What kind of cardboard is good / safe for lasering?

Is there any way to tell what sort of cardboard boxes are safe for lasering? For example, Amazon boxes - do they have any glue or chemicals (ink?) on them that would prevent them from being cut up and lasered into something like we saw in the GF launch video?

What about if you take the tape off cardboard, is there any residue that could cause an issue?

Cheers!

You might have to ask Amazon about that. In theory, the odds are probably in your favor, and lots of people have cut up surplus cardboard without obvious issues. Except, of course, the issue that corrugated cardboard is one of the easiest materials for triggering hard-to-extinguish fires…

2 Likes

If I tape cardboard (rare), just use blue painters’ tape. I’ve used Amazon boxes with no problems. Mostly I’d say care with your settings and babysit it. Cardboard is more likely to flare up than most other materials.

1 Like

I have been using chipboard for my cheap, draft material. It’s not cardboard, but it is very inexpensive. It’s actually quite strong.

I picked some up at Blick Art Supplies

The 30-ply stuff is about 0.1 inches thick. You should plan on using some sort of powered saw to cut it down to laserable size, though, as it is very hard to cut by hand and scoring doesn’t work. If you have a tablesaw, or a friend with one, it would take just a few minutes to cut it down to size. I used a Track Saw to cut mine.

1 Like

The stuff I use now is .08” but I was able to cut the .1” stuff pretty decently with the straight cutter tool on my mat cutter (which uses basic razor blades). I can also cut the .08” on my rotary cutter pretty easily (it’s within spec as well). But… power tools always win.

2 Likes

Not me. I sawed away at it with a box cutter until I decided I was applying more force than was safe and that this wasn’t the appropriate tool. I couldn’t imagine cutting through the 25 sheets I had with that, especially since each sheet requires 3 cuts to size it for the GF. Also, the saw leaves a nice clean edge that doesn’t interfere with how flat it lays on the crumb tray.

The mat cutter is definitely better than the box cutter method. With the mat cutter, you have a device that holds the razor blade (and puts the blade at the appropriate depth) and then it rides on the straight edge rail/material clamping bar. With the way it rotates (and handle to apply pressure) and in conjunction with the straight edge, I’m sure it’s less of a pain than using a straight box cutter.

What I do now is just 2 cuts on the mat cutter and then finish out the rest of the cuts on the rotary cutter (which treats them almost like a knife through butter). They are 35x47” sheets - so yeah, I get what you’re saying about cutting a bunch of them.

Since there isn’t any proof grade settings to guide us, what have people been using for power/speed?

It’s highly variable depending on the material. For example, the .08" chipboard, I’m using 170/Full Power on a Pro, but that has thick photo paper adhered to it.

As has been discussed elsewhere, cardboard is generally ok until you throw a lot of corners/close small details at it. I use 300/80 on my pro with amazon cardboard and get nice clean cuts… but I don’t do fine details on it due to risk of fire.