I had an idea to use a company’s product in an unconventional way, so I asked for the SDS to make sure it was laser safe…buuuuuut, I don’t speak SDS very well, and although it looks like it is (minus possibly being incredibly flammable…at least one of the ingredients is on its own), I would love for someone who understands these things to give me their opinion before I test it out.
If this does work like I am hoping it does, I will share my results, as it will provide an inexpensive option for a laser cutter tool. I know I’m being cryptic, but I don’t want to share my idea if it’s not safe.
Thank you I know polyurethanes are pretty safe, I’ve cut a bunch of fabrics made out of them, but I was unsure of the other ingredients.
This is a gel mat used for gel printing…it’s sticky, so it holds paper…and it’s significantly less money than a seklema mat…
The laser would be hitting it at a low power.
Yeah, I totally understand that. I don’t put anything in there unless I’m absolutely sure it’s not going to cause problems. It’s my main income maker and I don’t want to wreck that by lasering one wrong thing (I currently don’t have the funds to replace it).
I really value this forum and the people in it. There’s so much collective knowledge about almost anything. I love that I can come in here and ask questions like this.
The thing you want to concern yourself with when reading an MSDS is the section on firefighting.
Almost all of them will list the release of poisonous gasses as a danger, but the biggest concern is when SCBA recommendations are included, a mouth respirator being listed does not suggest an exceptionally high degree of toxicity regarding the reference of ‘poisonous gasses’. Nothing in the SDS you’ve provided indicates a high level of concern, especially given the nature of your specific application and the typical power levels involved, so I’d probably give it a try.
Thank you! That’s good info to look for next time I’m staring at an SDS. I took a lighter to the corner of it, and it just smoked a little, didn’t look like it wanted to ignite, so I decided I am going to try it. And yes, I have good ventilation! Next thing with testing, if it’ll actually hold up to use.
I asked for the SDS to make sure there was no pvc in it, as some gel mats do, and I knew polyurethane was safe, so I’m gonna do a small test cut with some copy paper! I hope this works. I don’t cut a lot of paper, which is why I couldn’t ever justify a seklema mat, and I bought one of these things for about $17, got home and opened it, and my mind went straight to " This looks like a seklema mat, I wonder if…".
Well I made a test cut! And it worked as I had hoped! Because I’m only using it as a backer under paper, and to hold pieces in place, I’m not too worried about a lot of toxic anything. I made a tiny test circle and there was no visible smoke, not even from the copy paper, and absolutely zero flames. Here’s a couple of pictures of what the laser did to the gel mat. I stuck the gel mat to a thin piece of metal, so you see that gold colour under it. You can see there’s air bubbles stuck under it, and yes, there’s a tiny hair stuck under the circle too
So if anyone is wondering, this is called a Sticky Gel Mat and it’s made by We R Memory Keepers. I picked it up at Michaels in the clearance section for $17, and they have them listed on their site for full price. I know Michaels isn’t the only place selling these (you can buy directly from We R Memory Keepers as well), but that’s where I got it. I’m really happy this works as I had hoped. I wouldn’t have tested it without the SDS, and thank you to those who gave their opinions! I really value every one of them!
Given the ingredients and the purpose, I was confident enough that this wouldn’t damage me or my machine, and decided to give it a shot, but disclaimer, use at you own risk
Edited to add - Not every gel mat is the same! Some are made with PVC, and some are made with gelatin (and some with other ingredients like this one)…if you decide to try this out as well, make sure you know the ingredients of what you’re using!