Soot control

Some of the material I cut ends up with a layer of soot on the cut edge. Some material does not.

I think it depends on the type of glue that was used to create the mdf or plywood.

I have found an unlimited free source of 2.7mm plywood (in 7"x48" pieces) and was looking forward to using it for prototyping parts. (If you are near PDX check the craigslist free section for meranti plywood, the source tries to post every week)

The problem is, this is material that leaves a layer of soot on the cut edge. When working with it soon my hands are covered in soot and there are dirty fingerprints everywhere.

I have not been pleased with the solutions Google found for me as they involve using water or too much work. Until I stumbled on a dry cleaning sponge. It looks like a sponge, but is made from rubber and is used dry. It is reported to work really well and picking up soot.

I ordered one and found that it works pretty well. Light rubbing with the sponge on the edge of the part seemed to remove about 95.3% of the soot. After cleaning and assembling my part, there is some soot on my fingers but not enough to get anything dirty.


If you are struggling with soot, you might check this out.

Theoretically, You can clean the sponge with soap and water and then once it dries out use it again.


I rely on these wipes for edge cleaning and flashback char removal (if I desire to remove it instead of sealing it in place).
It also comes in a large container with a plunger, where you can put some on a toothbrush and clean out the 3D designs for a great depth visual.

Yours is more along the re-usable category, and that is very important in some circles.
Thanks for sharing.


These work pretty great as well.


I was really hoping for 95.6% soot removal. (Just kidding :laughing:, this is a really useful option and I think I’ll get one!)


I’ve been putting my pieces in a container with rice and swishing them around. It removes a lot of the soot, and smell (not all). If I want to clean it more after that, I use baby wipes.

But I’ll check out that sponge. Is it easy to clean it? I could see it getting pretty dirty after a few projects.

Thanks for the recommendation.

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When using corrugated cardboard the settings play a large role in the amount of soot on the edges. The trade-off I have found is that the lowest levels of soot correspond to the cuts most like a perforated edge and you wind up punching out the cardboard instead of it falling out. The more rigid the material, and the more variation in the material’s composition, the more of a problem this type of cut brings. That said, while I don’t think you can completely eliminate soot, slight tweaking of settings may reduce the amount you need to remove in the first place.

Nothing like mindlessly prototyping something with some cardboard only to notice an hour later I’m leaving sooty fingerprints all over the house. :man_facepalming:


Thanks for sharing, I just put it on my shopping list!