We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about whether or not Precision Board HDU can be laser engraved. It absolutely can! We decided to take a closer look at laser cutters in general and how they interact with our HDU material. Our good friend Jim Dawson from Synergy Sign & Graphics LLC tested out his 75 watt Vytek laser cutter on a few different densities of Precision Board HDU and sent us the results.
Jim used his eight year old laser at 100% power, and though it works really well, he thought the newer machines would work faster. He did two passes at 30 inches per second on the PBLT-15. Changed to 10 inches per second with two passes on the PBLT-18. “I ran two passes on the 15 lb. to see how deep it would cut the material, then changed it to one pass on the PBLT-30 and three passes on the PBLT-40 at the slower speed so I could get better detail on the higher densities. You’re not going to get a ton of detail in the lower densities, so if that’s what you’re looking for, start at the 30 pound density or higher depending on what you’re going after.”
Jim prefers the laser for projects requiring finite detail, especially on smaller size designs. “Anytime you’re doing something super small, you can use laser. You can also have text that is very small. We had some pretty impressive results in the PBLT-30 and PBLT-40 samples engraving a 4” by 4” Coastal Enterprises logo.”
Some benefits of laser cutters:
- Lasers are extremely versatile, able to cut a wide variety of materials and need no additional setup, i.e. chemical additives or post processing.
- Ease of use, with software packages compatible with most graphics programs.
- Low energy consumption and speedier processing times.
- Minimal equipment maintenance with low wear and tear due to no-contact process.
- Extreme precision and detail.
- Reduced waste and by-product because output is vapors which can be exhausted or ventilated with an air-filtration system.
- Consistent quality level due to ability to save parameters of specific jobs and materials in database.
- No material finishing required.
Source: “Advantages of lasers versus other methods of cutting, marking and engraving signs”
You may be concerned with the toxicity of using lasers on Precision Board, but you shouldn’t be. According to a study conducted by Universal Laser Systems on the effluent created from laser cutting several different densities of Precision Board indicated that, “the effluent stream is primarily composed of carbon monoxide, acetone, propene, and acetonitrile. The concentration of the detected compounds did not exceed their respective OSHA PEL at any level of filtration during this study.” Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) are federal regulations that dictate safe chemical exposure levels.
You can read more HERE about the testing methods used and see photos of the various densities after laser-cutting.
Precision Board is perfect for laser cutting and engraving, so get out there and laser it up! Laser cutting foam HDU is a great processing method, so click here for a free sample and start laser cutting Precision Board today.