Thin, strong material?

So… I hope that Beyond the Manual is a good place for this. I’m looking for a strong material that is pretty thin. Anyone have any ideas? I’m looking to make some small parts, but don’t really want to share what they are just yet. :slight_smile:




I can understand not wanting to share too much but if we knew just a little…
As @JeremyNielsen said, delrin. Acrylic is strong but brittle. Delrin is great but almost impossible to glue.


PET-G? Cuts well, much tougher than acrylic, not as tough as polycarbonate, not as tough or self-lubricating as Delrin.


Fair enough. All one piece, about the size of a dime, ised as a connector, so kind of like a Brad or a pin to push into soft/medium-soft material.

It sounds like Delrin may be a good one to try. Im excited to show the results! :grin:


How thin? Metal will give the most strength, but without knowing the application is tough.

1/16" or 1/32" perhaps? Metal would be great, but not laserable with the :glowforge:

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Delrin is not really a good choice for lasering. It produces toxic, explosive gas and has a tendency to melt rather than cut cleanly. It machines beautifully, though. I went through a similar search a few months ago, and ended up machining a Delrin part on a CNC.

is the gas bad for the unit too? Like with vinyl?4

Several of the major CO2 laser makers (Universal, Trotec and Epilog) all say that Delrin cuts cleanly and holds it shape well. There are apparently some differences between the extruded and cast, the homopolymer and copolymer as well as black vs. natural.

From the MSDS’s that I could find, it produces formaldehyde on burning and the dust as a cloud can be explosive (need to take some care when machining, for example).

With the formaldehyde, the SDS recommendation is to seek fresh air if you have trouble breathing or feel light headed. Some people are more sensitive to it and long term exposure is carcinogenic. So you’ll at least want to make sure your ventilation is good.

Edit: homopolymer


it is kind of hard to get a hold of, but perhaps polyback might work? its a resin impregnated paper; lots of minatures guys use it for models

Formaldehyde gas is highly flammable - no dust required to have an issue. It tends to collect under the crumb tray and go off in little mini explosions.

Regarding the toxicity, it is bad stuff. I spoke with the laser guy at TAP Plastics, and after hearing the description of what they do when they have laser cut it in the past (including opening doors and windows, and leaving the building)…well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be relying on stock GF ventilation setups…

Finally, on the melting - I saw a piece of 1/4” Delrin that had been lasered, and there was a definite wavy melted thing going on on the back side. Not at all like acrylic. May not be an issue depending on your application. For the OP’s, seems like it would.

Not unless it starts a fire.

Huh. Never seen that happen. Expect it’s volume dependent - high volume commercial operation vs typical small shop/home/Makerspace.

Watch your settings and it cuts and engraves cleanly. Not like nylon :grinning:

Paper craft embossing finders are often made of polyester, harder to find in sheet form but those things take a lot of pressure.