Tyvek

Has anyone cut tyvek? I’m not sure what settings to use to make a stencil. It really melted the details away.

Thank you!

I can’t imagine that Tyvek would be a very good candidate for lasering. It is polyethylene fibers spun and pressed in to a fabric sheet. PE has a low melting point and in the form of Tyvek it will shrink and pull away from the heat. Your finished stencil would likely be distorted beyond usability.

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Generally people use Mylar for stencils. I’d try that.

But if you’re sure you want to make tyvek work I’d follow the same testing method as any other material:

With a fast cut it might work pretty well. Something 300+, probably 350+ Is where I’d be shooting for.

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Tyvek comes in two classes, type 10 – the hard, paper-like ones – and type 14 --, the soft, fabric-like ones. I’ve cut type 10 in various weights many times, but haven’t tried type 14.

After sticking it down to something, usually a piece of pasteboard, so that lies flat and doesn’t blow around, I’ve had no trouble at all cutting it. As you’d guess from the fact that it’s a polyolefin, the kerf is somewhat wider than is would be for, say, acrylic. But I’ve found it to be repeatable and by adjusting the speed and power so that it just barely cuts through, not too wide for my purposes.

For example, in making the bellows for a concertina and sails for kites, I used a medium weight white type 10 Tyvek, cutting it in one pass with a speed of 500 and power of 70. Don’t count on being able to get sub-millimeter details, though, Fine points tend to get rounded off below about the half-millimeter level.

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@dehne1, thanks for the info. Would you mind posting the source for both grades of your Tyvek please?

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I haven’t used type 14 Tyvek, so I haven’t looked for a source.

For type 10, I got mine from an oriental rug-care place. It seems they use it to wrap up big oriental rugs after cleaning them. I got a nice, long, completely blank sheet in five-foot width some years ago for next to nothing. They had wider versions, too.

If you’re not fussy about what it looks like, you might consider Tyvek “house wrap.” It’s readily available at home improvement and construction supply stores. It doesn’t work for me because I don’t want it to say “Tyvek Home Wrap” in big letters on my kites. But for stencils?

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How does it take color? Is it resistant, or is the pigment/dye durable w/in the fibers?

you can buy 4x8 foot Grounding sheets from Amazon all black or white no writing

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I’ve colored it with permanent markers, which works well. I have one kite made that way that’s over 15 years old and the colors are just as they were when I applied them. Of course, it hasn’t been in the sun the whole time.

I have not tried other coloring techniques and so can only speculate. On one hand, the material is quite slick and is made of HDPE, so it’s easy to imagine some kinds of paints would flake right off. On the other, using PVA (Elmer’s) glue works surprisingly well and doesn’t flake off the way I imagined it would before trying.

Good experiments beat speculation every time!

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Thanks for the info. Next time I get a tyvek envelope, I’m going to hang on to it for experiments.

I found a source that will sell ‘sample’ rolls of 10’. They vary in width. Fabric tyvek and paper type.

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Thanks both @dehne1 & @kelley1 for your replies.