Material Selection Guide for Laser Cutting and Waterjet Cutting

If you are new to laser cut sheet metal, waterjet cut carbon fiber, and CNC router fabrication, we’ve created this guide to help you select the right material for your project.

Please keep in mind that this list is not all-inclusive, but it should help point you in the right direction. Our team of Application Engineers is always available to help answer questions too, email us anytime – support@sendcutsend.com

Placement: Outdoors

MaterialRecommendedComments
Aluminum Aluminum will do well outside, but will turn a dull grey and oxidize over time
Brass Not recommended outdoors unless coated or polished. Will patina and tarnish easily.
Copper Copper is great for decorative outdoor use if you prefer a green patina
Mild Steel Mild steel will rust quickly if left uncoated.
Stainless Steel Our preferred material for outdoor applications when no coating will be applied
Carbon Fiber Not recommend for long term outdoor use since UV rays can damage the epoxy part of the composite
ACM Excellent for outdoor usage.
Titanium Very stable, will not corrode or patina. Will oxidize slightly. 

Usage: Signage or Decoration

Material Recommended Comments
Aluminum Aluminum is relatively soft and flexible, and will turn a dull grey if left uncoated.
Brass Brass is great for decorative use. We recommend adding a clear coat or polish to prevent patina.
Birch Birch is perfect for cabinetry, art, and craftwork.
Copper Copper is great for decorative use. We recommend adding a clear coat or polish to prevent patina.
Mild Steel Mild steel will rust quickly if left uncoated.
Stainless Steel Our preferred material for signage and decorative items that will not be painted or coated.
Carbon Fiber Cost-prohibitive for decorative uses.
ACM Excellent for signage.
Titanium Cost-prohibitive for decorative uses.

Usage: High Strength

Delrin® 150
High strength, great abarasion resistance, yet is still machinable.
MaterialRecommendedComments
ABS This plastic has great impacta nd abrasion resistance, high tensile strength and heat and chemical resistance.
Aluminum (6061, 7075) 6061 and 7075 series Aluminum is much stronger and stiffer than our standard 5052 series. 7075 Aluminum is comparable to titanium for strength.
Brass Brass is great for decorative use, but is very soft and ductile. Not recommended for any application subject to load or bending forces.
Copper Copper is great for decorative use, but is very soft and ductile. Not recommended for any application subject to load or bending forces.
Mild Steel (4130, AR500) Our 4130 series and AR500 steel are very high strength and offer significant advantages over standard mild steel (A36).
Stainless Steel Significantly stronger than mild steel, with increased weight. Will not corrode or rust.
Carbon Fiber Our highest strength-to-weight material. Incredibly strong and rigid. Not recommended for use in temperatures over 140 degrees F.
ACM Not recommended for high-strength or load-bearing applications.
Titanium One of our highest strength-to-weight materials. Incredibly strong and rigid.

 

Still not sure which material to use?

Try out our random sample pack! We’ll include a random assortment of our most popular materials, in a variety of thicknesses.