Does anyone know what this material is?

I was just watching a video and they cut (with a laser) this plaque. Anyone know what it is? He says its plastic. I’m in love with the finish!

At the 19:55 mark:

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He says its an “aluminized metal”. Looks kind of like the Aluminum-look acrylics from several suppliers. Could be thin steel with a painted or anodized aluminum color.
I posted a photo of some sample material I got (here: Where to get good materials for laser projects?) that was not aluminized metal, but metal-look poly products, some of which came with adhesive on the back all ready. More similar products on inventables✓&selected_filters[Effect][]=Metallic

I am wondering if the ‘it’s plastic’ comment may have been referring to the maze model rather than the plaque, so it might also be AlumaMark, Laserbits has a lot of tags etc. which may have adhesive backs already, but none are available that are as big as the one they were printing out there, so if it was this stuff, they have a different supplier or cut it out of a larger sheet (available in 12x20 at the link below…) and used two-sided tape to affix it.

Looks like one of Rowmark’s materials. Same sort of material they used for the rocket ship party invites in the Glowforge video. And if I was really guessing from the laserlights line and self adhesive.

“This is an aluminized finished metal, made for plaques like this”

From the other guy

“And this is just plastic”

At first I was with BDT… thought that he meant the maze. But other parts in the video show it is a plywood assembly.

The initial engrave sure looks like Cermark. And the way that the plaque curls up as it cuts free VERY much looks like it was a roll of aluminum sheet.

I wish I knew the power of the laser they used, could guess better if it is actual metal.

I’m pretty sure that it’s a plastic and the “This is an aluminized finish metal, made for plaques like this” was a nod to what the original plaque that he’s recreating was and this is just meant to look like it.

I thought this was his laser but I think it’s different now that I look at it.

Just glanced through Rowmark and AlumaMark’s website. Based on them, I would tend more towards thinking that it is AlumaMark, being a thin and curly, metal based product, rather than the plastic-based Rowmark.

from AlumaMark’s website:
“the only CO2 laser markable material that produces photo-quality images on real metal without etching, engraving, or adding chemicals.”

“Sheet Sizes 10″ x 12″ | 12″ x 20″ | 20″ x 24″
Sheet Thickness .005″ | .020″
Adhesive Backed Available with or without 3M 467 adhesive.”

Wow, each time I try to find out about something interesting that someone else has asked about, I just keep getting pointed towards more and more possible materials, techniques, projects. Is this “A” or “B”. I don’t know, but now I am aware of “A”, “B”, and also “C through M”


Haha, I feel you dude. Its an exciting learning experience though!!

yup. And now I have a sample pack pending from AlumaMark.

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Reading elsewhere, while we can make pretty designs on AlumaMark, the Forge will not be able to actually cut it. A 60W laser can, but not a 40. And the 60W ran at full power and a crawling slow speed. So it is unlikely that a 45W pro will be able to cut either.

if Adam was cutting it on the machine in @JeremyNielsen 's second video, he says it is a trotec speedy 300, but not whether it is the CO2, the fiber, or the combo version. I’m not knowledgeable enough about lasers to know if you can tell by looking at the video. If it is the CO2 version, thats 120W max, if it is the FIber Version, thats 50W max.

I have no delusions that my 45W CO2 will be able to CUT this stuff, but the question was just what is the material… And we won’t really know that unless someone calls Adam.

I do hope that my 'Forge will be able to mark it, however. Is your current laser adjustable power? Maybe you can order a sample pack from them and test it on your laser at 40W, see how it marks. I… don’t have a laser yet.

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I can set percent powers. But I am not sure if that results in modulation with a PWM (so runs at 60W for a fraction of the time), or an actual reduction in power with a continual beam. I will have to play with things (or look at the setup) to sort that out. If it does throttle power, then 75% power is a 45W equivalent.

I should run around asking for sample packs. Sounds like a great way to have fun and test random materials. At present I mostly use leftover cardboard and the occasional piece of scrap from the local building supply store.

[quote=“jacobturner, post:12, topic:783”]
I can set percent powers. But I am not sure if that results in modulation with a PWM (so runs at 60W for a fraction of the time), or an actual reduction in power with a continual beam.
[/quote] Gotcha.

Yes. Sample packs, especially from larger manufacturers, can be awesome. Sometimes its just a tiny little bit of something, other times it is an entire usable (roll, bucket, sheet, box full of) product. A little while ago I asked 3M for samples of two vinyl-wrap products. They sent me three 8"x10" sheets of one of the products, and a 48"-wide ten-yard long roll of the other. :sunglasses:

Glowforge team or anyone who does the forums, can someone facilitated communication with Adam, Will or Norm and get the specs on laser and materials? Lots of enthusiasm for this video.
I contacted two leather suppliers yesterday and requested samples. Got some good feedback from them about what I might want to do with a 40 watt CO2 laser. Will post when I receive them.


Alright, my system uses a PWM like I was remembering. But the laser tube is a DC system, so that means it does run continuously, rather than pulse. So setting mine to 75% should be exactly like running the 45W pro forge (and 66.7% would be the basic 40W).

I will reach out to AlumaMark tomorrow to request a sample and see what I can do to it. (and bring in some aluminum foil to see if I can accidentally destroy my laser or eyes right now)

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What exactly is the question? Which material that was? I’m pretty sure it’s this:

which I think Zach gets from Rowmark.


Looks like a winner. Makes sense the guy who actually has been on Tested would have insider info :stuck_out_tongue:

Still fascinated with the AlumaMark stuff, but it looks like people have a solid answer for what to use with the Forge.

Also interested in the Inventables site more than ever now. They have suggestions for laser settings on the material page, but no information there on what kind of laser it is meant for.

This page indicates a 40W laser is what they are considering. But gives absolutely no units for the speed. I will assume that it is in percent speed, but without knowing what that speed is in mm/min or any other units… there is no way to translate the speeds directly to the GlowForge settings. Still, the power is a good place to start from.

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Thanks @dan and everyone else! Looks like we have an answer! I’m definitely going to buy a sheet or two!

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Looking forward to seeing that post, @marmak3261!

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erm… please don’t hurt yourself!