Handy chart for Laser Processing Plastics

Ran across this today on Synrad’s site while trying to find info on laser cutting cast polyurethane items… been trying to find actual acrylic (PMMA) resins that I can cast so I know exactly what to expect once i put a laser on it, but no luck thus far, other than needing to go high volume order directly from Lucite.

Anyway, thought this would be handy…

Edited for new link: http://synrad.com/synrad/docroot/sites/default/files/2017-06/Technical%20Application%20Article%20Laser%20Processing%20Guide%20Plastics_0.pdf


That information will be beside my machine in a few weeks. Thanks


Thank you for this.

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You’re welcome!

I think it’s interesting they mention PVC and not to cut it, but they show how excellently it’s engraved.

My older Universal laser manual lists the cut settings for sign vinyl…Lol


Probably because those are only 2-5 thousandths of an inch thick so the actual amount is pretty small. Guess at the time they figured it wasn’t that big a deal. :slight_smile:

But hey, not too long ago people drank water full of radium for health benefits, sooooo… :slight_smile:


haha. people still do use lasers to cut vinyl, but many of them accept that it means you’re going to be replacing crap in a few months (i’m surprised it’s worthwhile with all the great vinyl cutters available…).


Yes I had a look not long ago because acrylic is very transparent and UV resistant but I couldn’t find any. It used to be sold to children as Plasticraft but I think it must have got banned for health and safety reasons.

My wife keeps buying solar powered lights for the garden (we refer to it as solar powered tat) but they are never water proof and only last a few months to a year. The main problem is the solar panel itself isn’t sealed around the edges. It is just glued into a well in the plastic. Often the water gets past the glue as it is hot glue, not silicone, and corrodes the electronics. Even if it doesn’t it gets into the edge of the solar cell and stops it working.

I figured I could seal all the electronics and the solar cell in a block of acrylic resin and make my own solar lights.


I’ll be printing this out tomorrow! Thanks!

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Because cool PEW PEW factor. LOL. The new vinyl cutters are blazing fast, well, the commercial ones at least, to the point that I don’t see any lasers doing it better. Sure, you gotta keep sharp blades, but I dont see any lasers with material feeders and take-up rollers to run unattended production runs.

I don’t know if Smooth-On has any distributors in the UK but you might give them a look. I use their Crystal Clear series polyurethane casting resin. It is absolutely water clear and UV stable, and I have used it for potting LED’s and building lenses, or embedding LED’s into clear trophies. It would be perfect for your solar lights idea. They sell 2lb trial kits as well as gallons and larger.


A laser-engraved placard, perhaps?

Thanks, would be perfect. I wasn’t aware that PU was UV stable.

pretty sure it’s an additive, just like in silicones and acrylic. Amazon of course sells smooth on (albeit more expensively).

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My understanding was that acrylic is one of the few plastics that is inherently UV stable. Most other plastics need additives.

You may be right. I was going off the page I purchased the last set of 6mm acrylic for another project and you had to pick from outdoor grade UV proof and regular. Unless that was “blocks” UV vs not, was what they meant…

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I believe acrylic is inherently UV stable but there are grades with additives to allow it to filter UV to protect contents.

@palmercr I forgot, Smooth On also has a water clear, UV stable silicone they actually market for coating over solar panels. I have not used that, but I have used Dow Corning’s Sylgard product which is similar. It is UV stable however it is not UV blocking, as that is the material I use for replacing the PDMS layer in SLA 3D printer resin vats.


Very handy! Thank you.

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Revisiting this today, looks like they’ve moved the PDF doc, here’s the new link.


Hi I’m new to the Glowforge family. I’ve been trying to search for information on Polyethylene. This is the closest I’ve gotten, but it seems like they have removed the file from this link. Do you happen to have a copy that you could post? Thanks in advance.

Found this on the interwebs: