Table of Contents
Protohaven Approved Laser Material List
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⛔ Unapproved material use is prohibited for use in the lasers. Failure to comply will lead to revocation of privileges or membership.
☠️ Lasering unapproved material could lead to fire other equipment damage or create hazardous fumes creating risk to human health.
Know your Poly*
There are many plastic polymers made of different materials. Some can be lasered, others can not. Make sure you think critically about the words that come after poly.
- Polyacrylic, Polyester, Polyethylene, Polylactic are generally the good ones. See specifics Below
- Polystyrene requires vigilant observation so you don't burn down the laser.
- Polyurethane, Polycarbonate, Polypropylene are ones are the bad ones. See specifics Below
✅ Approved Materials
The following materials are approved for use on the lasers at Protohaven. Some material may be at a higher risk of fire please be mindful of any notes provided.
Cut & Etch
- Acrylic / Plexiglass (Reflective side down on mirrored acrylic)
- Paper / Cardstock / Cardboard
- Natural Cork (only without adhesive backing. All artificial cork must be approved separately)
- Cotton Denim, (stretch denim has Spandex and is prohibited.)
- Natural Leather / Suede
- PET including Polyester Fabric
- Kapton Film (FPC and HN variants only)
- Non- Chlorinated Rubber
- Marmoleum (often used for stamps; Speedball Art Linoleum is known good, Speedball Art Red Baron Linoleum has not been evaluated)
- Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) – Must not contain brominated fire retardant
- Kaolin clay (claybord)
- Rowmark LaserMAX line of products
- The following Worbla materials:
- CobalTex RF Shielding Fabric ( wash hands after handling the cut edges of this fabric to help prevent ingesting the metal dust.)
- Freezer Paper (Polyethylene backing. Raw polyethylene is not approved)
The following materials MUST BE monitored closely as they have an increased risk to cause damage to the equipment by causing fire or melting.
- Cotton / Felt / Hemp / Wool (watch for fire
- Polystyrene Fire Risk
- Foamboard/foam core (must not contain fire retardants; R.L. Adams is known good) HIGH FIRE RISK the entire job must be monitored closely.
- Coroplast brand corrugated polypropylene watch for melting; bulk polypropylene is not approved)
- Stone (marble, slate, quartz, etc.)
- Plaster of Paris
- Paints and thin spray coatings, thinner than powder coating (General blanket approval, but please use common sense and don't engrave your grandfather's old High Lead Special paint he has stockpiled.
- Metal (painted/anodized)
- The laser must not be used over 50% power in this scenario. Reflections can damage the optics.
The following materials must not be used under any circumstances
- Chlorinated Plastics
- PVC / Vinyl
- Artificial Leather
- Moleskine Notebooks
- Polymer Clay / Sculpey
- Pressure Treated Wood
- PTFE / Teflon
- Polycarbonate / Lexan
- Galvanized Metal
- Polypropylene / Foam Core, Styrofoam
- Coated Carbon Fiber
- Mirrored Surfaces
- Any material containing a halogen (Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, etc…)
- Oracal 651 (Contains PVC, Lead, Chromium)
- Foamular Extruded Polystyrene Insulation
- Silicone conformal coating spray from MG Chemicals (contains halogens)
- Spandex & Stretch (contains polyurethane)
- Uncured powder coating, including:
- Black Beauty
- Speedball Art Speedy Cut, Speedy Cut Easy and Speedy Carve (PVC at minimum)
- “Laser Rubber” products, such as No-Odor Laser Rubber (RPO 035) and Low Odor Laser Rubber (RUS 001) (Hydrogen Cyanide)
- Siser P.S. Film (contains polyurethanes)
- Easyweed Electric Heat Transfer Film (contains polyurethanes)
- Siser StripFlock P.S. Film (contains PVC)
- Butadiene-acrylonitrile rubber (Also known as Nitrile rubber, Buna-N, Perbunan, acrylonitrile butadiene rubber, and NBR)
- Rock Salt/Table Salt (contains Chlorine)
- Epoxy Resin (Formaldehyde, Hydrogen Cyanide)
Submission of Material For Consideration
If you want to submit a new metal not listed above for consideration post it along with it’s MSDS to the #lasers channel on discord.
Laminated Card for Laser Stations.
Approved Material List
Before using any new material you must consult the list of approved materials to ensure safety. Failure to comply with the list will lead to revocation of privileges.
To submit a material for approval submit the request to the #lasers channel on Discord. Please provide the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
This list was compiled by Jeff Bearer. This list contains recommendations for the Makerspace that Microsoft provides to employees. Those who manage the Lasers for the Microsoft Garage take safety and health very seriously and if a material passes their muster, Then there is almost no chance we would determine differently.