Cutting boxes with printing on it

Just curious if I need to be concerned with cutting used cardboard with printed stuff on it? (eg moving boxes, amazon boxes etc.)


Personally, I vote no. Its just not that much glue/sticker. But thats just my gut feel. I have no major experience with it.


No issues with cutting shipping boxes. I guess there’s a remote chance that the inks have some bad emissions when burned but the likelihood is extraordinarily remote and there is no way to find out without test lab access and there’s no reason for the box maker or shipper to do that.

Considering the extremely limited amount of it that you’re actually burning I’d be more worried about tripping on the stairs on the way to the laser. (Trips & falls are now the leading cause of accidental death and 4th leading cause overall - in the US anyway.)


That’s good news. :slight_smile: I kinda figured that was the case but just wanted to double check!!


Good point with the glue. I’ll just avoid those areas of the boxes!! :slight_smile:

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Surplus cardboard boxes are the test loads of laser cutters. I try to always run new designs on cardboard (low power, high speed) to make sure I’ve closed all my engraves and size & position are all good. Then one on the target material for power/speed testing and finally the real thing. Amazon is very helpful in supplying raw materials😃


Just be aware of how many different types of cardboard exist. Some will laser flawlessly. Some could even be used as your end-product. Some burst into fire upon glancing at your laser.

The only real “Will this be a bad choice?” instance would be putting cardboard which has been soaked in an unknown fluid into your unit. Happen to combine the type of cardboard that loves to set on fire with a long soak in oil, and you have a major issue. Or just happen to pick up cardboard which was previously sitting in a vat of chicken goo, and you may want to evacuate your shop for the next week.

But the ink, glue, and tape? No worries there.


Funny thing…Ive been laser cutting for some time now ,16 years, and I just cut my first piece of corregated cardboard the other day. I use mat board to cut jigs for object placement though.
BTW the cardboard I cut smelled aweful…it was only a small 3"x4" rectangle, but it was from a box from china so probably had yucky stuff in it…lmao


Can’t even make good cardboard eh? :grinning:

I get so much stuff from online ordering that cardboard is essentially free and that makes it perfect for testing. Mat board is crazy expensive here. Don’t know why. MDF is cheaper.


Well if it was from China must have had lead. They love lead in their stuff.


I’ve been using Amazon boxes. I remove all stickers (those shipping labels have bpa on them). The only drawback is the smell. I’m not kidding. It smells bad to cut. Makes me feel grimy in the process, and the scent lingers on the material for days. But oh what fun to take trash and make treasure that people line up to buy.


Isn’t the risk with used boxes you accidentally hit the trace and cut button and have a bunch of smile shaped holes?


Thanks for asking this question. I have been collecting and amassing a large amount of cardboard to use for prototyping already! :wink: