Laser Cut Vinyl Record – Bad Idea?

Laser Cut Vinyl Record

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.

If you read most material list from Ponoko and Pololu type sites, they specifically mention that they refuse to these materials…..so beware.

Laser Cut  Vinyl Record

Laser Cut Vinyl Record

Laser Cut  Vinyl Record

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15 Responses to “Laser Cut Vinyl Record – Bad Idea?”


  1. Laser cut LPs? « Cajun, Louisiana Creole and zydeco music

    [...] a Comment  Some do-it-yourself sites are showing projects made with old vinyl records:  Buildlog.net, and Make.  As the Buildlog.net author says:  “I had an old Zydeco LP on the Alligator [...]

  2. nuskin.5

    Sweet site, I didnt have the chance to notice http://www.buildlog.net till now in my searches! Continiue the great work!

  3. World Wide News Flash

    Laser Cut Vinyl Record ? Bad Idea? at Buildlog.Net Blog…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  4. John Bentley

    So how do you cut vinyl into shapes? Warm it with a hair dryer/ heat gun and then cut with craft knives etc? Or what?

  5. Aidan

    PVC = Poly Vinyl Chloride – often abreviated to just Vinyl.

    Should never be laser cut – as I think you have found out.

  6. niklas

    So better laser cut your phono records in plexi:

    http://www.niklasroy.com/articles/78/laser-cut-phono-record

  7. bdring

    You should try something like rumble strip music.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJgCLq4Qo6A

  8. Sam

    Because Sound Matters

    http://www.becausesoundmatters.com/

    They have a crap load of exclusive collective vinyl!

  9. Tweets that mention Laser Cut Vinyl Record – Bad Idea? at Buildlog.Net Blog -- Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Important Records, Record Pressing. Record Pressing said: Laser Cut Vinyl Record – http://www.buildlog.net/blog/2010/07/laser-cut-vinyl-record-bad-idea/ <— Check This Out Vinyl Recyclers! [...]

  10. VinylVenue

    Did anyone ever find out how to cut vinyl. I have a lot of old useless scratched vinyls laying about and would like to do something with them? I know you can heat it in the oven on a low temp to make it soft, but don’t know how is best to cut it with a neat edge?

  11. tuszi

    REAL BAD! idea! PVC, which is the stuff you cut is badly carcinogen. Well the fumes when burned are surely anyway, so tell the folks that it ain’t no playing material especially considering diy ventilation solutions!

  12. Bob D

    If you want to precisely cut vinyl records a CNC router would be the safe and relativity cheap way. You can make one that will cut vinyl records for a couple hundred dollars or buy one for twice that.

    Thee guys claim they have “solved the problem” but I can’t see how unless they’ve replaced every metal part with stainless. Now they have gone well over their funding and need to cut at least 600 of these things, I can only image the damage they’re going to cause to their (or someone else’s) cutter.

  13. Hermetic Laser Sealing

    REAL BAD! idea! PVC, which is the stuff you cut is badly carcinogen. Well the fumes when burned are surely anyway, so tell the folks that it ain’t no playing material especially considering diy ventilation solutions!

  14. ADULT COSTUMES

    ADULT COSTUMES…

    [...]Laser Cut Vinyl Record – Bad Idea? at Buildlog.Net Blog[...]…

  15. Pants

    Pants…

    [...]Laser Cut Vinyl Record – Bad Idea? at Buildlog.Net Blog[...]…

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