Any hints on rubber?

I’m trying to post in Glowforge Tips and Tricks but can’t figure how to get there. Wondering if anyone has any tips or insight on lasing rubber. I’ve got - let’s say its .325" thick sheet of black rubber, and I want to lase it - inscribe or engrave. Ive tested it, and it works, and the image is good and all that. The problem is, when the laser hits the rubber it liquifies it to a kind of sticky/mastic substance. The question is: does the rubber air-dry/ ‘cure’/ reset on its own, or will it stay sticky forever? I know, there’s “all kinds of rubber” but what I’m talking about is like basically non-fibrous gasket material… any hints on how to make this reset, or how long this will take to re-cure?

Oh the Tips and Tricks section is limited to tutorials, so that’s why you can’t post there.

For something like rubber, any information on it would be located in the Beyond the Manual section, and that’s the only place we’re supposed to post settings information, so I’ll shift your post there for you. (I’ve never worked with rubber, but there are other folks here who have…they might be able to give you suggestions there.) :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you.

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No prob! Couple of links to look through while waiting…

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I updated my settings a teensy bit since that post AGES ago - a link to the updated bit

hope that it’s helpful and good luck


Hm. That hasn’t been my experience lasering rubber. I have tried both the pink “plain” rubber and the gray “low odor” rubber. In both cases, the laser reduces the lased parts to a fine, awful-smelling dust, which the Glowforge fans distribute all over the inside of your machine. The engraved pieces have never exhibited any tackiness that I have noticed.

Are you using the Buna-N “rubber?” That’s some sort of a synthetic for specialty industrial applications. I haven’t messed with it. The manufacturer might be able to tell you something more.

I have scored 1/8" Buna-N about 1/2 to 2/3 the way through. I was not able to cut all the way through without charring. I was then able to use a razor knife to cut all the remaining material and the knife was guided by the cut and I think that the material underneath the cut was weakened. Watch the process carefully as there is a substantial flame produced that is blown horizontal by the air assist. I think that the carbon black in Buna-N ignites when released from the material. I was cutting gasket rings so the cut line was not complex, but the result was much better than could be achieved by a razor knife alone.

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Thank you everyone for the dialogue, suggestions, and attempts to help. What I was doing was: you know those heavy-duty protective cases you get for phones/ iPads - they usually come wrapped in a thick (.125") flexible black rubber. I was trying to lase ID information into them; the laser was ‘reactivating’ the rubber. The image was there, and was good, but the rubber was sticky. My concern was if it would always remain sticky or would eventually air dry/ cure. Turns out, after leaving it overnight, when I returned this morning, the stickiness was gone, the image was fixed, and all is now as I’d hoped it would be. So the answer to this question turned out to be: just let it air dry for a while. Thanks again for suggestions and help.


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Also, BTW, I was using a the engrave setting, speed at approx. 500, and power at approx. 60% (on a .125" material thickness). No fires, no sparking…

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I am glad you got the desired result.

However, you might want to use some caution in cutting and engraving materials of unknown composition in your Glowforge. Combustion products of many synthetic substances can be toxic or damaging to your equipment (and possibly. warranty-voiding).

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