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Risks involved with Laser cutting ITO coated plastic.
Moderators: adafruit_support_bill, adafruit

Risks involved with Laser cutting ITO coated plastic.

by NathanW93 on Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:52 am


For a project of mine, I am going to be using a laser cutter with your ITO coated plastic.

I am required to do a risk assessment on this process and was wondering if you know of any risks or by products of laser cutting the material?

Thanks for your time,

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Re: Risks involved with Laser cutting ITO coated plastic.

by adafruit_support_mike on Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:20 am

The best place to start would be with MSDS records for ITO and PET, then do some back-of-the-envelope estimates on exposure.

ITO itself is fairly inert, but can potentially break down into tin and indium oxides under heat. There are some health issues associated with long-term exposure to tin oxide, and indium oxide is known to be toxic. All heated plastics produce fumes that can be irritants to the eyes or respiratory system.

You have to consider dosages though.. PET is processed industrially by the ton, and the conditions in those factories have to meet OSHA standards. The amount of ITO on the surface of a sheet of plastic is probably in the milligram range (rounding up) and the amount volatized by laser cutting will be in the microgram range. Taking diffusion in air into account, we're into concentrations usually associated with homeopathy.

I'd say working in a room with decent ventilation would more than offset any chemical risks, especially if you aren't planning to cut the stuff eight hours a day for six months.
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Re: Risks involved with Laser cutting ITO coated plastic.

by tubular on Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:51 pm

Hi Nathan,

Did you ever complete your risk assessment? If so I'd be interested in what you came up with.
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