Part 2: Cutting Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic With A Laser Engraver

By admin news
One question that comes up fairly often at Conde is, “Can you cut sublimation FRP with a laser?”. If you ask the people at Universal Woods, the people who make the Unisub products Condé sells, including Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic, they will say, “We don’t recommend it”. Still, CAN you cut your own shapes if you have a CO² laser engraver? And the answer is YES, you can - but there is an issue you will need to understand. When cutting your own shapes, you should always cut the shape before sublimating the image. This is to prevent any damage being done to the image. Being able to cut shapes is very helpful in offering customers custom shapes such as name badges, key fobs and small signs. When you cut fiberglass with a CO² laser, it creates a kind of nasty black tar-like substance where it cuts. This has to be removed to make the product sellable. To do that, a quick rub down of the edges with 200 grit sandpaper after it has been cut, should take care of the job. The task is simple and easy so long as you don’t make a lot of intricate cuts where you can’t get the sandpaper into to clean up the black goo. For the diehard that wants to cut those intricate designs, consider using a Dremel tool with a sanding disk to help do the cleanup. Alternate cutting methods: The manufacturer uses a CNC machine (a kind of computerized cutting machine similar to a router) but if you don’t have one, you can also use a very fine tooth blade in a bandsaw or a rotary engraver. Although some try to cut the material using a table saw, this is difficult since the material tends to chip easily and the natural “chatter” that often occurs on a table saw makes it difficult to get a smooth cut, plus cutting small pieces on a table saw can be very dangerous.