Can the GF safely cut styrene?

qa

#1

I thought I read somewhere that said no. It contains chlorine, but upon further review, styrene doesn’t contain chlorine…so can the GF safely cut it?


#2

Safety comes in many forms. Styrene won’t release chlorine, but it might melt and catch fire.
There is a good link to a chart in this thread http://community.glowforge.com/t/material-safety-and-usage-cheat-sheet/652
It relates information gained from direct experience in a makerspace.


#3

Perfect. As I’ve read other places, it’s all about lowest power to get through, and speed. This is excellent news as a prop builder…this made my day.


#4

I wouldn’t recomend it actually when styrene burns it releases:

Benzene Gas

Benzene, a highly carcinogenic substance, is the prime ingredient in styrofoam. Benzene gas is released by burning styrofoam.

Styrene Gas

Burning polystyrene foam releases toxic styrene gas, which is readily absorbed through the skin, respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract and can cause deep unconsciousness and death. Also, the vapor can damage the eyes and mucous membranes.

I personally am not touching the stuff


#5

I’ve skipped the filter, and will be using a 435cfm squirrel cage inline to exhaust outdoors. I’m not worried in the least.


#6

Benzene is REALLY flammable (no idea on styrene). Aromatic hydrocarbons, other than causing leukemia, can be explosive if you aren’t careful (remember it is added to gasoline to make it burn better by increasing the octane rating). They are also powerful solvents for plastics (like the case of the GF and many internal components). Your fan alone could spark and set it off…


#7

People have been laser cutting hips forever it seems. My main concern was the equipment, as someone once told me it contained chlorine, but I may have confused that with a conversation regarding sintra.


#8

@willcfc Yes, sintra is the one that has the chlorine. Sintra is just expanded PVC board.

BTW, an inline squirrel cage can be dangerous. See the post Glowforge hooked up to Exterior Dust Collector and my sketch on how to prevent fumes from leaving the squirrel cage housing. I thought I would have no exhaust problems with an inline squirrel cage fan, and quickly learned otherwise!


#9

After seeing this model - http://m.imgur.com/gallery/iXo7o I’ve done some digging, looks like sheet styrene (at least the thin (1-2mm) should be ok? It would make doing an R2 so much easier than hand cutting!

T

One source - http://atxhackerspace.org/wiki/Laser_Cutter_Materials