Cutting 3M VHB double face tape

doublesidedtape

#1

Hello everyone,
I have not had much time to play with my 'forge yet, but now I have something to try beyond the Founders ruler. I need to cut some 1/32" thick double faced tape. The product is 3M brand VHB tape, and I have been assured by the supplier that it can be safely laser cut. It has liner paper on both sides
Does someone out there have some starting settings for me try?

Gerald


#2

New one to me, but low and slow (ie not top speed) will probably get you best results.

1/32" is really thin. I would probably do something like 200/15 and see how it does. If it doesn’t get you the results you want, I’d adjust the power up or down until you get what you want. 15 is probably conservative, but I’d be trying to find the lowest power setting that cuts reliably.

It’s a new material so watch it carefully for flames. No idea how likely it would be to flare up.

I know the general advice is “hot and fast” for most materials, but for thin plasticky things, I would recommend slower speeds to avoid corner overburn as much as possible. Faster speeds require more acceleration/deceleration and so you see more effects from it.


#3

Thanks for starting numbers . The item I want to cut is two circular cuts to make a “washer” from the tape so it should be less challenging in the corner department anyways. I’ll give it a try and post my results.


#4

With circles, you get a spot of overburn at beginning and end which may or may not cause a problem for you. There has been some work done to removee those with paper using engraves and with other materials using lead-in/out easing.

Here’s a discussion about it with acrylic:

and
https://community.glowforge.com/t/laser-cut-printer-paper-using-engrave/10038

Where was that recent lead in path post. Hmm. I dunno, I can’t find it. Basically you have your path curl up and away from the circle, so the laser doesn’t slow down .


#5

The 3M vhb tape that I have has a plastic liner that I would hesitate to put in the Glowforge without knowing what it is made of.


#6

The OP was assured by the vendor it was safe to laser cut. If he can’t rely on that he can’t rely on any data source short of personal spectrometry :slightly_smiling_face:


#7

Go big or go home:

https://www.terahertzstore.com/store/products/terahertz-spectrometers/terahertz-fiber-coupled-spectrometer-at-1550-nm-rigel-1550.htm?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIis6tmuTG2wIVDFcMCh1syQNwEAkYBCABEgKm2fD_BwE

Heck at that price, get two.


#8

LOL - I clicked the link because of that comment. I thought I might end up with a spectrometer (kind of like when someone recently posted a link to a CNC plasma cutter :smile: ). My wife doesn’t have to worry about yet another hobby.


#9

I didn’t tell the OP not to use their product, just relating my position on a potentially similar product. 3M has more than one flavor of VHB.

Vendor saying it’s safe is not the same as manufacturer saying it’s safe, and 3M certainly makes safe adhesives, such as the stuff on the proofgrade veneer which has a paper liner. The VHB I have has a plastic liner. OP said paper liner. I could very well have a different product than the OP. Or they could be getting poor info from a less than scrupulous vendor, or a vendor who misunderstands how the product will be used. Language/translation issues can even occur; a few days ago I had a trucker asking for “Words from Colored Radium Sticking Paper”… what I would call Vinyl Lettering.


#10

Found this link here: https://www.ulsinc.com/materials/3m-vhb-adhesive


#11

So how did it go?


#12

Just cut my first piece. I used 200/15 for test #1. It only cut through the first layer of liner. Bumped it to 200/30 and it just about went through. Third time is a charm @ 200/35. Cuts beautifully!!! Little bit of smoke, no drama. I will never cut with a knife again - soooo archaic Thanks to everyone who replied.


#13

Talk about falling down a rabbit hole… :slight_smile:

VHB uses DK or PCK paper - release paper we already know from our proofgrade materials - Densified Kraft or Poly Coated Kraft - which typically uses silicone, and of course a poly layer (see below) in PCK. In some applications, it might have poly on both sides, which is why you can’t write on some non-proofgrade masking with a regular pen.

They also use Polyester and PET ( polyethylene terephthalate) film, which is the plastic jvb referred to above. Interesting they differentiate because PET is a type of Polyester, and typically what is meant. Those too are laser-safe.

Mylar is just DuPonts branding for Polyester film. Did not know that!


#14

Yeah my 200/15 was a tad conservative :wink: I figured. Awesome, now I kind of want to try some of this stuff. What are you using it for? Gaskets or something?

I am trying really hard to hold to my “no new materials unless I have a reason” rule. It was getting out of hand. So… uh… give me a reason :slight_smile:


#15

Obviously not the OP, but I’ll be making custom badges/lettering for cars, VHB is used to mount them (also on most OEM badges). Cutting with the forge will be quick and easy.


#16

The use for the tape is for mounting a flange bushing, The part is effectively a “washer” cut from tape.