Hey! I’m pretty new to Glowforge and wanted to make glitter cake toppers, the manufacturer of my glitter card stock says its made from paper board, PET glitter and is acid free and eco-friendly… The glitter is non-shed and doesn’t flake at all, does anyone know if this would damage my machine or release dangerous fumes? Thanks in advance!
Welcome to the forum.
I think you are safe to cut glitter cardstock.
PET is basically polyester in sheet form instead of thread form. I can’t say how well it may or may not cut, but unless it catches fire, it’s not going to hurt your machine.
Thank you so much!!!
Sorry just had another question, I been reading up online before that PET or PETE releases cyanide gas. Do you know if that’s true for this? Thanks in advance!!
Respond with some pointers to the references?
PET is (C10H8O4). Hydrogen Cyanide gas is HCN. PET has H and C, but it does not contain Nitrogen. But I’m not enough of a chemist to say if it will combine with Nitrogen in the air to form HCN when it burns. I’m guessing the answer might be “yes, it can” given your comment above. But HCN is itself very flammable, so if it’s being produced by a fire it’s probably also being consumed by that fire.
That being said, there’s very little you can run through a laser cutter that doesn’t produce fumes that are very unhealthy to breath. And there are many other commonly lased materials that can produce HCN when burned, like cotton and many synthetic rubbers.
If your laser cutter is properly vented outside, and the smoke isn’t blowing in to the window of your neighbor’s house, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Thank you so much! I bought a AC infinity fan to attach to my Glowforge as an added precaution and to turn off the built in fan cause of how loud it was. I might just turn both of them on when cutting the glitter cardstock unless that some how reduces the effectiveness of one of the fans. Just a question about the smoke, I have never seen smoke coming out of my exhaust vent but see dust inside it, does that mean that my fan isn’t strong enough to push these out? OR does it is just normal and the smoke exhausted is so little its barely noticeable? For example I rarely use MDF because it produces so much smoke and I heard it produces a lot of dust, would the smoke be more noticeable if I was to use these kinds of materials? Thank you so much, you don’t understand how much for relieving it is getting responses like yours which actually make soo much sense!!
Turning on both fans is actually going to work against you. The best solution is a fan at the far end of the exhaust tube, sucking the smoke out of the machine. In that configuration the entire length of the exhaust tube is at a lower pressure than the outside air, so if it has a leak, outside air is drawn in. If you push smoke from the machine end of the tube, the tube is at higher than ambient pressure and if it has a leak, smoke leaks out.
Leave the internal fan off. If you can manage it, put the entire auxiliary fan outside. These fans can leak around seams and holes in the fan housing, and in so doing pump a little smoke in to the interior space.
I use an auxiliary fan, but it’s inside, about 3" away from the duct that goes through the wall. I had to take it apart and caulk the crap out of all the seams and holes to keep it from leaking smoke. It worked better than the internal fan, which is why I went with it instead. But I wanted it to be as close to perfect as possible, and OCD’d my way through a thorough sealing job.
The machine doesn’t generate huge gouts of smoke. If it did, it’d be burning and not cutting. So I wouldn’t expect to see a thick fog coming out the exhaust. You can watch the smoke being drawn out of the machine through the top cover during a cut. If it’s not flowing smoothly towards the left rear corner, then there’s something amiss. But whether or not you see anything coming out the pipe is of no consequence. You’d know it if the machine wasn’t venting.
MDF does produce a lot of dust. Though I’d describe it as “fluff” almost. It builds up on the fan blades, though. It does not produce all that much smoke, at least not in my experience.
Foam (Stryo type, various compositions)
Acrylic (both Proofgrade and 3rd party)
Plywoods (both Proofgrade and 3rd party)
MDF (both Proofgrade and 3rd party)
And a bunch of Aluminum engraving
None produce significant amounts of smoke. Engraving Aluminum produces none that’s detectable. Delrin produces a vapor that combusts, so it makes dull “popping” noises when you do a cut. Acrylic doesn’t produce a lot of visible smoke, but it’s very, very stinky. Woods produce the most smoke, because they’re wood after all, but it’s still not that much. The wood tends to smell the best when you cut it, for obvious reasons.
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