Laser Safety 101

From Sequoia Fabrica

Laser Safety[edit | edit source]

After reviewing this page, take the laser safety and operations quiz!

Safety Overview[edit | edit source]

  • The laser cutter is the most expensive and delicate piece of equipment in our space. Please use care when operating it.
  • Laser cutters "burn" materials: using a laser with unsuitable materials releases toxic and harmful chemicals (acrylic is safe but beware with other plastics. Check safe material list below).
  • Each material also requires specific settings: inappropriate settings can lead to fire. The built in settings are a good starting point.

Operation[edit | edit source]

  • Training at Sequoia Fabrica is required to operate our laser. Guests may use the laser under direct supervision of trained operators.
  • Make sure the air purifier is switched on and turned all the way up when operating the laser.
  • You can connect to our laser over WiFi, however, NEVER leave our laser unattended while it is running. Stay in the vicinity, quick action may be needed to prevent fires.
  • After your job completes the fan will continue to run for 30 seconds. If you are cutting thick or smelly materials (acrylic) keep the bed closed for at least 30 seconds so fumes can dissipate.
  • Our air filter should remove harmful particulates. Opening the front door and/or windows can aid with ventilation and laser smells.

Fires[edit | edit source]

1. If you notice small flames, stop your job with the top button and adjust your settings.

2. If you need to extinguish a small fire there is a spray bottle of distilled water next to the laser.

3. The laser is equipped with a fire suppression system. This kicks in automatically and uses CO2 cartridges to flood the bed and extinguish a fire. Power to the laser will also be cut and it may ruin your job! If the laser thinks your job is causing a fire, it will start beeping very loudly. You have 10 seconds to cancel the alarm or it will release CO2. To stop the alarm, press the button on the top of the black box to the right of the laser. It costs us $50 to replace these cartridges.

4. If there is an emergency, hit the red E-STOP button on the side of the laser and use a fire extinguisher to stop the fire. This may damage our laser, but that is a better outcome than a major fire in our space!

Materials[edit | edit source]

  • Review this laser cutter materials list. A laminated copy of this list is on the laser table. Is your material on this list? If not, please ask in #laser channel. We will ask to see a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
  • Stay away from foams (they cause fires), plastics like PVC and ABS (we don't want chlorine or cyanide gas to flood the space). MDF quickly clogs our filter, is not advised.
  • Where can you buy laser safe materials in SF?

Try ARCH Art Supplies across the park. They stock plywood, cast acrylic, corkboard, cardboard, and more.

TAP Plastics sells cast acrylic in a variety of colors and finishes. If you buy from their scrap bin, make sure your plastic is labeled as acrylic or check with their employees. Polycarbonate absorbs infrared and will not cut!