Darkly Labs Community

Anyone cutting HIPS? High Impact Polystyrene?

Just wondering if there’s any tips or tricks to cutting HIPS.

I see my Emblaser2 is listed as being able to cut 1.5mm but I’ve yet to get some for testing.

I have tried it, didn’t like the result. Edges are melted and ridged  if you use to much power, or else join ack together again once the laser has passed. Also very black soot ends up over everything.

I’ve had much more luck with the specialised laserable plastics from laser suppliers, they cut like cardboard and can be glued with MEK just like HIPS. Are fairly expensive though (and still smell of melted plastic so need to be vented!)

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Thanks Chris - I will look into the specialised plastics. I did a couple of tests today with 1.5mm HIPS and pretty much had the same problems you have mentioned.

Hi again Tom,


It is a bit elusive to find on the net if you don’t know product names, the one I have tried and had success with  is Trotech ADA signage:


which comes in many colours and various thicknesses from 0.8mm to 3.2mm.

Rowmark have something similar but I forget what they call that, and some specialised plastic places do a version, for example this place in Riverwood, if you happen to be in Sydney:


Prepare for your socks to get knocked off initially when they give you a price, especially compared to the equivalent sized sheet of styrene, but a sheet does go a long way, and with the laser cutter you can squeeze many smaller jobs in between the waste around bigger jobs.


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