Styrene settings

Has anyone cut styrene yet? I was playing with the settings last night and I melted more than cut. Curious if anyone has any good advice.


I did a little research on laser cutting styrene back when I first placed my order, and the consensus seemed to be “doesn’t produce harmful chemicals, does melt a lot and sometimes catches on fire”. I was disappointed since I have a ready supply of 3"x5" thin styrene plates.

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Hope you don’t mind, but I moved this to Beyond The Manual since Support will not be able to advise you on settings for materials they didn’t design. :slight_smile:

Styrene emits styrene when cut, covers your laser in fine yellow/brown dust, and stinks like burning plastic. Styrene is toxic, possibly a carcinogen. This is one reason that many 3D printer material manufacturers are going to formulas that don’t release the styrene when heated, or at least reduce the amount released.
My tests on 0.060 inch styrene sheet show that 400 zooms and 100 pews works, but three passes are required and it may not go all the way through. Five or six passes usually give a full cut, but you get a lot of scorching around corners and on small features.


Yeah, styrene is bad for lasers. Very not good. My associate refines by saying it burns and chars on the edges.

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Thanks all. Im going to see what I can do, I have a vinyl cutter as well that i can cut plastic with, but I have read a lot and there is nothing that is bad with Styrene. Sintra is bad. Anything PVC based is bad. But Styrene is good.

I don’t see a laser safety issue with styrene. It is a personal health/safety issue for me.

No worries. :slight_smile: Im more daring… with lot of ventilation. :slight_smile:

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The settings will depend on the particular piece and its thickness, but what worked for me was multiple passes as quickly as possible. When I slowed down enough to get through in one pass, it got melty.

I was only doing a 9" circle, though. I think it would be real easy to get a fire or a gooey mess if there were any kind of detail.


I just cut two rectangular sections out of .040 thickness styrene sheet. My settings were speed 150, power 35, passes 2. Came out great. No melting, no burning.


Bumping this for any updates.

Was there any issues with fumes, gases, etc that are harmful for people or Glowforge?

Just keep your power low like 150 speed around 40 and pass 2 you should be just fine. I think the melted projects were using the laser too high. Edges could roll so don’t go too close to the edge. It is plastic.