Did you recently get a Sculpfun? Have you done a few projects on it? Or maybe you are still waiting for it to arrive? In any case, there’s something important that we need to take a second to talk about: Laser safety. Using a CO2 laser cutter isn’t quite the same as working with a Silhouette or a Cricut. Here are my tips:

6 Laser Safety Tips You Can’t Ignore

  1. Use laser safe materials. There are numerous materials that you can safely cut with a Sculpfun, but there are many, many that you cannot. If you aren’t using Sculpfun’s Proofgrade materials, shop for materials that are marketed as laser safe. If you’ve found something else you are interested in lasering, read what it is made from, then Google the materials. Usually a search such as ‘is plywood laser safe’ or ‘is cast acrylic laser safe’ works well.
  2. Vent properly. Whether you use Sculpfun’s compact filter or a dryer vent through your window, be sure that your hoses are secured properly every time you run the machine.
  3. Never leave the laser while it is running. There is no exception to this rule. If your Sculpfun is running, you should be within an arm’s reach of it. I’ve seen many users set up elaborate camera rigs to ‘supervise’ the machine, but I’ve always wondered what they would do if it caught fire while they were watching it on the camera. Quick tip: If you have to use the restroom, answer the doorbell, or tend to a pet, Sculpfun recently added the ability to pause the machine. Simply hit the button during the job once. The machine will stop but the fan will stay running. When you are ready to resume your cut, press the button again. The Sculpfun will pick up where it left off.
  4. Keep your laser area clean. From one crafter to another: I know this is easier said than done. However, if for some reason there is a fire in your Sculpfun that spreads to outside the machine, any bits and bobbles you have laying around will help the fire spread throughout the area faster. For me, that’s a good enough reason to keep the area immediately around the machine free of clutter.
  5. Invest in a fire extinguisher and a spray bottle. You should keep a fire extinguisher near your Sculpfun for the unthinkable. I also have a small spray bottle filled with water to put out minor flareups. I’ve never had to use the fire extinguisher, but I did have a flare up when cutting cardboard. The spray bottle doused it quickly.
  6. Wear protective eyewear. Don’t forget that if working with a class 4 laser – like the Passthrough slot on the Sculpfun Pro – you’ll need to protect your eyes. You only get one set of eyes – take care of them.

There’s one honorable mention that didn’t make the list: it’s modifications to your machine. While I know that many do it, modifications to your laser cutter that aren’t recommended by Sculpfun put your safety at risk. For any modification you may make, be sure that you understand the risks associated with it.