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The laser cutters can cut materials up to 1/2" thick, although with some denser materials, no thicker than 1/8" is suggested.  The following is a list of acceptable materials with some suggested settings for various acceptable materials, however, exact settings will vary so a materials test should always be performed. The settings provided below should be used only as a reference, since they are settings previously used by our team, but won't necessarily work the same way with your own material.

Also take into consideration that due to natural variations in the pressure of the vacuum, it is expected that the laser cutters might lose power over the day. For example, If you cut something in the morning, it might need a little more power if you cut again in the afternoon.

Prohibited Materials

  • Lexan
  • Polyurethane
  • PVC*
  • Styrene

  • Polycarbonate
  • Vinyl
  • ABS (3D prints are made with this)
  • Foam Core
  • Foamboard
  • Metal**
  • Chloride-based materials

Please note that the Co-op sells material that looks like acrylic but is made of PVC and styrene. These materials destroy the optics of the laser and lens, effectively rendering the laser cutter useless.
** Our laser cutters can etch certain metals; they cannot cut metal.

Questionable Materials - Consult with Tech Desk Staff for approval 

  • Wood, ie. plywood with potentially flammable adhesives 

  • Soft materials like leather  

  • Reflective materials

The use of prohibited materials could result in the material melting to the laser cutter bed or the release of toxic fumes.  Due to the severity of risk, cutting prohibited materials will result in loss of lab privileges and fines for damages.  

For more information on materials that can possibly be cut (not all materials listed are approved by SOA IT), please see:

Another valuable resource:

Acceptable Materials - Epilog Fusion Pro 48 CO2 80W 

Please do a materials test before every new cutting session to determine the proper levels for your material.

The links below go to the Laser Cutting Shapes website, which is a laser cutting service. These links are only to give context and examples of projects. 



Cut (Vector)Score/Etch (Vector except when noted)
Quality & Safety Notes
Acrylic (Plexiglas is a brand of this)

3/32" (2.4 mm)

Vector cutting table (cross-hatched) must be used. A general rule of thumb for cutting acrylic is to relatively slow speed and high power; this produces a more flame-polished edge.

There are two types of acrylic: cast is better for engraving (it creates a frosted look when engraved) and extruded acrylic produces a much better flame polished edge.

1/8" (3 mm)1210010030010040

1/4" (6 mm)610010030010060Note from manual: Adjusting the standard focus distance so it is closer to the lens by about .080” (2 mm) will produce better edge quality when cutting 1/4” (6mm) acrylic and thicker. Two passes can be used for cutting thicker materials.
3/8" (9.5 mm)310010050010055
AlumamarkEngravingNONONO30010020Engrave only. Alumamark settings PDF.
Anodized Aluminum

Photos/ClipartNONONO40010035Engrave only. This material is reflective, so avoid using full power. Use low power and high speed for crisp edges.

1/16" (1.5 mm)

Charred edges, orange tinting without protective paper masking.
1/8" (3 mm)459050

3/16" (4.5 mm)3510050

Brass (Painted)Painted solid brassNONONO30010025Engrave only. Must be painted. Not magnetic. Ask for assistance from the Tech Desk when etching this material. Use low power and high speed. Blue paints are more difficult to remove. If the finished product has a shadow, use alcohol or lacquer thinner to clean the edges. This material can be tricky: if it's polished before being painted, you'll see a polished finished product. If the brass isn't polished before being painted, the result will be dull.
Painted brass-coated steelNONONO50010015Engrave only. Must be painted. Magnetic. Ask for assistance from the Tech Desk when etching this material. Use low power and high speed. Blue paints are more difficult to remove. If the finished product has a shadow, use alcohol or lacquer thinner to clean the edges. This material is steel that has been coated with brass, that brass layer is polished, then a layer of lacquer is applied, then the paint is applied. When you etch it, you're exposing the polished brass that is protected from oxidation by the lacquer coating. This material is preferred over painted solid brass.
Bristol2 ply

4 ply


1 ply1002550501008
2 ply10050505010015
4 ply4590505010050
Cork1/8" (3 mm)NONONO30010030Engrave only.
1/4" (6 mm)NONONO5010030
Corrugated cardboard1/8" (3 mm)10060505010010
1/4" (6 mm)6060505010020
Felt1/8" (3 mm)

5010040Natural fibers will have charred edges and a strong smell.
NONONO20010015Engrave only. Jarvis dithering pattern and using 80% grayscale for black is recommended.
NONONO30035100Engrave only. Be sure that your material isn't actually leaded crystal. Jarvis dithering pattern and using 80% grayscale for black is recommended. Frosting is the result of etching this material. To dissipate heat from the engraving process, use either a wet sheet of newspaper/paper towel or a thin coat of dish soap.
Leather1/8" (3 mm)601005030010020

MarblePhoto EngravingNONONO30010035Engrave only. 
Text EngravingNONONO50010045
Mat Board (Crescent is a brand of this)

Museum Board (Strathmore is a brand of this)1 ply10027.550501006
4 ply52550

Will have some char on edges.

VariousNONONO30010020Ask for approval from the Tech Desk when etching this material. 
2-Layer Laser Engraveable 1/16" (1.5 mm)104010030010040

Plywood1/4" (6mm) max1210010108050Recent incidents of fire indicate that this material requires caution and additional supervision if cutting is attempted. Additionally, glue and air pockets may prevent complete cut-through in some areas. MDF is recommended instead of plywood.
Stainless Steel with Cermark Coating
NONONO50045100Engrave only. Must be coated with Cermark metal marking spray.

Thin Veneer50801050070100

Note from manual: When cutting wood, multiple passes may allow cutting of thicker materials. Using Color Mapping you can adjust the focus point between passes down to the center point of the cut for the best results. Always use the additional Sweep Air Assist when cutting.

1/8" (3 mm)251001030060100
1/4" (6mm)131001050065100
3/8" (9.5 mm)71001050030100
1/2" (12 mm)410010

***Ask for approval/assistance for the exact plastic you want to cut.

ATX Hackerspace also has a good table of materials for laser cutting reference: