[Noisebridge-discuss] PLEASE READ: Laser Cutter Threat Model

Nick Shapiro me at nickshapiro.net
Mon Apr 9 23:14:08 PDT 2012


Thank you Martin.

>  The best way
>  to avoid these potential issues is simply to make sure that we use
>  approved materials like bone, stone, glass, acrylic, cardboard, wood,
>  rubber stamp material, and such from known good sources.

There is no signage to this effect on or near the cutter itself.

Rayc has just "volunteered" to make such a sign on wood WITH the laser
cutter, FOR the laser cutter.

Best,
Nick


On Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 10:58 PM, Martin Bogomolni <martinbogo at gmail.com>wrote:

> >> The threat model is "When used with the wrong substance, laser cutter
> >> fumes can potentially contain cyanide gas that can kill everyone in the
> >> room."
> >>
> >> http://www.atxhackerspace.org/wiki/Laser_Cutter_Materials
>
> Heh.. as the person who wrote the wiki page for ATX Hackerspace, let
> me expand a bit on this...
>
> === CHLORINE ===
>
> The laser cutter will produce noxious fumes and gases when cutting
> just about anything.   If someone tries to cut PVC or other
> chloride-containing materials, it will emit a //vanishingly small//
> amount of chlorine gas.   Chlorine is bad for you, m'kay?   But the
> amount released is not deadly, and I would be very surprised if the
> machine could emit enough chlorine gas to be detectable by anything
> but a sensitive sensor.
>
> HOWEVER:  The amount of chlorine is enough to cause damage to the lens
> over time.  IR laser lenses are very soft, softer than soapstone, and
> easily eroded by chlorine gas.   The coating on the lenses and mirrors
> generally is gold, which also is easily eroded by the presence of even
> tiny amounts of chlorine gas.
>
> SO.  Enough to kill you?  No, not likely.   Certainly not in one
> session or even a handful of sessions.   Enough maybe to cause a
> chronic condition if you cut PVC every day, and were constantly
> exposed to it day in and day out.
>
> === CYANIDE ===
>
> The laser cutter will produce an even -smaller- amount of cyanide gas
> if you try to cut ABS on it.  Cyanide is, just like Chlorine, bad for
> you .. m'kay?  Again, the amount is vanishingly small, and you would
> need a very sensitive detector to register the amount created.
>
> Cyanide isn't likely to damage the machine, but exposure to cyanide
> over time //will// cause chronic conditions.   Again, you'd need to be
> using the laser cutter day in and day out on ABS, with absolutely no
> ventilation, to be in any danger at all.
>
> SO.  Enough to kill you?  No... again not likely.  Not in one session,
> and not in a handful of sessions.
>
> === THE CONCLUSION OF ALL THIS ===
>
> Cyanide is bad.  Chlorine is bad.  Many people who use the laser
> cutter don't know ABS from PVC from a hole in the wall.   The best way
> to avoid these potential issues is simply to make sure that we use
> approved materials like bone, stone, glass, acrylic, cardboard, wood,
> rubber stamp material, and such from known good sources.
>
> If you don't know what it's made of .. consult with an expert and get
> it identified.   If you still don't know, dont' go sticking it in the
> laser cutter.
>
> -M
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