Which laser cutting material for which applications?

Which laser cutting material for which application?

Posted By on Jul 30, 2019 | 0 comments

You may know Sculpteo as a 3D printing service, but do you know that we are also providing a laser cutting service? From Acrylic to Cardboard, our materials offer a wide variety of uses and applications for your laser cutting projects. Laser cutting technology is great for both technical parts or aesthetic uses. Laser-cut plastic, or wood, and start to make the most of our materials for laser cutting.

Yes, there are plenty of materials a laser cutter can cut, but which laser cutting material should you choose for which application? How can Sculpteo help you develop your project? Let’s find out!

 

  

POM: An Engineering Thermoplastic For Technical Parts

Here is a great material if you need a unique and engineering material: POM, also called Delrin.

 

Two POM gears designed for technical uses

Two POM gears designed for technical uses

This engineering thermoplastic was our first laser cutting material entirely dedicated to technical uses. POM can endure large amounts of strain and friction. It is very resistant and experiences very little shrinkage. Moreover, POM is weatherproof, waterproof and resistant to many solvents.

 

Not to be used for aesthetic purposes

Its white opaque surface is not very aesthetic and often covered by little scratches but its mechanical properties are unequaled for a plastic! If you need a white plastic for aesthetic uses, you should probably check our acrylic material.

 

Can POM parts be laser engraved?

Engraving on POM isn’t very aesthetic. It will come out as very light, sometimes barely visible. It can be used for serial numbers and post-processing marks.

To learn about our POM material, you can visit our dedicated POM material page.

 

Decorative Acrylics For Your Laser Cutting Projects

A large laser-cut acrylic S from Sculpteo

A large laser-cut acrylic S from Sculpteo

Technical possibilities and colors available

When it comes to aesthetic objects and surfaces, we recommend using acrylic. These Plexiglas sheets are covered by foil during the laser cutting process, which protects the surface from scratches. Available in many colors from opaque to clear, acrylic is a beautiful material for decorative objects, company signs, and LED covers thanks to our diffuse acrylic.

 

The acrylics have limited technical applications and are mostly used for decorative objects. Do you need orange acrylic? Or green acrylic? To discover the 85 acrylic possibilities (with different colors and thicknesses), please visit our Acrylic material page.

 

Mirrored Acrylic: The Resistant Laser Cutting Material You Need  

Laser-cut mirrored acrylic part

Laser-cut mirrored acrylic part

 

Our Mirrored Acrylic material is a clear acrylic covered with a mirrored film on the side. Mirrored Acrylic combines the beauty of mirror glass with the benefits of the acrylic material. 

Continuous Cast Acrylic sheets are made with the same process used to make sheets of glass providing excellent optical clarity and high transparency. They are also easier to ship and handle as a result of their strength compared to other acrylic manufacturing processes.

Using Mirrored Acrylic for surface engraving is a really good choice. Indeed, the technology allows for beautiful and highly precise designs to be created on the surface. The laser nicely cuts the mirrored film which is then pulled off and the unique properties are revealed. 

Regarding the applications of Mirrored Acrylic, this laser cutting material can be used from displays to signage, medical devices, lighting, electronics, and many other applications! It can even light up when exposed to LED lights, and is quite resistant to crazing and or cracking.

 

MDF: Technical and Decorative Wood

An MDF box created by our designers with a living hinge

An MDF box created by our designers with a living hinge

Do you know that you can laser cut wood for resistant and aesthetic parts? Laser cutting is also fitted for woods such as MDF. Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) is our wood engineering material. It is resistant thanks to wax and a resin binder mixed with wood fibers. With laser cutting, the aspect of MDF parts is very good, especially thanks to our several color choices. The only thing to keep in mind is that the sides of the part will be burnt.

What about laser engraving for MDF? Laser engraving renders fairly well on MDF, but won’t achieve the precision and beauty that you can achieve with our next material, plywood.

Regarding the possible applications of this laser cutting material, the furniture industry is the main application. MDF material is often used as a structure for furniture and drawers. 

MDF can be used for both technical and decorative purposes but we recommend to check the material technical specificities on the MDF material page to be sure that it fits your project.

MDF is available in 7 tints (natural, black, gray, light gray, yellow, green and red) and 4 thickness up to 8 mm. Get ready to make your choice!

 

A Decorative Wood: Plywood for laser cutting

A close view of a piece of plywood being laser engraved

A close view of a piece of plywood being laser engraved

 

Plywood laser cutting material is available in two varieties: Poplar and Okoumé. This type of wood can serve many purposes from structure to aesthetic objects. It is often used by builders, designers or artists for its mechanical resistance (structures, buildings), its flexibility (furniture), its aesthetic beauty, its water resistance, and its lightness. It is better used for decorative purposes than for technical parts.

If you need to use laser engraving, Plywood is the perfect material for you. Indeed, our plywood retains its natural grain, which makes each part unique. Laser engraving renders extremely well on both our plywoods.   

To learn more and use plywood for your laser cutting projects, check our Plywood material page, and feel free to upload a design!

 

The Cheapest and Multi-Purpose Material: Cardboard

Some laser cut business card in cardboard

Some laser cut business card in cardboard

 

Finally, we keep the best-known material for the end: cardboard. This paper-like material has various properties depending on how it has been manufactured. At Sculpteo, we offer 3 types of cardboard:

 

  • Corrugated cardboard (simple and double)
  • Gray compact cardboard
  • Cellulose compact cardboard

 

Each of these Cardboard materials is used for packaging prototypes manufacture, modelization (shapes, drawings) and more. Be careful when making your choice, Cardboard is exclusively used for decorative objects as it is not weather resistant.

Laser engraving renders very well on cardboard. Line engraving is so thin it looks like it’s printed in the material. Don’t you think that it’s time to use laser machining to create your business cards?

As you can see, there is a wide range of laser cutting material, you can laser cut wood or plastic quite easily with Sculpteo. Did you choose your laserable material? Let us know, feel free to share your views with us. You can now upload your file on our online laser cutting service, and receive your parts in a few days. 

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