When cutting thin paper: Some way to keep fan from blowing scraps of paper all around?

For some designs, some people just engrave everything so that the little bits are all burnt to ash.

Personally, I’m a fan of the Seklema mats. They are kind of expensive but, much less hassle than DIY repositionable adhesive approaches for what I do.

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I just use krylon “easy tack” repositionable adhesive, but all my cut paper ends up being laminated to other layers so the residue is never an issue for me.


Big fan of the seklema mats - they are double-sided, so they last a long time. But they don’t work with super thin paper. Looks like you’re using cardstock with reasonably thick lines, so I think it would be perfect for you.


I underpower my cuts just barely so that I can punch them out, similar to what evansd2 mentioned, but instead of creating the dashed lines, mine are solid lines like normal. The downside to my method is if your optics aren’t clean or the natural degradation of the laser’s effectiveness occurs, the underpower may not be enough to get through the paper enough. This just means you’d have to test and tweak the settings slightly when it happens.

Here’s an example of some very delicate line work that I didn’t have the bits flying everywhere, and most of them fell out fairly easily.


Depends on the paper, but I sometimes sandwich it between two pieces of cardboard (cereal boxes or corrugated). Sometimes the thin cereal boxes have enough weight, but nothing moves corrugated. The added bonus is that the lower level of the sandwich keeps the flashback from discoloring the middle paper.

You can always mix-and-match: thin on the bottom, then paper, then corrugated on top. (Hardest part: setting the laser height to the middle paper.)


Two new developments:



Cut a focus hole to get to the middle part??
Just a thought.

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Could you simply use a cricket or silhouette mat? WAY cheaper and are meant to not leave residue behind :slight_smile:

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No you can’t, they contain PVC :frowning:


Even if you aren’t cutting or engraving them? Not sure why that would matter if its not being cut or engraved.

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You’re right, but by definition if you are going to cut all the way through a material there is some extra laser energy continuing toward whatever was behind it. In this case, into your mat.

I wouldn’t trust myself to try this, PVC is really bad for the laser.

That said, I would swear the mats for the cricut feel an awful lot like HDPE, not PVC. Let me google.

EDIT: I can’t find anything that says one way or another but I did see several competitors’ mats that are made of PVC.


I doubt you’ll find any mat cheaper than my manual air assist flow reducers. You can cut them out of cardstock or just about any thin material, maybe even printer paper.

I know it was 3 years ago, but it’s only one or 2 posts above yours… here you go:


That makes sense. But if you were just engraving it might be ok, yes?

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If you burn through the paper and any laser touches those mats you release highly toxic and corrosive chlorine gas. It’s simply not worth the risk.


Yeah if the laser never gets to the mat, then sure. As @ekla said, it’s a bit risky, it’s easy to over engrave paper goods. Why chance it then there are better solutions? If you’re just engraving paper, you don’t need to worry about it blowing away and can pin or weight it down however you like. For example:


Bummer! I’m trying to figure out a way to tack down small leather patches. They keep blowing around though.

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Get some 505 spray or Krylon Easy Tack, spray a spare sheet of plywood, draft board or anything else laser safe you’re willing to sacrifice = DIY sticky board. Or you can buy a Seklema mat.


I tried easy tack and it didn’t stick enough. It’s so frustrating! I can’t imagine paying so much for the seklema mat. Don’t they wear out?

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Try 505, you might find it stickier.
I’ve never bought a seklema, from what I hear they can be cleaned to refresh.


They do eventually wear out if you are cutting through your material on them. I’m on my third mat in something over five years. I cut several hundreds of jobs on paper a year. I am not aware of anyone else here wearing out even one mat yet.

If you are careful to adjust your settings so that you just cut through the material (using this method, perhaps), you will minimize damage to the Seklema mat.

If you are just holding leather patches down while you engrave them, I would not expect you to be damaging the Seklema mat much at all.

Ash accumulation will make it less tacky but, you can clean that off with isopropyl alcohol and paper towels periodically, as needed.

The mats are double-sided. So, you get two sides to wear out per mat.

As @ekla suggests, a piece of MDF coated with the Odif 505 Temporary Spray Adhesive will also work well for some stuff. The cost of a can is probably worth a try if you are hesitant on the Seklema mat.