Looking for a laserable thin plastic material that flexes and will not rip or tear

Prefer it to be clear, or at the very least semi-transparent.
Doesn’t need to be food grade, looking to make stencils out of it.

I want it to be flexible kinda like a milk jug. So it won’t tear and will hold up. Any thoughts?

Milk jugs are polyethylene.
There’s also plastic stencil sheets (usually ABS or mylar) Polyester would likewise fit your parameters.

“Flexes” probably means thing acrylic isn’t what you want? It will flex, but not too much. Maybe thin plastic cutting boards? They’re polyethylene, I think.

polyethylenes and polypropylenes are flexible plastics but do not laser well at all. abs and hips (styrene) are a bit flexible if very thin: think of a disposable plate, which are usually HIPS. you can take out the center and test it. perhaps tyvek, or mylar might work. you can laser them, but are kind of flimsy.

Any issues lasering PETG?

Pop bottles are made out of PET, I believe. I thought milk bottles were the same, but apparently (from this thread) not. You can buy it in sheets: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0015H4B84/ref=biss_dp_t_asn

Now then, how about laser cutting it…

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HAHAHA I was JUST replying about that stuff!

Gonna put in an order.

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I haven’t been able yet to determine how cutting it goes. It looks like Polulu will cut PETG for you, but that’s all I’ve come up with so far.

I’ll give it a go this weekend, and will post my findings.

Most are actually HDPE

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Eurolaser mentioned that their CO2 laser cuts it cleanly and beautifully (in advertising). So that’s somewhat promising.

From the MSDS’s that I could find (PET-G formulations can vary, like acrylic), the dangerous combustion products look similar to wood and acrylic: hydrogen cyanide (HCN), carbon monoxide (CO) and aldehydes (simplest is formaldehyde CH2O). I haven’t seen anything that indicates that those byproducts are produced in higher volumes burning PET-G than acrylic so probably a similar irritation level to that.


Ah, pardon, yes aka polyethylene. Edited.

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How about some flavor of Mylar? Flexible and should hold up well as a stencil once cut.
Amazon, Staples, sold at a lot of places and any crafts store I imagine.

Thank you for doing the research. The info you gathered was exceptional!


The really thin acrylic from Inventables is surprisingly flexible.
You can also look at nylon. I didn’t see any issues when I was etching it.

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Mylar works great for stencils.
Lucent by Rowmark is a thin, flexible, “modified acrylic” material that is great for stencils (and it has the neon-edge-lit quality of acrylic, which is neat)


Any recommendations for slightly stiffer stuff? I want to make some replacements for thr drawers in my Akro-Mills parts storage, but the 1/8” acrylic is too thick snd too stiff to make a reliable latch mechanism