Will a Laser Cutter cut Phenolic?

My dad's engineering company just "bought" a $20,000 engraver to engrave phenolic tags. (They cost $8 a piece normally, but the raw materials is only $0.25 a tag). The reason I say "bought" is because they have it, but theres been problems with it so they haven't paid for it yet, and can return it. The engraver takes 15 minutes to do 15 tags, and requires constant monitoring to make sure that the vacuum that sucks up the shavings doesn't suck the tag up itself. I thought a laser cutter would be much, much simpler. (And after engraving about 200 of these, in batches of 5, I know it would be) The major block is weather or not it can cut the phenolic tags, and if theres some way to create the layout from an excel spreadsheet.(IE importing an excel spreadsheet, and it creates a template with the vars in the spreadsheet) The latter is not as great an issue, as I can probably do some programming myself to fix it. Thanks!

sort by: active | newest | oldest
cefn6 years ago
I've been using a development pipeline based on XQuery and SVG to transform structured data into laser-cut-ready vector files without having to resort to a graphical editor. An example of this work is the Tacticalendar project, where I'm able to lay out the dates and other values algorithmically based on parameters instead of laborious work in a graphics package. Happy to work with people on this approach for other projects.
NachoMahma10 years ago
. Are you sure you're using phenolic resin and not some type of plastic? PR is very brittle, usually molded, and not what I would think is suitable for tags (or engraving in general). . It sounds like the mechanism that holds the tag in place during engraving is not working properly. All engravers I've seen will hold the "engravee" very well. . If you're doing the tags one at a time, 60 secs each is not unreasonable, but it is slow. You may be able to get that sub-30 once you get some practice (and fix the holder problem).
zachninme (author)  NachoMahma10 years ago
On the first note, I'm not 100% sure, but I know when looking up wether this is possible or not, I found out that there are different forms of it, some which may work well. Yeah, the mechanism sucks. Well, its 5 at a time, and thats 60 seconds spent engraving, not counting the time to put them in and such.
. The only form of PR I'm familiar with is Bakelite. Didn't realize it came in different flavors. . . Maybe you just have a slow machine. . I'd try double-checking EVERYTHING on the engraver, using the manual(s) as a guide. Contact tech support. See if the manufacturer has a web site/forum with more info.
zachninme (author)  NachoMahma10 years ago
My dad said it was phenolic, but when I questioned him, I think he might have mentioned Bakelite. And we're having problems with the company. They didn't have the right one so they gave us one with a smaller table, and only a 5 piece holder, instead of the 20.
zachninme (author) 10 years ago
If someone has one, (IE SquidLabs) we could send you a couple of disks and we'd appreciate if you could try :-D