The sky is almost the limit. Each week we hear of our customers finding new materials which can be worked with these engravers. As you may well have seen on our exhibition stand, they will cut and engrave wood, MDF and ply as well as acrylic materials. The wood etc. can be left with a rather burned edge and we recommend and can supply laser ply which has special white glue which does not leave these marks. We supply acrylic in suitable sizes and thicknesses at competitive prices. Our lasers can not cut metal or glass because the heat is either conducted away too quickly or not quickly enough. More powerful CO2 lasers are used for metal cutting, when coupled with a special gas supply, but we can not supply these at present. Our lasers can, however, engrave both glass and metal as well as slate and other stone such as limestone e.g. for house name plates. We can supply Welsh slate coasters suitable for engraving or a special rotating system to engrave cylindrical glass bottles, tubes, vases, drinking glasses etc. To engrave metal, Thermark spray which we supply is needed. This is ‘fixed’ to the surface by the beam and washed off the rest giving a very good finish to the printed area. Anodised material can be engraved as the laser burns off the finish. You may have seen patterns cut in felt using our equipment, as well as in leather and various forms of foam material. One of our customers lightly burns the wear patterns on new jeans…… We are sure you wouldn’t be seen out in jeans which are obviously new!
You should not attempt to cut or engrave PVC (Foamex) as hydrochloric acid is given off in the burning process. This damages the machine as well as the lungs and eyes of anyone it contacts. Polycarbonate likewise, is an unsuitable material. Car spray paint can be used on acrylic to give another colour. We should be delighted to hear from our customers of other materials which can be cut or engraved with out versatile machines.
Abs and high impact acrylic are good for high impact applications and you get a polished edge.
Our directly imported laserable engraving laminate is made of ABS and allows a two colour permenant material for name plates and labels.
PETG can also be cut with CO2 lasers but only 0.5-3mm thick at the thicker guages the fire retardant nature kicks in and you will get a browning at the edges, we are working with a nitrogen assist gas and testing if this works, also on wood as it doesn't allow the oxygen to give you the carbonised edge.