Cutting plastics

Hey was just wondering if you are able to cut polymer and or pla which is a basic plastic used in a 3d printer

Polymer is a generic description of plastic. PLA is really not a basic plastic, it is a bio-sourced thermoplastic. 3D printing formulations of PLA may have additional additives to provide various properties important for 3D printing. While you can cut it, and do so safely from what I have heard, I haven’t done it personally.

I suggest you use the search function here on the forum to see if anyone else has. If you can’t find anything, you will need to expand your search to the internet to see if anyone has any information on cutting PLA and the other polymers you are interested in.

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This :slight_smile:"%20PLA%20" to start - lots of posts!


There are a wide variety of materials that are laser compatible, including many (but not all) woods, plastics, leathers, and papers. Like a microwave, though, you have to be careful what you put inside. Using the wrong materials can cause damage to your Glowforge or harm to you or others. You can read about materials safety in our manual at

To make it simple, we created the Proofgrade line of laser-compatible materials. They’re extensively tested for safety and print beautifully every time. You can see them here:

If you’d like to print on materials from another source, you can use any material you like as long as it’s compatible with a CO2 laser. Unfortunately, we can’t offer specific advice on particular materials provided by other vendors. You can contact the manufacturer or consult an expert to determine if a material is compatible with the CO2 laser inside the Glowforge unit.

As @ben1 & @deirdrebeth mentioned, our community is also full of information about materials and settings. Check out the link that @deirdrebeth posted above.

Note that advice provided by other Glowforge users is unsupported and is not reviewed for accuracy by Glowforge.

I’m going to close this thread. If you have further questions, please feel free to post again!