Everywhere I look these days I see a blog article about someone laser cutting old vinyl LPs. I think the first place I saw it was on the Make Magazine Blog. It seems like a great idea, especially if you choose an image that fits the record you are cutting. It also fits the recycle/upcycle trends.
I decided to give it a try. I had an old Zydeco LP on the Alligator records label. I found a simple alligator profile and decided to give it a try. I don’t remember the exact speed and power settings, but the material cut like butter with a nice clean edge. The only strange side effect was huge amounts of brown smoke. I had a decent assist nozzle, but my old evacuation blower was not the greatest.
The next day I noticed how much damage the gas has caused. Any metal in the path of the gas that was not stainless steel had signs of corrosion, including zinc plated and black oxide finished. Fortunately, no critical parts were damaged. I knew not to cut PVC or Polycarbonate, but did not think vinyl was a problem. The problem is chlorine gas. It is extremely corrosive as well as very toxic.