Laser Cutter Approved Materials

At SAIC we verify all material types for safety before allowing them to be cut on the laser cutters. Below you will find the list of all approved materials. Click on the material name and this page will take you to information on vendors, material cut results, and recommended power settings. If you wish to add a new material you will need to submit an SDS (Safety Data Sheet) and this form.

Woods

Plastics

Papers

Fabrics

Other

Balsa WoodAcrylicCorrugated Cardboard100% WoolAnodized Aluminum
Bass WoodMirrored AcrylicMatboard / Chipboard / Thin Cardboard Vegetable Tanned LeatherCeramic
Cork2-Tone Acrylic20lb PaperMuslinGlass
Utility Birch PlywoodDuralarCardstockDrill Cloth (Heavy duty)Laser Engravable Rubber (SAIC only!)
Hard Woods (Domestic Only)3form ChromaDrop Paper / Drop Jet Paper 80Cotton Duck CanvasLinoleum
Medex MDFTeslin100% SilkEVA Foam
West Pine MDFVellum100% CottonMarble
Arries MDFWorbla (Natural Only)
ScratchboardSandpaper
Shina Plywood
Dark Brown Masonite

 

Banned Materials

Below are banned materials for laser cutting. These should never be cut as they are either extremely dangerous for you or the equipment. Cutting these materials could lead to heavy fines or loss of laser cutter access.

Material Name

Hazardous Decomposition Products

Notes

ABSHydrogen cyanide
AcetateCreates nauseating odors.
PVCEmits chlorine gas during a cut.
MDF purchased outside of SAICFormaldehydeSome other brands of MDF contain formaldehyde and could be dangerous to cut.
Bending PlywoodBends into the path of the laser carriage during operation
Tropical HardwoodsVarious toxinsTropical hardwoods may contain various toxic compounds that are released when burned.
CorianCreates a fine grit inside the laser bed and will damage equipment
Casting WaxCasting wax melts too much during cutting
NylonAmmonia, Hydrogen cyanide
VinylHydrogen cyanide
DelrinFormaldehyde, hydrogen fluoride
FoamcoreBenzeneFoamcore is an expanded polystyrene.
3form Veria3form veria melts too much during cutting
Acrylic PaintFormaldehyde
Delrin 100ST NC010Formaldehyde, hydrogen fluoride
FormicaFormaldehyde
MylarAmmonia, Hydrogen cyanideMylar is PET
TyvekFormaldehydeTyvek is polyethylene, which is known to contain formaldehyde.
Bamboo, resin impregnatedFormaldehyde
Zelt Conductive FabricUnable to cut due to woven metals
Flexible urethane foamIsocyanates, hydrogen cyanide
Polyurethane FoamIsocyanates, hydrogen cyanide
Polyester FeltBenzene
PETGCreates nauseating odors, generates a lot of smoke, and deposits melted plastic inside laser bed.
Polystyrene / StyreneCreates nauseating odors, generates a lot of smoke, and deposits melted plastic inside laser bed.
Polycarbonate/LexanEmits chlorine gas during a cut.

 

Recommended Settings and Material Information

The settings on this page are recommendations only. You should always plan to perform a test cut to achieve desired results.

Balsa Wood

Recommended Source:Blick
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:Balsa is a light weight material that requires little power to cut through. Material generally is not available in larger sheet sizes.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/8"351.51200Light531200Light30100Auto
1/4"501.51200Medium831200Medium50100Auto
Dark1431200Dark60100Auto
Top of Page

Bass Wood

Recommended Source:Blick
Alternate Source:McClain's Print Supplies
Material information:Bass wood is a lighter weight wood that is a good alternative to plywoods. Does not need a lot of power for cutting. Generally does not have large sheet sizes available.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/8"452.21200Light531200Light50100Auto
1/4"852.21200Medium1231200Medium100100Auto
Dark3031200Dark10050Auto
Top of Page

Cork

Recommended Source:SAIC Materials Source
Alternate Source:Blick
Material information:Cork tends to burn badly for thicker stocks. Thinner stock is recommended. Material tends to stink so bagging immediately after cutting is recommended.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/16"252.22500Light631200Light50100Auto
1/8"552.22500Medium1031200Medium75100Auto
1/4"852.22500Dark1531200Dark100100Auto
Top of Page

Dark Brown Masonite

Recommended Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.A receipt may be required to verify material.
Alternate Source:
Material information:Dark brown masonite boards cut very nicely on the laser cutter with standard settings. Often used as an alternative to MDF boards.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/8"1001.51200Light1231200Light50100Auto
1/4"1000.61200Medium2031200Medium100100Auto
Dark3531200Dark10075Auto
Top of Page

Utility Birch Plywood, Shina Plywood, and Hard Woods

Recommended Source:SAIC Materials Source
Alternate Source:(Shina Plywood) - McClain's Print Supplies
Material information:Utility birch plywood cuts well on the laser cutter. Be aware SAIC also sells Baltic Birch plywood which is NOT compatible. You can generally tell Utility birch from Baltic by the edge. Darker glue generally means it will not cut.


Hard woods sold at SAIC use the same settings as plywood. You may need to plane the material down to 1/2" to cut through.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/8"1001.321200Light1231200Light50100Auto
1/4"1000.61200Medium2531200Medium100100Auto
1/2"1000.221200Dark4031200Dark10075Auto
Top of Page

MDF

Recommended Source:(Medex) SAIC Materials Source
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:MDF is a popular and cheap material at SAIC. MDF sold from SAIC is verified to be formaldehyde free. If purchasing externally, you will need to speak with staff before purchase and supply Safety Data Sheet information.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/8"1001.11200Light1231200Light50100Auto
1/4"1000.51200Medium2031200Medium85100Auto
1/2"1000.21200Dark3531200Dark8575Auto
Top of Page

Scratchboard

Recommended Source:Blick
Alternate Source:Artist and Craftsman Supply
Material information:Scratch board is a masonite board that is covered in a thin layer of clay. The clay is covered with a layer of india ink. When scratched lightly it reveals the clay underneath.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/8"1001.11200Light731200Light30100Auto
Medium1231200Medium100100Auto
Dark1631200Dark10050Auto
Top of Page

Acrylic

Recommended Source:SAIC Materials Source
Alternate Source:Blick
McMaster.com
Petersen Brother's Plastics
Inventables
A receipt may be required to verify material.
Material information:Acrylic is a popular material to cut and is one of the view plastics approved for laser cutting. If you mask the bottom of the material during cutting, you can get very clean cuts.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/16"802.25000Light1031200Light50100Auto
1/8"1001.25000Medium1631200Medium10050Auto
1/4"1000.65000Dark3031200Dark10025Auto
3/8"1000.445000
1/2"1000.225000
Top of Page

Mirrored Acrylic

Recommended Source:Petersen Brother's PlasticsA receipt may be required to verify material.
Alternate Source:Inventables
McMaster.com
A receipt may be required to verify material.
Material information:Mirrored acrylic should be single sided and cut with mirror side face down. Masking should be done on both sides of the material before cutting.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/16"802.25000Light1031200Light50100Auto
1/8"1001.25000Medium1631200Medium10050Auto
1/4"1000.65000Dark3031200Dark10025Auto
3/8"1000.445000
1/2"1000.225000
Top of Page

2-Tone Acrylic

Recommended Source:InventablesA receipt may be required to verify material.
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:2-tone acrylics allow you to engrave one color to reveal another. This material is sometimes a different blend of acrylic and may be meltier so avoid anything thicker than 1/4".
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
LaserMax 1/16"802.25000Light73120050100Auto
1/8"1001.25000Medium1531200Make multiple passes to achieve more depth due to material melting.
Dark3031200
Top of Page

Duralar

Recommended Source:BlickA receipt may be required to verify material.
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:Duralar is an acetate alternative that is good for stencils. Pay attention to material thickness when purchasing. Too thick and the material melts during cutting.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
.0075"182.21200Light331200Light30100Auto
Medium431200Medium35100Auto
Dark531200Dark40100Auto
Top of Page

Corrugated Cardboard

Recommended Source:SAIC Materials Source
Alternate Source:Blick
Office Supply Stores
Material information:Corrugated cardboard is a nice cheap material that cuts clean. Avoid thicker stock as it tends to burn a bit more. 1/8" is recommended.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
~1/8"753.31200Light831200Light50100Auto
Medium1231200Medium100100Auto
Dark1731200Dark10075Auto
Top of Page

Matboard / Chipboard / Thin Cardboard

Recommended Source:Blick
Alternate Source:Office Supply Stores
Material information:Matboard, chipboard, thin cardboard are all the same in terms of cutting results. Minimal burning with low power.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/16"462.51200Light831200Light50100Auto
1/8"922.51200Medium1331200Medium100100Auto
Dark2031200Dark10050Auto
Top of Page

20lb Paper

Recommended Source:Blick
Alternate Source:Office Supply Stores
Material information:20lb is standard printer paper weight. Utilizing the vacuum table for the Trotec is recommended.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
72.21200Light2.531200Light24100Auto
Medium331200Medium25100Auto
Dark3.531200Dark28100Auto
Dark for thicker papers only.
Top of Page

Cardstock

Recommended Source:Blick
Alternate Source:Office Supply Stores
Material information:Cardstock is generally thicker than regular paper. Utilizing the vacuum table for the Trotec is recommended.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
112.21200Light531200Light25100Auto
Medium731200Medium30100Auto
Dark931200Dark35100Auto
Dark for thicker papers only.
Top of Page

100% Cotton

Recommended Source:Jo-Ann FabricsPhotograph of the fabric on bolt may be requested.
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:Fabrics with 100% cotton cut clean with minimal power. Does not raster well. Verification of fabric blend may be requested.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
92.21200Light331200Light1522Auto
Medium431200Medium2022Auto
Dark531200Dark2522Auto
Top of Page

100% Silk

Recommended Source:Jo-Ann FabricsPhotograph of the fabric on bolt may be requested.
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:Silk requires very low power to cut and cuts very clean. Does not raster well. Verification of fabric blend may be requested.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
52.21200Light231200Light1022Auto
Medium331200Medium1322Auto
Dark431200Dark1522Auto
Top of Page

100% Wool

Recommended Source:McMaster
Alternate Source:Jo-Ann FabricsPhotograph of the fabric on bolt may be requested.
Material information:Wool felt smells terrible. Bagging after a cut is HIGHLY recommended. Avoid synthetic felts.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
502.21200Light1251200Light1022Auto
Medium1651200Medium1322Auto
Dark2051200Dark1522Auto
Top of Page

Vegetable Tanned Leather

Recommended Source:SAIC Materials Source
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:Vegetable tanned leather smells terrible. Bagging after a cut is HIGHLY recommended. Only vegetable tanned is allowed. Chrome tanned leather contains toxins.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
2-3 oz.551.761200Light631200Light30100Auto
5-6 oz.751.761200Medium831200Medium40100Auto
Dark1031200Dark70100Auto
Top of Page

Muslin

Recommended Source:SAIC Materials Source
Alternate Source:Jo-Ann FabricsPhotograph of the fabric on bolt may be requested.
Material information:This material cuts clean with minimal power but does not accept raster engraving well.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
9.52.21200Light431200Light21100Auto
Medium531200Medium24100Auto
Dark631200Dark26100Auto
Top of Page

Drill Cloth (Heavy Duty)

Recommended Source:SAIC Materials Source
Alternate Source:Jo-Ann FabricsPhotograph of the fabric on bolt may be requested.
Material information:This material cuts clean with minimal power but does not accept raster engraving well.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
132.21200Light531200Light25100Auto
Medium631200Medium30100Auto
Dark731200Dark33100Auto
Top of Page

Cotton Duck Canvas

Recommended Source:SAIC Materials Source
Alternate Source:Blick
Jo-Ann Fabrics
Photograph of the fabric on bolt may be requested.
Material information:Cotton duck canvas requires a bit more power than most fabrics but still offers clean cuts. Raster cuts will show up relatively well.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
202.21200Light531200Light25100Auto
Medium631200Medium30100Auto
Dark731200Dark33100Auto
Top of Page

Anodized Aluminum

Recommended Source:Inventables
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:With anodized aluminum you cannot cut through the material. You are only etching off the anodized coating.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
Light1231200Light23100Auto
Not PossibleMedium2231200Medium40100Auto
Dark2431200Dark10080Auto
Top of Page

Ceramic

Recommended Source:Blick
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:Ceramic raster engraves very nicely. Vector engraving tends to bead up on the surface and cutting is impossible.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
Light4021200Light10017.6Auto
Not PossibleMedium8021200Medium1006.6Auto
Dark10021200Dark1002.2Auto
Top of Page

Glass

Recommended Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:Glass raster engraves very nicely. Cutting is impossible and should not be attempted as it will shatter the glass.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
Light931200Light50100Auto
Not PossibleMedium1331200Medium75100Auto
Dark3031200Dark10080Auto
Top of Page

Laser Engravable Rubber

MANDATORY Source:SAIC Materials SourceThis material can only be bought at SAIC.
No outside vendors allowed!
Material information:The rubber sold at SAIC engraves well. Smells bad and is recommended to be bagged after cutting. Rubbers can be highly toxic so only buy from SAIC.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/8"1000.662500Light2531200Light100100Auto
Medium5031200Medium10075Auto
Dark7531200Dark10050Auto
Top of Page

Linoleum

Recommended Source:SAIC Materials Source
Alternate Source:Blick
McClain's Print Supplies
A receipt may be required to verify material.
Material information:Linoleum should only be cut if unmounted. Mounted linoleum is generally mounted on particle board that contains formaldehyde.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/8"1000.881200Light2031200Light50100Auto
Medium4031200Medium100100Auto
Dark6031200Dark10050Auto
Top of Page

EVA Foam

Recommended Source:BlickA receipt may be required to verify material.
Alternate Source:Michael'sA receipt may be required to verify material.
Material information:Thick EVA foam should be avoided as it melts. Thinner stock is fine and cuts nice. Darker engravings will get melty.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
2mm142.21200Light431200Light30100Auto
Medium631200Medium35100Auto
Dark1031200Dark4070Auto
Top of Page

Marble

Recommended Source:Johnsonplastics.com
Alternate Source:None Known. Check with staff before purchasing.
Material information:Marble cannot be cut and vector engraving beads up. Raster engravings cut very nicely.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
Light5031200Light100100Auto
Not PossibleMedium8031200Medium10050Auto
Dark10031200Dark10025Auto
Top of Page

Worbla (Natural Only)

Recommended Source:BlickA receipt may be required to verify material.
Alternate Source:cosplaysupplies.com
Halsey Onstage
A receipt may be required to verify material.
Material information:Worbla is a low temp thermo-plastic and wood blend. Can be manipulated under hot water. Do not attempt raster engraving as it warps badly.
Recommended Settings
Vector CutPowerSpeedHzVector EngravingPowerSpeedHzRaster EngravingPowerSpeedPPI
1/8"502.25000Light1531200
Medium2031200Do not attempt. Bad warping.
Dark2031200
Top of Page