Laser Cutting LP SmartSide Panels

  • I know the laser cutter can only be used to cut certain materials and since I wasn’t sure about this one I thought I’d put it out there to see what people thought. It’s an engineered wood product with what looks like a zinc borate treatment. More info can be found at &

    @arasbm It might be an interesting thing to look into for the sides of your chicken coop. It’s what we make the exterior of our dog houses out of.

  • @Cindos I just emailed the manufacturer asking for an MSDS and outlining a potential use-case for it. I can probably get their marketing people to bite and maybe get some samples to burn on assuming that it is safe, and not treated in some way that makes it impossible to burn…

  • Awesome! Thanks @pierre! I have some scraps that we could test with if it’s an appropriate product to use with the laser cutter so no need to get any samples.

  • We can also use the cnc routers to cut the hell out of that material too. Looks like it would be a very interesting candidate for some 3D sculpted relief work.

  • Apparently zinc borate is used as a flame retardant. That makes me think it will likely not laser well, but perhaps laser will melt it away. I passed on this question to my favarite laser forum the sawmill creek folks. Lets see if anyone there will know. My guess would be that it is not suitable for laser cutting – but hopefully I am wrong.

    Please do bring a piece of scrap to try on the CNC Router. I would not put it in the laser yet though, before we know what that chemical reaction will produce.

    Thanks @Cindos for thinking about the :chicken: coop project :smile:

  • Incidentally, any reputable company will send you the material safety data sheet for their products. For free. On request. I’m pretty sure they are required by law to do so.

    It’ll tell you if the materials are poisonous if ingested, inhaled, burned, etc. And also give you clues about the outcome from burning or mixing with other chemicals.

  • MSDS needs some interpretation though…
    As an example:

    Hardie board is the competitor to SmartSide that I’m pretty familiar with. When you cut it, if you make fine dust and inhale enough of it, it will give you silicosis. Turns out that asbestos fibers and tiny shards of glass do very similar things to lungs.

    On page 9 in tiny text it says: “Danger May cause cancer if dust from product is inhaled.”
    On page 7 it says: “Crystalline silica inhaled in the forms of quartz or cristobalite from
    occupational sources is carcinogenic to humans”

    Either of these lines tells you that you probably should not cut lines of the dust and snort them. Also if you are going to cut the stuff on the cnc router, you would want to use the 5 gallon water filter and the vacuum. Because that will eliminate approximately all of the fine dust.

  • @pierre I think that may be one of the reasons we went with smart instead of hardie for our dog houses. I think the hardie is a more cement based product whereas the smart is glue and wood fibre. I could easily be wrong though.

  • @pierre Just wanted to say thanks again for all your help with this. You’ve gone above and beyond. I think one of the things that makes the Makerspace so great is people like you jumping in to help others. Just wanted to make sure you knew how appreciated it is.

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