Common materials and their machinability.
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Material NameShort nameBrands, ...CategoryLasercutter (100w Co2)DangersUses
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Acrylonitrile butadiene styreneABSPLASTICSTOXICEmits cyanide gas
Electronic equipment cases (e.g. computer monitors, printers, keyboards), drainage pipe
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Alumina CeramicSTONE / CERAMICSUntested
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AluminiumMETALSEngrave using molybdenum disulfide
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Baked claySTONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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BetonplexWOOD / NATURALSCut 6mm / Engrave
Used in construction sites for support
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BoneSTONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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BrassMETALSWILL DAMAGE MACHINEReflective material
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Carbon fiber (Uncoated)COMPOSITESCut
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Chalk boardSTONE / CERAMICSUntested
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ChromiumMETALSWILL DAMAGE MACHINEReflective material
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CopperMETALSWILL DAMAGE MACHINEReflective material
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Cordierite CeramicSTONE / CERAMICSUntested
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CottonWOOD / NATURALSCut
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DiamondSTONE / CERAMICSUntested
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Fiberglass (Uncoated)COMPOSITESCut
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FuranPLASTICSUntested
Resin based on furfuryl alcohol used in foundry sands and biologically derived composites
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GlassSTONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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GoldMETALSWILL DAMAGE MACHINE
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GraniteSTONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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HardboardHDFWOOD / NATURALSCut 6mm / Engrave
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HempWOOD / NATURALSCut
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High impact polystyreneHIPSPLASTICSFIRE RISK
Refrigerator liners, food packaging, vending cups
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High-density polyethyleneHDPEPLASTICSFIRE RISK
Detergent bottles, milk jugs, and molded plastic cases
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Iron / SteelMETALSEngrave using molybdenum disulfide
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Kevlar (Uncoated)COMPOSITESCut
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KorkWOOD / NATURALSCut 12mm / Engrave
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LeadMETALSTOXIC
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LimestoneSTONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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Low-density polyethyleneLDPEPLASTICSUntested
Outdoor furniture, siding, floor tiles, shower curtains, clamshell packaging
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Maleimide/bismaleimidePLASTICSUntested
Used in high temperature composite materials
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MarbleSTONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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Medium density boardMDFWOOD / NATURALSCut 12mm / Engrave
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Melamine formaldehydeMFFormicaPLASTICSTOXICEmits formaldehyde gas
One of the aminoplasts, and used as a multi-colorable alternative to phenolics, for instance in moldings (e.g. break-resistance alternatives to ceramic cups, plates and bowls for children) and the decorated top surface layer of the paper laminates (e.g. Formica)
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Natural uncoated woodWOOD / NATURALSCut 18mm / Engrave
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NickelMETALSTOXIC
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Oriented strand boardOSBWOOD / NATURALSFUMES
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PaperWOOD / NATURALSCut, Engrave
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Phenolics (PF) or (phenol formaldehydes)
PFPLASTICSUntested
High modulus, relatively heat resistant, and excellent fire resistant polymer. Used for insulating parts in electrical fixtures, paper laminated products (e.g. Formica), thermally insulation foams. It is a thermosetting plastic, with the familiar trade name Bakelite, that can be molded by heat and pressure when mixed with a filler-like wood flour or can be cast in its unfilled liquid form or cast as foam (e.g. Oasis). Problems include the probability of moldings naturally being dark colors (red, green, brown), and as thermoset it is difficult to recycle.
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Plastarch materialPLASTICSUntested
Biodegradable and heat resistant, thermoplastic composed of modified corn starch
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Plastic or Oil coated woodWOOD / NATURALSFUMES, FIRE RISK
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PolyamidesPANylonsPLASTICSUntested
Fibers, toothbrush bristles, tubing, fishing line, low-strength machine parts such as engine parts or gun frames
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PolycarbonatePCPLASTICSUntested
Compact discs, eyeglasses, riot shields, security windows, traffic lights, lenses
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Polycarbonate/Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
PC/ABSPLASTICSUntested
A blend of PC and ABS that creates a stronger plastic used in car interior and exterior parts, and mobile phone bodies
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PolyepoxideEpoxyPLASTICSUntested
Used as an adhesive, potting agent for electrical components, and matrix for composite materials with hardeners including amine, amide, and boron trifluoride
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PolyesterPESPLASTICSUntestedFibers, textiles
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PolyetheretherketonePEEKPLASTICSUntested
Strong, chemical- and heat-resistant thermoplastic, biocompatibility allows for use in medical implant applications, aerospace moldings. One of the most expensive commercial polymers.
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PolyetherimidePEIUltemPLASTICSUntested
A high temperature, chemically stable polymer that does not crystallize
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PolyethylenePEPLASTICSUntested
Wide range of inexpensive uses including supermarket bags, plastic bottles
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Polyethylene terephthalatePETPLASTICSUntested
Carbonated drinks bottles, peanut butter jars, plastic film, microwavable packaging
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Polyethylene/Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
PE/ABSPLASTICSUntested
A slippery blend of PE and ABS used in low-duty dry bearings
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PolyimideKaptonPLASTICSCut
A high temperature plastic
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Polylactic acidPLAPLASTICSUntested
A biodegradable, thermoplastic found converted into a variety of aliphatic polyesters derived from lactic acid which in turn can be made by fermentation of various agricultural products such as cornstarch, once made from dairy products
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Polymethyl methacrylate PMMAAcrylic, PlexiPLASTICSUntested
Contact lenses (of the original "hard" variety), glazing (best known in this form by its various trade names around the world; e.g. Perspex, Oroglas, Plexiglas), aglets, fluorescent light diffusers, rear light covers for vehicles. It forms the basis of artistic and commercial acrylic paints when suspended in water with the use of other agents.
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PolypropylenePPPLASTICSUntested
Bottle caps, drinking straws, yogurt containers, appliances, car fenders (bumpers), plastic pressure pipe systems
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PolystyrenePSPLASTICSUntested
Foam peanuts, food containers, plastic tableware, disposable cups, plates, cutlery, compact-disc (CD) and cassette boxes
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PolysulfonePLASTICSUntested
High temperature melt processable resin used in membranes, filtration media, water heater dip tubes and other high temperature applications
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PolytetrafluoroethylenePTFETeflonPLASTICSUntested
Heat-resistant, low-friction coatings, used in things like non-stick surfaces for frying pans, plumber's tape and water slides.
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PolyurethanesPUPLASTICSCut 6mm, Engrave
Cushioning foams, thermal insulation foams, surface coatings, printing rollers (Currently sixth or seventh most commonly used plastic material, for instance the most commonly used plastic in cars)
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Polyvinyl chloride PVCPLASTICSTOXICEmits chrorine gas
Plumbing pipes and guttering, shower curtains, window frames, flooring
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Polyvinylidene chloridePVDCSaranPLASTICSUntestedEmits chrorine gasFood packaging
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PorcelainSTONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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RubberWOOD / NATURALSCut 12mm / Engrave
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SandstoneSTONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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Silicon Carbide CeramicSTONE / CERAMICSUntested
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SiliconePLASTICSUntested
Heat resistant resin used mainly as a sealant but also used for high temperature cooking utensils and as a base resin for industrial paints
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SilverMETALSWILL DAMAGE MACHINEReflective material
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SlateSTONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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Steatite Ceramic (Magnesium)STONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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Synthetic rubberPLASTICSTOXICEmits chrorine gas
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TileSTONE / CERAMICSEngrave
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TinMETALSEngrave using molybdenum disulfide
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TitaniumMETALSEngrave using molybdenum disulfide
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Triplex / MultiplexWOOD / NATURALSCut 12mm / Engrave
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Urea-formaldehydeUFPLASTICSUntested
One of the aminoplasts and used as a multi-colorable alternative to phenolics. Used as a wood adhesive (for plywood, chipboard, hardboard) and electrical switch housings.
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Wood composite boardWOOD / NATURALSCut 10mm / Engrave
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Wood veneerWOOD / NATURALSCut 12mm / Engrave
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WoolWOOD / NATURALSCut
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ZincMETALSUntested
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ZirconiumSTONE / CERAMICSUntested
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Leather WOOD / NATURALSCut 4mm, Engrave
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Magnetic sheetCOMPOSITESCut 2mm, Engrave
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MylarCOMPOSITESCut
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