Reflective adhesive film for lasering?

Is there such a thing as CO2 laserable reflective film for vehicles ?
I was asked this yesterday by signmaker friend, and was wondering myself.
He’s making a lot of vehicle chevrons, reflective bits etc and sometimes (depending on vehicle in question) its impossible to find or extremely expensive to find fitting precut kits of this material.

I have security cameras which have a night mode in which the IR filter is retracted and the IR LEDs are activated. They have limited range for “ordinary” surfaces, but for conventional reflective items such as vests, safety markings on public service vehicles and the like, the IR LEDs cause those surfaces to glow as if on fire. Even the smallish reflectors on bike wheels and pedals throw back the IR from the cameras with great results from great distances (10 meters +).

I suspect that one need only find safety-grade reflector material to meet your requirements. The manufacturer 3M has a large product line, some of which is found a and of course, Amazon. A search for 3M reflective tape will provide many results.

Of course, the CO2 lasers are invisible and the reflected results are also invisible. If the laser is powerful enough, the result could be injurious.

A lot of reflective (mirrored) film is mylar, which I believe is a form of PET. I think that stuff is safe to cut with a laser. Lots of folks cut mylar sheet for solder paste stencils.

Maybe i wasnt clear at the beginning - i’m talking “road signs” kind of reflective, not “mirrored”. The stuff for reflecting car lights in the night, visibility in the dark sort of thing.
My friend is buying precut kits for doing up reflective backs on vans, lorry bumpers, “fake” lights etc. Its not beauty stickers, its safety at night thing :smiley:

Hmm. Dunno about that kind of reflective material. There’s holographic film, which is polyester based…

Maybe such as these?

Not sure that for a professional that does this on a regular basis it’s such a great idea to laser cut adhesive backed materials. Especially 3M products which is a company that is an expert in adhesives.

There are many normally laserable items such as thin wood laminates that you can purchase that become un-cuttable when the manufacturer adds a layer of peel-off glue on the bottom to attach them to surfaces. Examples include cork tiles, thin wood laminate, acrylic tiles, and paper stickers.

Never cut these materials in the laser cutter if they have this backing. The glue will vaporize forming a coating on the lens that will coat it, cloud it, heat it, and then potentially crack the lens. The glue residue is worse than resin, and can’t be removed without risking damage to the lens … requiring a lens replacement.
Now think of that same super sticky residue on your mirrors.

I would not cut using a laser for the aforementioned reasons.

I would use a vinyl cutter it costs about the same as replacing cost for a quality lens and mirror set.

Cheer :beers:


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Yeah, never thought of adhesive in this. Thanks for the tip. Not gonna start ruining optics with glue now :smiley:

I never used a vinyl cutter before but I am planning to source one of these. I have heard some of the advantages that It has a steep learning curve and Average adhesion, any word?

Vinyl transfers are pretty durable, but without a clear coat, it will only last about ten years or less in the weather, on a vehicle.

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I know this thread is old, but wanted to toss in this article on Mylar that hopefully will be helpful for anyone coming across this in the future. What is Mylar? - PolymerFilms