On the wiki PETG is listed as something that should not be used in the laser cutter. But when I research online, I see lots of people using it. It’s one of the materials pololu offers laser cutting services for.
Does anyone know why it’s listed as something not to cut?
One possible reason I see is some sites describe it as being very stinky. Perhaps too stinky for the fab room?
Why am I interested in this instead of acrylic? I’m looking to recreate a Christmas card project I did a few years ago, with more professional results and less hand cramping. PETG is less brittle than acrylic so it might survive better in the mail and costs at McMaster-carr $1.97 for a 12x12 sheet instead of $5 for acrylic.
Beside stinky/toxic fumes, other reasons not to cut a material are tendency to catch on fire; tendency to melt and stick to the cutting grid; and buildup of particulates on laser optics. My MSDS search turned up fire as a possible concern for PETG. Personally, I think it would be reasonable to test out a small cut, then proceed if these issues don’t happen. This should get group consensus first though.
ABS is also a very stinky plastic when cut, and some places (ATX hackerspace) outlaw cutting it. We don’t have any rules against ABS currently…our exhaust is pretty good so usually you don’t smell much until you open the laser cutter. Then it’s a good idea to leave the pieces somewhere like the dirty room to outgas.
I’ve decided that I don’t want to send out stinky Christmas cards even if PETG cuts fine.