I’d like to create some wall hangings out of old records. Is it safe to laser cut them without melting?
Nope. Never cut vinyl in your laser. Never. It destroys the machine and your lungs.
How about old CDs? DVDs?
Those are not made of vinyl, so ok. Take a look at this for information regarding materials: http://atxhackerspace.org/wiki/Laser_Cutter_Materials#NEVER_CUT_THESE_MATERIALS
Thanks, I’ll print this out.
Keep in mind, a laser on a CD could easily damage the CD rendering it unreadable.
Just an FYI, but when you have questions like these, a quick search might give you all the answers you need. And, in some cases, some cool examples of what has been done… like people creating their own “records” on acrylic.
They’re not dangerous, but I have a box full of them and periodically pull some out to try to find working settings. So far I haven’t had any luck. The few somewhat clean-ish cutouts I’ve managed have been too brittle to be viable for much of anything, and there don’t seem to be any settings that work reliably from one piece to the next.
Thanks, @dklgood, that’s right. While you can use many types of plastics in your Glowforge, unfortunately, vinyl isn’t laser-compatible. When cut or engraved, vinyl can release gases that are hazardous to people and can cause damage to your Glowforge.