I’ve seen lots of lists of things that can be lasered – either cut or engraved. But is there a list of things that you should never try to laser because it will damage the device?
So far, I’ve found:
PVC plastics: releases poisonous and corrosive gasses. (If it doesn’t kill you or give you cancer, it’ll cut the life of your GF.)
Hard drive platters: they reflect the CO2 laser and will damage the device. (There’s actually a couple of different drive platters. The very reflective silver ones cut easily with a drill and saw, but reflect the laser. The really old amber platters found in old/large drives use glass and should be fine to engrave.)
Anything else? And if my list is wrong, please correct me!
Things that I don’t know about:
Coins: Can I etch/engrave coins? (Can I give George Washington a mustache on the US quarter?) Can I cut through the copper jacket of a penny to the white zinc inside? Or do coins reflect the laser and cause damage?
Aluminum cans (or metal cut from aluminum cans): I think the painted cans (coke, sprite) should etch like anodized aluminum.
Big steel plate: I’ve got a big, thin steel plate. I usually use it for soldering (so hot melt doesn’t hit the workbench.) If it doesn’t hurt the laser, then I want to use it as a base-plate when cutting without the crumbtray. (But if it could hurt the laser, then it’s a bad idea.)
Alternate base-plate idea: hard drive cases from dismantled hard drives. (I think they are aluminum since they are not magnetic.) Again, if it doesn’t reflect the laser, then it should make a good base plate.
Is there any easy test for determining whether a new material will reflect the laser?