blade cutter.