Safety and Materials

Laser Safety

  • If you don’t know what the material is, then don’t cut it. It can poison you, cause a fire, or damage the laser system
  • If a material you want to cut isn’t listed on the approved list below, please consult with a TA and have an MSDS sheet ready for the TA to look at.
  • Never override any safety interlocks on the laser.
  • A Bechtel Center TA must be present during the setup and operation of the laser.
  • Always make sure the exhaust fan is on and the blast gate is open during the operation of the laser.


Pre-approved materials:

  • Plywood, balsa, softwoods, hardwoods
  • MDF
  • Acrylic
  • HDPE – tends to melt for sheets thicker than 1/8″
  • Cardboard
  • Cotton fabric / felt / genuine leather
  • Paper / cardstock
  • Poster board / foam board
  • Trotec brand materials
  • Uncoated metals

Consult with the TA on:

  • Coated metals
  • ABS
  • PET / PETG
  • Carbon fiber
  • Any material containing carbon, zinc due to potential fire or poison
  • Any materials not listed elsewhere

Prohibited materials:

  • Any unknown material – you must know what you are cutting
  • Materials containing bromine – usually anything flame retardant
  • PVC
  • Vinyl
  • Fiberglass
  • Polystyrene / polypropylene foam
  • Polycarbonate or Lexan (except for engraving)

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