Laser cutter/Materials

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This page contains a list of materials that can be cut or engraved on the 'NEW' Nottinghack A0 laser cutter from Just Add Sharks, along with information on cutting speeds and power settings. There is a more complete list of materials pinned above the laser computer, although you should be aware that this list does not contain every material known to man, so will be incomplete. If you are uncertain as to whether a material is safe to use, first look up it's material safety data sheet (MSDS), which should be available online, and/or ask on the Google Group or #laser channel on the Nottinghack Slack.

You can see a reasonably complete list of what is laser safe here and here.

There is usually a small supply of laser-safe perspex (acrylic), mdf and ply available for sale next to the laser cutter, up to 600x400mm in size. A wider selection of sizes, colours and thicknesses is available online, although the stock in the 'space is sourced from Kitronik, which is based near the Glaisdale Royal Mail depo in Nottingham.

The values on this page have been tested, but are guidelines. Always stay with the laser when it is running, and use your common sense!


  • Vinyl, PVC - Contains chlorine, which generates glass and metal damaging acid fumes when burned!
  • Polycarbonate - clear polycarbonate looks just like acrylic!
  • Anything that produces fumes, e.g. glued woods (except laser-safe MDF/ply), many types of plastic.


Greyscale Engrave

Monoscale Engrave


Type Power Speed
3mm birch ply 65% 55mm/s
3mm birch ply 65% 55mm/s


Paper and Card

Go fast and run test cuts! Then help us by documenting what worked for you.



Type Power Speed (mm/s)
3mm Acrylic 65% (see whiteboard)
5mm Acrylic 65% (see whiteboard)


Anodised aluminium

Anodised aluminium can be etched (removing the anodising) at 20% power, 600mm/s. This has not been thoroughly tested, so be prepared to experiment.