The Complete Laser Cutting Materials List

The Complete Laser Cutting Materials List

Do you know your laser cutting machine? When choosing a laser cutting machine, we select the model that can cut our materials. It can cut your common materials and many materials you need to become more familiar with. Next, let's take gweikecloud pro as an example and list Laser Cutting Materials materials.

In this article

  1. List of Laser Cutting Materials
  2. Which materials are suitable for cutting with the machine
  3. Conclusion

Laser cutting material list

You may feel at a loss when you are new to laser cutting, so what materials can we cut with a laser? How to set the parameters when cutting different materials? Here is a list of laser cutting materials.

Wooden material

Wooden material

Wood is one of the most commonly used cutting materials. Almost all cutting machines can cut & engrave wooden material, a relatively inexpensive material for engraving. Also, the requirements for laser engraving machines are low. Diode cutters with power greater than 10W can easily cut wood. The wood includes cypress, elm, rubberwood, oak, walnut, basswood, cherry, pine, etc.

*Significant smoke is generated when cutting hardwood materials (walnut, oak, cherry, etc.).

The most suitable woods for laser cutting

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Hardwood Suitable for carving high contrast carvings 10mm
Cork Suitable for cutting 10mm

Acrylic 

 Acrylic

Acrylic is a type of plastic and is also one of the most suitable Laser Cutting Materials. Because it does not produce toxic gas during the cutting process, and the cutting edge is smooth.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Acrylic Suitable for cutting, smooth cutting edge 8 mm

This material is rarely produced during the engraving process Plastics are synthetic materials and come in various types that behave differently under laser treatment.
While some plastics produce flame-polished edges when cut with a laser, others produce toxic fumes or can cause fires.
Acrylic is the most suitable plastic for laser cutting and engraving applications.

Plastics

 Plastics

Plastics may produce toxic fumes during the cutting process and may melt during the cutting process due to high-temperature edges. So it is difficult to cut plastic, and we need to set the cutting parameters. If bite melting occurs, reducing the focus parameter and increasing the speed is recommended.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Polyethylene Produces toxic gases 8 mm
Polypropylene Difficult to operate, need to control the engraving parameters 8 mm
High density polyethylene Cannot be cut, melts easily and catches fire
Fluoropolymers Good cutting effect 8 mm
Polycarbonate Generates a lot of smoke when cutting 8 mm
Polyimide Unsuitable for cutting

* Avoid engraving polyethylene plastic (it may produce large amounts of toxic gases during the cutting process). 

Delrin/Aci plastic

Delrin/Aci plastic

This is a high-strength engineering plastic that has excellent performance in many areas. It is used frequently in many automotive and industrial fields. It is also Laser Cutting Material that is very good for engraving, which is excellent. And you can make reliefs on this material to give 3D effects.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Delrin/Aci plastic Produce formaldehyde and other toxic gases, easy to catch fire 8 mm

Melamine

 Melamine

This is a high-strength engineering plastic that has an excellent performance in many areas. It is used frequently in many automotive and industrial fields. It is also Laser Cutting Material that is very good for engraving, which is excellent. And you can make reliefs on this material to give 3D effects.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Melamine Easy to cut, but easy to produce harmful gases 6 mm

MDF

 MDF

Many home decoration cabinets and flooring currently use MDF, an alternative to wood panels. It mainly uses glue to stick wood chips together and then extrudes them to make the desired panels. In contrast, MDF can increase the weight-bearing and durability of the panels and is easy to cut. However, its disadvantage is that the heat during the cutting process will release harmful gases such as formaldehyde. So it must be well protected during the cutting process.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
MDF Easy to cut, but easy to produce harmful gases 6 mm

Mylar

 Mylar

Mylar is a translucent, soft film chosen for many table mats. It does not contain any plasticizers, so there are no toxic fumes during the cutting process. Overall, it is a good laser cutting material.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Mylar Suitable for cutting 5 mm

Rubber

 Rubber

Rubber is non-slip and waterproof, and resistant to wear and tear, so it is used in gloves or rainproof shoes. The material generally comes from the sap of rubber trees and is non-toxic. However, when the temperature exceeds 200°C, the rubber starts to melt, so great care is needed during the cutting process.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Rubber Beware of melting 5 mm

Paper

 Paper

Our usual boxes, greeting cards, etc., are all paper. Paper is characterized by the tendency to catch fire or burn at the cutting edge. We can reduce edge scorching by applying a protective film to the paper or adjusting the cutting parameters.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Paper Easy edge burn 20 mm

*Corrugated paper is recommended to be cut with a higher power machine

Pressboard 

 Pressboard

Pressboard is more similar to MDF. The extrusion of wood chips glues together MDF. Pressboard is held together by the extrusion of a small piece of wood. The biggest difference between the two is that Pressboard does not produce toxic gas during the cutting process, and the operation process is safer.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Pressboard Smooth cutting surface, suitable for cutting 20 mm

Fabric

 Fabric

We can engrave our unique logo on our fabric, but it is important to note that it may generate a lot of smoke during engraving.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Fabric Tend to produce a lot of smoke 17 mm

Leather

 Leather

You can make all kinds of leather products, such as wallets and belts, and it is easy to make intricate engravings on leather using the laser cutter. You can practice on cheap fabrics first and then cut expensive leather.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Leather Suitable for cutting 10 mm

*Engraving synthetic leather with vinyl content is not recommended because toxic fumes may be released during the cutting process.

Matte Board

 Matte Board

Matte Boards are most commonly used for photo backs, and we can save time and cost by using a laser cutter to cut them ourselves.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Leather Suitable for cutting 10 mm

Fiberglass

 Fiberglass

Fiberglass is not recommended for engraving because of the carbonization on the surface during the engraving process. However, the cutting process has less impact and is a widely used Laser Cutting Material.

Type Features Cut Thickness(max)
Fiberglass Suitable for cutting 10 mm

Food 

 Food

You read it right. This is also a very common Laser Cutting Material. We have Halloween pumpkin lights, chocolate, bread, and other food above the logo. We can choose to use laser engraving. For specific engraving, ingredients can consult our engineers, and they will give you professional answers.

Material not suitable for Laser Cutting?

The above Laser Cutting Material may not cut well, but there is no doubt that they can all be laser cutting. For co2 laser cutting machines, many materials cannot be Laser Cutting. The following materials we absolutely can not try.

PVC

The first material we should never laser cut is PVC because this material will produce chlorine gas during the cutting process, and contact with this gas will cause serious damage to our skin, eyes, and other organs. When the concentration reaches a certain level, it will cause pneumonia. Therefore, we are determined only to cut PVC with absolute safety protection.

ABS

When the material is cut by laser, toxic gas will be produced and can cause death. Therefore, we should never try to cut ABS.

HDPE

The melting point of HDPE is very low, so it is very easy to melt and stick to the laser head during the cutting process, and the higher temperature will also cause a fire. Cutting HDPE damages the machine and can even cause a fire, so using this laser cutting material is not recommended.

Polycarbonate

The laser beam of co2 does not work on this material, so cutting this material can not use a laser cutting machine.

Part of the foam

For our fragile or valuable items, courier companies will use foam boxes to protect them. But we must pay attention to the PS and PP material foam. We firmly do not use laser cutting. Because their melting point is extremely low, a contact beam will melt instantly. And adhering to the honeycomb plate or laser head is difficult to clean.

Coated carbon fiber

If the carbon fiber has a coating, then its coating will release various toxic fumes. These fumes are very harmful and can cause respiratory diseases.

Epoxy

Epoxy is very flammable and produces toxic fumes during the cutting process.

How to choose the right cutting value for laser cutting material

To avoid burn marks or other problems with laser cutting material, you have to set a suitable engraving parameter. If the power is too high, it will burn the material. If the power is too low, it will not be cut through.

However, gweikecloud can auto-focus, automatically identify the material and its thickness and then recommend the right parameters for cutting that material. This can help you save a large part of your energy. Of course, the parameters recommended by the machine are not 100% optimal. How to set the specific needs of our practice?

Conclusion

This article will help you confidently choose your engraving material. And easily choose the right engraving parameters. If you have more questions, please join our Facebook group and discuss with our engineers and other laser engraving enthusiasts!

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