CO2 laser, PVC cutting?


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    Default CO2 laser, PVC cutting?

    Hi,

    I've read several times that PVC cannot be cut/engraved by a CO2 laser due to high toxic fumes created. Can anyone explain this? What's the subproduct so toxic? I assume chloride related?

    Is there any way to accomplish this with high volume exhausts or something?

    Thanks in advance,

    Lucas

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    Where are you going to exhaust the fumes? Just because you get it out of your shop doesn't mean it's not dangerous stuff for someone hanging around outside your shop. You might get away with small pieces once in a blue moon, but it's not pretty stuff, and it will corrode just about any metal surface in your laser.

    Hi-TecDesigns.com -- Automotive Lighting Systems


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    Hi MacGyver,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. I'm not trying to be into 'this can't be that toxic' point of view, because every written reference I found, states clearly that fumes are toxic/corroding.

    I'm trying to understand where/why toxicity comes from, and if can't be handled by high volume exhaust/vacuum, maybe through some HEPA or carbon filters before the air leaves the shop.

    My shop is also located in a spot where no human being (apart of me) is located in 6 km radius, but I assume that this behaviour can not be 'environmetal friendly' anyway..

    Lucas



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    You can use the exhaust but your machine is going to corrode, get rust...



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    Exclamation PVC laser cutting

    I (once) tried cutting Lexan which is a nightmare...I immediately almost dissolved a lens, and researched and found out that hydrochloric acid is the result of laser cutting polycarbonate;
    My exhaust is from the bottom, and I lost my beam partway through a cut, got this huge baffling *poof* of yucky thick yellow smoke that went right up to the lens, and just melted it. I guess that was maybe the beam couldn't even penetrate it, and maybe it deflected, combined withthe acid, not sure exactly what caused that... I do know I will never cut that stuff again; also, you will ruin your exhaust system; my customer had no problem switching to acrylic; I would have refused the job otherwise. Hope this helps



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    Quote Originally Posted by vdKroon View Post
    I'm trying to understand where/why toxicity comes from, and if can't be handled by high volume exhaust/vacuum, maybe through some HEPA or carbon filters before the air leaves the shop.
    When PVC is heated it releases chlorine gas, this mixes with the moisture in the air and the result is hydrochloric acid. It is toxic to humans and corrosive to most anything it comes in contact with. I am sure you could filter it out of the air and everything would be fine... except everything between the source and the filter that is. Even a very high volume exhaust would probably just lengthen the time it takes to do damage but it won't stop the damage from happening. You are much better off mechanically cutting pvc instead of lasering it.

    Gary



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    Quote Originally Posted by StickChick View Post
    I (once) tried cutting Lexan which is a nightmare...I immediately almost dissolved a lens, and researched and found out that hydrochloric acid is the result of laser cutting polycarbonate;
    Polycarbonate absolutely does not produce hydrochloric acid. Here is an excerpt from an msds for polycarbonate:
    Section 5 Fire Fighting Measures
    Flash ignition temperature: 630°C / 1166°F
    Unusual fire, explosion hazards: None known.
    Hazardous combustion products: Hazardous combustion products may include intense
    heat, dense black smoke, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon fragments.
    Special fire fighting instructions: Fire fighters and others exposed to products of
    combustion should wear full protective clothing including self-contained breathing
    apparatus. Fire fighting equipment should be thoroughly decontaminated after use.

    You are right about the thick yellow smoke, but it's nothing more dangerous than anything else you laser. Your problems were not a result of the fumes, more than likely they were from soot build up on the lens.

    Gary



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    Thank you all for your comments, I'll stick with my cnc router to do PVC.. Which other plastics besides acrylic can be laser cut?



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    polystyrene, polypropylene, etc, the forbiden is PVC .
    I heard some warning about kevlar.



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    Nah, kevlar only produces cyanide gas...shouldn't be too harsh on your optics...



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    Smile

    we have ever engraved on the PVC cards before. It's workable, although the smell is not good



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    Quote Originally Posted by GWEIKE-LASER View Post
    we have ever engraved on the PVC cards before. It's workable, although the smell is not good
    If you smell it enough the problem goes away - that's the good news... The bad news is that it goes away because you are dead...



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    We cut Kydex, which is a pvc derivative all day, every day and it will corrode cabon steel. But aluminum and stainless steel is unaffected. We are in the process of having stainless rails built but we have been cutting for 8 mo. now with no unforseeable problems. Yes it does stink from time to time but it won't kill you any faster than alot of other stuff out there. filtering is the key.



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    does anyone have a list of chlorinated plastics? (i.e. pvc, sentra, etc.)



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    Laser after working with PVC

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails CO2 laser, PVC cutting?-pvc-smert-laseru-1web-jpg   CO2 laser, PVC cutting?-pvc-smert-laseryu-2web-jpg  


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    Exclamation HCL from PVC

    Quote Originally Posted by LaserImage View Post
    Polycarbonate absolutely does not produce hydrochloric acid. Here is an excerpt from an msds for polycarbonate:
    Section 5 Fire Fighting Measures
    Laser cutting does not "burn" (oxide) the PVC; it vaporizes and decomposes the bulk of the material. Very little is actually burned (oxidized), therefore the "Fire Fighting Measures" listed in the MSDS are of little use.

    Web searching the phrase "Laser Decomposition of PVC" and you will find a number of papers (eg: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/j...TRY=1&SRETRY=0 - from Bell Labs) which CLEARLY report that the major PVC laser-induced decomposition products include: HCl, Benzene and Toluene.

    The HCl will, as other post state and photographically show, will rot your steel based (including Stainless) components (Al components will show pitting after long-term exposure to Cl based agents).

    The Benzene will, over long term exposure cause damage to your bone marrow and red blood cell count.

    Toluene, in moderate concentrations, will make you high; so you might not care about the effects of the HCl and Benzene you are creating.



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    It is not very good to cut PVC using laser cutting machine,becuase it will hurt your machine quickly.

    We offer best quality and wonderful service.
    welcome to Zhiya.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Litografa View Post
    Laser after working with PVC
    Wow!

    How long did it take to look like that?



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    i think the best way to cut it with cnc router bits.



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    Pictures is after ONLY 3 days of PVC cutting - about 50 hours



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CO2 laser, PVC cutting?

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CO2 laser, PVC cutting?