Plastics material advice

I’m trying to find a plastic material to put in my Glowforge that is tough and slippery. Any suggestions?

Tough: needs to withstand friction from edges of galvanized sheet metal stamping.
Slippery: on both sides, because the plastic is going to be protecting surfaces from the edges of the stamped sheet metal.
Flexible: will need to bend easily

How thick? How big? Operating environment? Replaceable? How flexible?

Can’t picture what you’re trying to do.


I’d probably ask Trotec or Johnson Plastics. Their sales engineers may know something clever to use here.


Agreed. I have Kydex which would seem to fit but it is NOT safe for the laser. I cut it on my CNC or even by hand with a router.


Probably 1/16" to 1/8" thick, doesn’t need to bend “a lot” like a living hinge, but rather from flat (180 degrees) to 135 degrees. Operating environment would be 30 to 110 degrees of heat, but ideally something that can be installed once every several years or longer.


I should probably just try leather. It’s not particularly “contemporary” for a somewhat industrial-like environment, but it’d be very functional, I think.

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Stamped sheet metal edges are extremely sharp. They will cut and scrape pretty much anything that is softer than the steel. I would be looking at a spring steel strip rather than plastic. If you have more information that may clarify the use it will help give a better recommendation.


I have some HDPE that performs very well, but is a bit melty. I made some leather stamps with it but it took many passes to not lose the shape.


Delrin is a tough ‘slippery’ plastic.


Yeah, that’s a good one - commonly available and laser-safe.


Yes, but it is also pretty hard. Its toughness is relative. It is tougher than acrylic, but not as tough as HDPE. Delrin is also really easy to cut with a sharp steel tool because it is dimensionally stable. This means the sharp edges of the stamped parts will carve chunks out of the Delrin.

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