Brilliant idea of project with my Laser cutter

I’m sure I’m not the first to think about this, but I haven’t seen it yet anywhere and I’m happy I thought about it :slight_smile:

This week-end while shopping at Walmart with my wife, we saw these vinyl rolls that are used in vinyl cutter machines. We always wanted to get one of these machines to play around with - you can create really nice things with them.

So, looking at the roll, I told myself that this is probably something that my Falcon 2 22w could do easily! …read on to find out :stuck_out_tongue:

For reference, the vinyl I’m talking about is this exact roll I bought at Walmart, but that you can easily find online or in craft shops -

I started by cutting a small strip from the roll so I could make tests.

That brought the first issue - being rolled up, the strip was all curled up. I had to work hard to get it uncurled so it could lay flat on the bed. I didn’t want to have the parts starting to curve up once they were cut!

Once I got it flat, I created a cut grid in LightBurn - I always design my own because for some reason, I can never get the built-in laser test tool to work. So, I started with values I thought would work, based on tests I did on a regular 20 pounds sheet of white paper (which by the way works great!).

I was lucky because the values I’ve put in were just great: 3000 mm/minutes & 80% power. The nice thing is that this setting only cuts the vinyl, leaving the back sheet almost untouched! Way easier to remove the cut parts, and it makes it all stay together. Other advantage is that the cut parts won’t start curling up if you didn’t get the sheet to be totally flat.

In the image below, on the left with the black background is the sheet of vinyl. The white sheet is the cut-out model transferred on a piece of paper (you can see the vinyl is still curled up a bit!)

The cut is extremely precise and gives a fantastic result!

Couple notes here:

  • It smells really bad while cutting, so make sure you have good ventilation
  • The speed/power will most likely have to be changed if you use different colors, or even a different brand. You can however use this as a starting point.
  • Even though the curl in the paper can be worked out, you might have it easier if you buy the vinyl in sheets instead of rolls - there are plenty to choose from online or at your craft local store.
  • You could make yourself a frame to put on top of curled up sheet so it would help it stay flat - you’d cut inside that frame

Another success - It opens another whole set of possibilities with this wonderfull tool!

Enjoy :slight_smile:


That came out really good… Like it… :+1:

Hi, I had been excited to use it for that too, but I learned that vinyl contains PVC, and is fairly toxic. So, the “smells really bad” is bad. Chlorine gas and hydrochloric acid. Bad for you and the machine. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

BTW, this is my first post, lol. I just got my falcon 2 22W yesterday and it’s my first laser cutter, I can’t wait to really get started. on it.

I agree with you about the fumes being bad for health.
That’s why I have a vent going outside with the fumes.
I’d say I have to upgrade it for wood cutting specially as it makes a lot of smoke.
For the vinyl it’s not too bad as the laser doesn’t “stay” to long so there is not much smoke - but as we all agree, you better have good ventilation to expell the fumes.

You should absolutely use non-PVC vinyl if you are going to do this. For example, see the 3M Envision Wrap Films.

Take a look at before doing any more vinyl cutting. In particular:

The most commonly used form of vinyl contains PVC, which, when heated to high temperatures by a high-powered laser beam, combusts and reacts with oxygen in the environment to produce highly toxic chlorine gas and hydrochloric acid. These byproducts are not only harmful to your health but can also damage your laser cutter. Short-term exposure to chlorine gas causes mild to severe eye and nose irritation, wheezing, and other respiratory problems. Long-term exposure can have fatal implications. Similarly, hydrochloric acid is a highly corrosive compound that, in its concentrated form, can easily damage your skin and the metal parts of a laser cutter.

I found a video that shows the effects that vinyl cutting has on a laser and it isn’t pretty:

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Oh! Thanks for the info and research!
I also found this video showing how to test for “safe” material to cut.
It doesn’t only apply to vinyl - can apply to any material.

I’ll sure make that test!

Thanks again for this!

EDIT : Sorry - missed the link :

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@Zolt, what video are you referring to?

Maybe this one? Testing Laser Safe Materials - Episode 8 - Glowforge Guide

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Sorry for the confusion - I forgot to add the link.
I’ve edited my comment (above) with the link this time.

@Zolt, great video! Nice and short. I’m adding that to my routine when I’m cutting unknown materials.

I mainly cut wood, although I did cut some suede leather last week for a drawer bottom liner. Even with proper ventilation, man did that stink. The garage smelt like burnt hair for days after.