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What materials can I engrave and cut with my Laser System?

 

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A laser cutter is a prototyping and manufacturing tool used to cut or etch into a wide variety of materials. Acrylic, wood, paper, cardboard, glass, leather, textiles, rubber, multi-ply plastics, Traffolyte are just some of the materials that can be processed with a laser system!

Below is a list of materials that can be engraved or cut with a Laser Cutter/Engraver, such as the superb GCC models.

Acrylic

ACRYLIC: Acrylic is a very popular and cost-effective material, which is available in a large range of colours. The consistent and precise engraving results on acrylic, along with a shiny edge quality from cutting, makes this material an absolute favourite.

A higher-powered laser cutter is capable of cutting up to 20mm thick acrylic. A factor to consider when cutting acrylic, particularly thicker sheets, is that the heat build-up in the sheet during the cutting process can alter material reaction and cut quality. Using the air assist on the laser system and suitable cutting parameters, is the best way to counteract this.

Acrylic can be quite brittle and unforgiving when trying to move under tension, meaning allowance needs to be made when designing assembled models that will have extra tension or moving parts.

Acrylic can be cut at a comparatively higher speed, making it a good all-rounder for processing numerous student jobs in short class periods.

Models, prototyping, signage and POS display mounts are just some applications where laser cut acrylic is the ideal material.

 

Wood

WOOD: Wood is definitely one of the most versatile and impressive materials to use with laser systems. You can get so many different results with different types of timbers, and the natural elements and imperfections like the grain, colour and hardness, give the resulting object unique character.

Since the laser is applying heat, you will get that dark, charcoal edge from a cut and added contrast when engraving. Then add in the options of inlaid veneers, paint fill and other applications, and you truly have unlimited possibilities.

Whether it be a photoengrave or a logo a student has created for their graphics case project, fine detail engraving and cutting can deliver superb results on wood.

So, it’s time to stretch your imagination.

 

Paper

PAPER/ CARDBOARD: With paper and cardboard, whatever you can imagine and design, the laser system can create. All those intricate pop-up greeting cards you see are all done with a laser system. The accuracy and simplicity of using this material opens up dramatic possibilities. Fancy invitation cards, unique product packaging, cardboard models and much, much more.

Also, this material is very cheap and great to use for students’ early prototypes.

Even the traditional cardboard poster, can now become something special. And, let’s not forget the possibilities in the art department. Laser systems make easy work of these materials meaning you can zip through many students’ projects at high speed.

 

Glass

GLASS: Laser systems have created unique and amazing possibilities for glass engraving. This is known as ablation, a micro-fracturing of the glass to form beautiful, frosted effects, which stand out so attractively on the glass.

Whether it is a photograph, lettering, logo, or a simple pattern, the absolute precision of the laser allows for engraving on glass to the finest detail. Many items can be etched such as wine glasses, beer glasses and glass awards, some of which require a rotary attachment to do so.

But, be sure to remember not to try engraving tempered glass, as this will shatter, and unfortunately the laser system cannot cut glass.

Such a great material, particularly for personalisation of drinking glasses and giftware.

 

Leather

LEATHER: Leather is already a beautiful material, so why not decorate it with a striking mandala design or something of your choice? Leather items, wallets, bags, belts etc., are items commonly engraved and cut with laser systems. With the right settings, this material marks beautifully, giving a clean and quality finish.

A perfect gift idea!

 

Textiles

TEXTILES: A unique benefit that a laser system has, is the ability to cut materials while eliminating the possibility of fraying. The laser system cuts materials by using heat, which not only creates an exceptionally straight and clean cut, but also seals the cut edge.

Popular for clothing, cushions, rugs, drapes and seat covers, the laser is a fast and efficient way to cut many varieties of textile.

Engraving can also be done on many types of textiles making branding and unique markings easy!

 

Rubber

RUBBER: Need a unique rubber stamp? Do this with a laser system. Create your design and simply print. Rubber, being a durable, flexible product allows the laser processing to result in a sharp and tidy extruded effect. Some laser systems have a rubber stamp mode to make this even easier, especially when setting shoulder width versus height of the protruding lettering.

 

Multiply

MULTI-PLY PLASTICS/TRAFFOLITE: This is the stuff used on many trophies, awards and small signs. The laser engraving removes the surface layer/colour to reveal the coloured layer below, creating that great contrast. A great benefit and cost saver for the administration department.

And best of all? All of these materials can be processed with just one laser system, by simply adjusting the settings accordingly!

There are so many more materials we haven’t even mentioned. Feel free to play and test with different materials, so long as the materials don’t contain PVC, poly-carbonate or Teflon, as these emit toxic gasses when processed by a laser system.

Also, if it’s a Co2 system, you won’t have any luck trying to cut metal. If you want to mark metal, you can by first applying a laser ink to the surface.

The best place to get these materials and much more laser-related products is Tools for Schools.

Any more questions about laser materials, please contact one of our laser experts on 1800 852 211.