Any chance we can make a "Definitely NOT Laser-able" thread?

Any way we could get a sticky thread on materials that are known “no no’s” in the laser world? Im sure there are tons of individual threads but I was hoping there could be one thread that is updated with a list of things that are unsafe to laser. I have experience with CNC’s and 3d printers but never a laser cutter. So someone like me would find it useful to have a place to go and check if something is safe to throw in the ole glowforge.
This may already exist without my knowledge. If it does, my apologies.


You should just start the thread and people will donate!
I vote for PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) as worst offender.


absolutely, especially because it’s in soooooo many things. vinyl is everywhere.


Perhaps it should be “not laserable with a GlowForge”. I suspect even PVC can be lasered if you had a vacuum extraction system that kept the fumes away from metal parts.

An there is probably a class of materials you could laser on a GF with outside ventilation but not with the filter.


no, i prefer pushing the message it shouldn’t ever be lasered period lest you get someone trying to add extra fume extraction; besides starting a discussion of safety things like that is a good way to get a thread locked here


I think most folks will understand that from context, but feel free to edit the thread title (you can do that as a regular).

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I agree with @jkopel. It may or may not get shutdown, though. They don’t want us speculating about safety. But this wouldn’t be speculation, per say.

Start the thread then make it a wiki. Click on the wrench then click “Make Wiki”.

Per the forum FAQs.

Stay Away from Safety Speculation

Our Friendly Neighborhood Lawyer pointed out that since we moderate this board, someone might think that safety advice that people post here actually comes from us. We want to make sure people operate with correct safety information.

For that reason, please use the manual that comes with your Glowforge as your resource for safety information. Please don’t opine on safety matters in the forum. If you have safety questions, check your manual, or email customer support.


@joe , I think the @sameolegrind would need to be a regular to make a wiki thread.
Maybe if they decide to actually start the thread we can wikify it?


i went ahead and made a post here. it’s been wiki-fied, so feel free to go and nominate vinyl. :v

Score! Thanks for making it. I think it would be helpful for a lot of people like me.


Thanks. Hopefully it is something that stays up. I understand the caution, but some materials seem to be almost universally recognized as “bad to laser”. Seems like it would at least be ok to post those.


Sorry, I did not do the wiki thing, but it looks like your entry is actually more helpful then mine anyway.

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i’m just adding posts everyone else makes - i update it as people add materials; haven’t added stuff til you suggested it.

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There are a lot of things that you shouldn’t laser because of health hazards, but PVC has both the health thing going for it (won’t discuss the safety angle) and creates an acid that corrodes the laser itself. You should see my brother’s work laser. It looks like somebody dipped it in a salt bath for a month. Lots of rust and corrosion.


I have been reading that PVC is bad for the laser itself but thanks for the vivid image of what that really means.


Kittens. Never laser a kitten.

It’s not big and it’s not clever!


Ive seen no evidence to suggest that kitten fumes will be harmful to me or my laser… lol


also yourself, even when here in the forum there is a video is a video of a cool laser tattoo. :sweat_smile:

Yes but as I said if you have vacuum extraction to take away the fumes before they can hit the metal parts of your machine, or poison you, then PVC can be laser cut. Specialist commercial machine do cut it.

So yes, don’t cut on on a Glowforge, but not correct to describe it as “definitely not laser-able”.

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Can probably can add “small children and pets - NOT safe to laser” :tiger2::fearful::hedgie::dog2: