Prohibited Laser Cutter Materials

There will be consequences to cutting these materials due to the serious health & safety implications. There will be no exceptions to this list. 

TypeMaterialToxic GasFire/SmokeBurns/MeltsDamages EquipmentNotes
FabricFelt, Fleece (Wool)Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN)

Artificial, Acetate, Nylon, Cellophane, Viscose, Rayon, Spandex, etc.Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN)

Even cutting approved materials results in the laser cutters being an unsafe environment for food, in addition to the damage that laser cutting food could cause.
MetalAny Unlisted

Optics, Motion-Control SystemOur C02 laser cutters can etch certain coated metals; they cannot cut metal.

ABS (Stratasys 3D Prints)Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN)FireBothCutting Grid, Bed
Carbon FiberHydrogen Cyanide (HCN)BothBoth

Epoxy, Resin, Fiberglass, EcoresinHydrogen Cyanide (HCN)BothBoth

Polycarbonate, LexanChlorine (Cl2)BothBoth

The window on the laser cutter is made from this due to its resistance against radiation and being laser-cut. The material will melt and turn brown instead of cutting, etching, or engraving.

Polyethylene (HPDE, PETG), Tyvek, Polyester, Fleece (Artificial)Formaldehyde (CH2O)FireBothCutting Grid, Bed
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PFTE), TeflonCarbonyl Fluoride (COF2), Fluoroform(CHF3)

Polyoxymethylene, DelrinFormaldehyde (CH2O), Hydrogen Fluoride (HF)

FireBothCutting Grid, Bed

PolyurethaneHydrogen Cyanide (HCN)

PVC (polyvinyl chloride), Vinyl, Pleather/Faux Leather, PVB (polyvinyl butyrale), materials containing halogensChlorine (Cl2), Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN)

Optics, Motion-Control System

Please note that the Co-op sells material that looks like acrylic but is made of PVC and styrene. There is an entire shelf of banned materials in the Co-op.

Self-adhesive, or material with sticky or glue backing

OpticsExamples include cork tiles, thin wood laminate, acrylic tiles, and paper stickers.
Rubber, ElastomerCarbonyl Fluoride (COF2),, Hydrogen Fluoride (HF)

Styrene, Polystyrene, foamboard, Foam Core, styrofoam, Depron foam, Gator foamBenzene (C6H6)FireBothOpticsThe main cause of laser cutter fires. Please note that the Co-op sells material that looks like acrylic but is made of PVC and styrene.

Coniferous, Oily, Exotic

Examples: pine, spruce, teak. Their hardness varies, so they can't be cut consistently.
MDF, HDF, EngineeredFormaldehyde (CH2O)Both

Extreme charring.
Plywood with Formaldehyde-based glueFormaldehyde (CH2O)Both

Extreme charring. Wood naturally has trace amounts of formaldehyde, we require that any plywood have a formaldehyde-free glue, such as a soy-based glue. The plywood must conform to OSHA-PEL-TWA 0.75ppm.
Adhesive/Resin-FilledHydrogen Cyanide (HCN)Both
OpticsBaltic Birch plywood is an example.

*Some types of wood are approved, but the specific ones listed above are prohibited.

Questionable Materials

Consult with Tech Desk Staff for approval 

  • Wood, ie. plywood with potentially flammable adhesives 

  • Reflective materials