Laser engraving painted wood

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Does painted wood count as ‘treated’?

I’ve been reading around on the internet (with all associated caveats). Various sources suggest that engraving painted wood is safe, e.g., Full Spectrum Laser: https:/be OK to engrave?/

The main risk with paint seems to be volatile organics. On fully dry paint, this shouldn’t be a risk as, well, they are volatile…

What’s SLMS policy on this? Would it be OK if I engraved some wood that I have painted with a water-based acrylic emulsion with airflow after it is fully dry? Assuming that material safety data sheet doesn’t show PVC or other known corrosive/toxic additives?

I’m not a lasertech but having done a fair bit of research, and following Trotec’s own international YouTube channels, the Speedy 300 is perfectly fine for engraving painted materials as they often demonstrate. Acrylic-based paints should be fine, as well as paint sprayed materials. I imagine as long as you avoid lead-based asbestos-infused beryllium-doped explosive anthrax nuclear powered singing and dancing paints you should be good. When in doubt about a certain paint, maybe ask specifically about that one.

Edit: Ultimately, do follow advice/rules from laser techs.


Damn, I was counting on engraving some LBAIBPEANPS&D painted coasters later.

But seriously, cheers. That’s what I thought, but thought worth checking.

Mostly up to the @lasertechs to advise us on what is safe.!

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I’m one of the laser techs.

This is my suggested approach, in order of operation:

  1. Look at the permitted/forbidden list on the Tools Page.
  2. Look at the datasheet for the product and see if it is specifically listed as “laser safe”.
  3. Look at the Trotec youtube channels (USA, Canada) and see if they cover the user of the material.
  4. Look at the official Trotec materials shop for an equivalent material.
  5. Ask on discourse.
  6. If you are still unclear, ask the laser techs for “permission” to experiment

Hope that helps.

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Here we go, from Trotec Canada:

Here they apply latex paint to the wood prior to cutting (as I understand it, ‘latex’ paint in North America is emulsion in the UK).

So I’m going to take that as painted wood is OK.