Learn how to laser cut neoprene to achieve various practical applications. We’re discussing the most essential features of the material, real-life examples, and ZMorph VX & Voxelizer settings.  

Burgundy neoprene.
Neoprene mounted on ZMorph VX CNC worktable.

What is Neoprene?

Neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber. The fabric resembles light, soft, and elastic foam, that exposes its traits such as stain resistance and general durability. Moreover, it has excellent temperature insulation properties and is effective against shock damages. It comes in a variety of colors which adds to its esthetical values. The wide variety of applications include consumer goods, insulators, and the automotive industry.

With the right tool, neoprene can be laser cut or engraved. Follow the article to learn how to do it using ZMorph VX All-in-One 3D Printer.

Neoprene face mask.
Neoprene face mask laser cut using ZMorph VX.

How to Laser Cut & Engrave Neoprene with ZMorph VX?

Unfortunately, there’s no one and only set of settings for laser cutting neoprene, because it depends on the thickness of the material. That being said, here are some points to consider while working with neoprene.

Voxelizer Settings

For neoprene that is 2-3 mm thick we used the following parameters:

  • Laser cutting: 5 mm/s; 2 paths.
  • Laser engraving: 25 mm/s; 1 path.

Mind you, the material you purchase can have slightly different parameters, and therefore you may need to refine the settings.

Workpiece Holding

The best way for mounting neoprene before laser cutting is to use plastic clips as seen in the photos below. You can also use a double-sided tape, but it’s a less convenient solution.

Neoprene on VX CNC worktable.
How to mount neoprene on VX CNC worktable.
Neoprene on the VX CNC worktable.
Bottom view.

Other Settings

Set the Laser PRO Toolhead around 3 mm above the material. Close the covers of ZMorph VX. Don’t forget to properly ventilate the room.

Neoprene mounting.
We used small plastic clips to secure the material on the CNC worktable.

Neoprene Applications

This material can be found in wetsuits, face masks, electrical insulation, fan belts, and other various consumer goods such as laptop sleeves or phone cases. Below you can see a neoprene face mask made on ZMorph.

Sample

If you’d like to make this neoprene face mask yourself, you can find the necessary files in this article

Neoprene face mask.
Neoprene face mask with laser engraving.
Neoprene face masks.
Neoprene comes in a wide variety of colors.

Health & Safety

You should take extra precautions while working with Laser PRO and ZMorph VX. The laser module is strong enough to burn your skin or damage eyesight, that’s why you ought to wear eye protection and never put hands under a working device. 

ZMorph VX operates at high speeds and temperatures, therefore you should never touch moving parts of the machine while it’s working. 

Burned neoprene may emit unpleasant fumes that may cause dizziness when inhaled in large amounts. Ideally, you should refrain from staying in the same room as the working unit and ventilate the area thoroughly. 

Neoprene face mask.
Another neoprene face mask.

Other Materials for Laser PRO and ZMorph VX

Apart from the laser module, ZMorph VX offers 3D printing and CNC milling workflows. The three fabrication methods combined mean the machine works flawlessly with almost 50 different engineering materials. To discover them all, check out the ZMorph Materials Library, where you can find the most important data and sample cases. Be sure to visit the ZMorph Blog for more advanced tutorials and comprehensive articles.

ZMorph Materials Library
Author

Content Manager at ZMorph

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