Has anyone cut foam before?

If so what setring should I run it ?

There are many kinds of foam, some are safe to cut in a laser, some are not. I’d suggest you search the forum for the particular foam you are interested in, you’ll likely find your answer.


As @johnj said, you need to be MUCH more specific. I cut foam core all the time but I’m not the least bit sure that is what you are talking.

Since you are new, let me yell, DO NOT TRY TO CUT ANYTHING WITH CHLORINE IN IT! This would include foamed PVC.


Im trying to cut the outline of an object to place it in. So pretty much a object insert of a character

The question isn’t what shape you’re trying to cut the question is what kind of foam are you using?

Some foam cuts beautifully - lots of settings in the Beyond the Manual section.
Some foam will literally eat the inside of your :glowforge: and should never ever ever be cut
Figure out what kind of foam you are using, and then worry about settings
(Seriously, we’re trying to save you from heartache)


And Death… Seriously that’s a very real thing.
You cut PVC you are releasing a poop load of VERY dangerous chemicals in a very concentrated space.

an example of safe foams are EVA, EPA, and EPS.

EVA was the easiest for me to find.


Yeah. I disnt explained my self
It was more like what kind of foam is safe to try cutting . ill check out. Eva , epa and EPS


Moved to Beyond the Manual due to potential discussion of non-PG material settings. :slight_smile:


Ah, yes we misunderstood - it sounded like you already had some foam.

This will get you started on settings:


Can you point to that anywhere? I’ve been lasering (and teaching lasering) for years and never heard of anyone sickened much less poisoned to death by PVC cut in a laser. Of course, I haven’t been everywhere so I’m willing to change my mind if I can find proof that it’s actually a thing.

PVC does contain substances which are bad for the laser electronics and bad to inhale in quantity. But any properly vented or filtered machine won’t release enough gas to hurt or kill you. There are enough things that are dangerous with lasers that this kind of “information” only scares people for nothing.

Like I said though, I’ll reconsider my position for anyone who can substantiate this being “a very real thing”. If you can send a link, I’ll update my class training materials and make sure to warn my students too. (Right now the PVC warning only concerns its effect on the laser.)


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The same hydrochloric acid that will eat the inside of your machine will also eat the inside of you if you breathe it - or if you exhaust it outside anyone/thing in the vicinity of your exhaust. It’s an all-purpose eater of things really


I’m currently at work and not able to sit down at a keyboard but hey here goes, I’ll happily put more effort into this when I get home but for now…


Now this isn’t a laser bed nor is laser but the principle is exactly the same. In fact with a laser its more to the point… pun intended

Well, I read it on the internet and we discussed it here. :rofl:

Are we talking documented death here (@jamesdhatch) or just potential poisoning(@aanden)?


When you burn PVC (which is what lasing it does), it releases Chlorine gas.

You might remember that this was an early favorite on the front lines in WWI, it’s highly toxic because it combines with H2O in the air and your lungs to make HCL (Hydrochloric Acid), which attacks the linings of your lungs making the linings release H2O and you drown on your own fluids.

Pretty icky, eh?

The fact that the Chlorine also combines with H2O in the air passing through your laser cutter producing acid that attacks everything (the coating on your optics and any exposed circuit boards are especially susceptible). In spite of how it looks, the laser isn’t generating a huge amount of gas, so it might only cause irritation to people who get a strong whiff. It has to be pretty concentrated to have an acute effect on “soft tissue”, but the effect is very real. It’s chemistry, not opinion.

Burning PVC also produces dioxins, which are extremely cancerous substances.

A simple google search for “what happens when I burn PVC” will yield a wealth of information on exactly what gets released when PVC is burned, as well as in most cases, explain why that stuff is so bad.


Well as promised, I’m off work and am sitting down to answer this claim,

There is so much I want to write. but it all boils down to this. Do what you want to do, I can not stop you. If you really think the safety and well being of your students are worth the risk… so be it.

There is a reason why Material safety sheets exist.


I have worked with a lot of very bad things at one time or another HCl, cyanide, sulfuric acid, HF. mercury, lead, arsenic, asbestos,even my parents smoking like chimneys and survived them all. It is all a matter of precautions and not wallowing in them, as my parents had shorter lives for doing.

Cutting PVC is death to your machine even if you only do so once. On the other hand an acid stomach is HCl


Stomachs are built to handle it (mostly). Lungs are not. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Why is acrylic crossed out?

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That’s a really nice list, BTW. Thanks for posting it!

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As indeed one finds with severe acid reflux. I wonder just how many historic “died in their sleep” cases were just that.