Laser cutting HDPE or nylon

Are either of these banned/allowed? I’m trying to machine some small oddly shaped slots and milling them is giving me some issues, thought lasering could be a good alternative.



sawmill creek thread about HDPE which also alludes to an important point – none of the common adhesives stick HDPE.

I didn’t think plastic was allowed, nylon is basically plastic.

Unfortunately ‘plastics’ isn’t a useful term here: it covers hundreds of polymers with vastly varying properties. Acrylic for example, is a ‘plastic’. That’s why it’s important to know what material you’re working with and ask Herr if it’s not on the list.

Telhese are both technically perfect for laser cutting.

This highlights the fact the the wiki really needs updating: Laser Cutter - Trotec Speedy 300

Currently we don’t have a single permitted material listed, and the prohibited list is confusing/outdated.
If @lasertechs can answer the OP that would be a quick resolution for Calum.

In the past we never had such a draconian policy of not allowing people to cut materials unless they asked. Instead we said you needed to find out for yourself.

Yes, that makes sense for materials not on the permitted list. Less sense when we don’t actually have a list.

In short: ‘if you want to cut something not on the permitted list please find evidence that it’s safe and suitable. The @lasertechs can then decide to approve the material and we can have an ever expanding ‘permitted’ list.’ Makes sense to me.

I’ve also seen lasertechs talk about careful experimentation with materials too.

I’m not a lasertech though, and it’s really up to them how they want to run the processes.

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Any word from @lasertechs ? I would love to come do some cutting in the next couple of days, thanks!

HDPE should be fine, as should nylon. Getting the right settings may be tricky, HDPE can be a bit melty… but they shouldn’t damage the machine.

The only things that need to be avoided at all costs are things which release chlorine or other nasty gasses which will corrode the lens and/or other components within the laser. PVC is definitely a no-no for this reason.

Great thanks.

@Calum_Nicoll no worries. Just make sure you’ve got enough materials for it to go wrong (both of those things are quite melty… @boldaslove was trying to cut some thin polyprop the other day and found it difficult). And also factor in time to clean up the machine afterwards if it does melt and stick to the bed :slight_smile: