I have a large piece of material labeled “Plexiglas ® MC Acrylic Sheet”. But then there’s a big warning label saying it’s a combustible thermoplastic and burns vigorously with intense heat. It says it can be saw cut, drilled, cemented, or routed. But the rest of the label is blurry and unreadable.
I had been planning to cut a 12 x 12 inch square to make into a sticky mat to hold down super thin wood sheets, cardstock, and stuff like that. But I obviously don’t want to use it if it’s very, very burn-y or unsafe to stick in the laser cutter. But if it’s acrylic like it says, shouldn’t it be safe?
Ideally, I want something safe to stick in there but as resilient as possible. I’d like to use the mat a lot, after all. Any other material suggestions that would work much better?
Maybe I should just buy the $85 one not-made-by-me that got posted a while ago…
Edit: I think part of the label is saying something about first aid when exposed to vapors from heated product, so I should probably just back away slowly…
Just use some cheap plywood. Whatever you use for a mat is going to get cut up. You’ll care a lot less if you spent a dollar on a section of cheap wood than if you cut up an expensive sheet of acrylic or a specialty mat.
If I’m not mistaken, acrylic is only flammable if one holds a flame to a large enough area of it for long enough time. Usually, the laser zips across (and quickly through) the material fast enough such that it only smokes a little.
Just to update for posterity, and anyone else who is trying the same thing in the future, @jamesdhatch was spot on. Baltic Birch Ply works great! I painted it with acrylic paint to keep it separate from all the other pieces floating around my room, but it’s perfect.
@Jules is totally right – it gets scorched and a little ugly, so the cheaper route is definitely worth while.