Call the police. I broke the law!

Don’t try this at home. PVC kills (your machine and possibly you). I was testing something “special”.

Now that I have your attention. I’ve seen people ask before, how do I know if an UNKNOWN material is safe to use in my laser. I learned of the Beilstein Test and wanted to make sure to share that with everyone. Here is a video of that process. It is very simple:

And so I made my own to test the process. I had made that lasered PVC years ago. I don’t ever laser PVC now.

I just wanted to share the test with everyone. And hey look: here I’m am doing the test for you with that same piece:

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Of course, health is the most important but hydrochloric acid, which is released by overheating PVC, is also really bad at the machine. I have experience from the plastics industry otherwise I probably won’t take it that seriously.

The point was just to share the information on the Beilstein Test as a method to help others identify if an unknown material should not be used in their laser.

Thanks for the video. Do you know if other colors can be indicators of good or bad for the laser?

I don’t know if there’s any other indicator that would be needed other than the indication of this green flame color produced by the presence of organic halides:

  • Sodium chloride (NaCl)
  • Potassium chloride (KCl)
  • Potassium iodide (KI)
  • Lithium chloride (LiCl)
  • Copper(II) chloride (CuCl2)
  • Silver chloride (AgCl)
  • Calcium chloride (CaCl2)
  • Chlorine fluoride (ClF)
  • Bromomethane (CH3Br)
  • Iodoform (CHI3)
  • Hydrogen chloride (HCl)

Halogen refers to those elements in the seventeenth column of the periodic table, fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), iodine (I), and astatine (At). Halogenated refers to a chemical compound or mixture that contains halogen atoms. And finally, halide refers to the monoanionic (one negative charge) form of a halogen atom, specifically, fluoride (F-), chloride (Cl-), bromide (Br-) and iodide (I-).

Avoid the following Fluoropolymers and Chloropolymers:

  • PVC
  • Neoprene
  • Chlorinated Rubber
  • Chlorinated Polyethylene (UV Resistant???)
  • Teflon
  • Tefzel
  • Halar
  • CTFE
  • Tedlar
  • Kynar

In my research i also found that Trotec advises against the following materials:
Materials containing chromium (some leathers and fake leathers)

  • Carbon Fibers
  • PVB
  • Beryllium Oxide
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