POM

Information, tricks, know-how, and advice to help you laser cut your model in our POM material.

Colors

Thicknesses

  • (mm)
  • 2
  • 3
  • 5
  • (inches)
  • 1/8

Characteristics

Surface Look
Details
Strength
Flexibility

POM Material Guide

Description

POM (Polyoxymethylene) is an engineering thermoplastic, that is recognized for its mechanical properties: it is particularly resistant and has excellent dimensional stability.  POM is sometimes called Acetal or Delrin.

At Sculpteo, we use rectangle sheets of a copolymer, a derived version of the original material that preserves its characteristics and allows us to propose the material at better prices.

This material has a smooth glass-like shiny surface with a moderately opaque white color. It is not designed for aspect, but for technical properties (for example, for internal technical parts). To learn more, refer to our paragraph about uses and maintenance for the POM material. 

Please take a note that laser cuts the thermoplastic under a slight angle which may be visible on thicker parts.

Applications

POM is a material that has several benefits, both on its ease of use and on its durability. The technical properties of POM can vary depending on the thickness but it’s always very resistant and has incredible geometrical stability.

When it comes to shrinkage and tolerance. Our POM material can light up when exposed to LED lights, and is very resistant to crazing and cracking.

All of these characteristics make it ideal for technical parts, in particular, parts that will have to endure large amounts of strain and friction. All our POM is impact-resistant and half the weight of glass, it is also very easy to work with and can be sawed, drilled, routed, silk-screened, and formed. Our POM is a great material for internal parts for your projects and industry tooling and spare parts. This makes it very different from our other polymeric material for laser cutting, acrylic, which is a lot less resistant.

However, POM is not ideal for aspect products as its surface is not covered by a plastic foil during laser cutting and engraving, which means that some fine scratches and some burn marks can appear on its surface. We recommend to use it as an internal part of your project.

Technical POM is used for thousands of products due to its high quality, exceptional resistance, ease in processing and design flexibility. From automotive spare parts to gears, hinges, locks and dozens of other applications. The fact that it is waterproof means that POM can be used in kitchens, bathrooms and for parts that need to be bathed in oil for long periods of time (typically, some motor parts).

Pricing​

The price of manufacturing your POM design is calculated automatically at the moment your order is placed online. As you modify your object and utilize our optimization tools, you will note that the price changes automatically. The pricing is based on a series of factors, including: quantity of material used, labor required, and machine manufacturing time – to name a few.

Laser cutting has a quicker manufacturing time when compared to laser engraving. Your object is estimated to arrive in 2 business days. Engraving and particularly large objects can extend the processing time by 1-2 days on average. The estimated shipping time is also calculated automatically as the object is uploaded. An additional delay can ensue depending on availability. More information can be found in the section about colors and sizing.

Delivery time should be added to the processing time and depends on the delivery option you choose.

Process

Laser Cutting:

Laser Cutting is a digital subtractive fabrication technique that consists of cutting or engraving a material by means of a laser. Laser Cutting can be used on a number of materials such as plastic, wood, cardboard, etc. The process involves cutting material using a powerful and highly accurate laser that focuses on a small area of the material. The high power density results in rapid heating, melting and partial or complete vaporizing of the material. Usually, a computer directs the high-power laser at the material and traces the path.

Laser engraving:

Laser Engraving (or Laser Etching) is a subtractive manufacturing method, that uses a laser beam to change the surface of an object. This process is mostly used to create images on the material that may be seen at eye level. To do so, the laser creates high heat that will vaporize the matter, thus exposing cavities that will form the final image. This method is quick, as the material is removed with each pulse of the laser. It can be used on almost any kind of metal, plastic, wood, leather or glass surface.

Finishings

POM is a material that lends itself to different types of operations but it cannot be painted or glued easily. Surface must be prepared and sanded in order to let the paint or glue stick to the slippy surface of the POM.

It can however be sawed, drilled, routed, decorated, silk-screened, and formed.

Laser cuts and engraves material by burning its surface, therefore, leaving a kerf. When burning the surface, the laser also leaves a kerf of a width that can vary, depending on the type of material and the thickness chosen. 

When designing your project, you need to take this kerf into account and plan for a surplus of material accordingly.

This table shows you the value of the kerf for each thickness:

In our European catalog:

Thickness of POM (mm)235
Width of the kerf (mm)0.070.120.105

In our American catalog:

Thickness of POM (in)1/81/16 (clear)
Width of the kerf (in)0.00390.009

In our European catalog:

Minimum dimension (mm)15 x 15
Maximum dimension (mm)940 x 590

In our American catalog:

Minimum dimension (in)0.59 x 0.59
Maximum dimension (in)32 x 18

In our European catalog: 

Thickness of POM (mm)135810
Minimum distance between two paths (mm)135810

In our American catalog:

Thickness of POM (in)0.0390.1180.1960.3140.393
Minimum distance between two paths (in)0.0390.1180.1960.3140.393

For laser engraving, the laser will contour each letter, which will “bolden” the font. Therefore, when you conceive your vector file, you need to:

  • Give priority to narrow fonts
  • Space the letters
  • Not write your texts too small (2mm minimum)

For laser cutting, it is key to take the kerf into account when designing your text. The texts must be treated like shapes: they must be vectorized and respect the same rules as every other shape.

LASER CUTTING TEXT

We offer two types of laser engraving:

  • Line engraving: ideal to engrave a contour. It’s the same operation as cutting, with less power. For this type of engraving, use our cutting tips when designing your file. On our website, only one line engraving level is available.
  • Surface engraving (also known as infill engraving): For this type of engraving, the outline of your design must absolutely be closed. We offer two levels of surface engraving depth: superficial or deep. With the superficial level, the cut can barely be felt by touch, whereas it is noticeable at a deep level.

Make sure you incorporate different colors in your vector design, according to whether you want a cut, an engraving line or a surface engraving.

POM is a white shiny surface material and is not very suitable for surface engraving. Our Light Surface Engraving gives rather good results (even if it is not quite visible, it adds texture on your surface material). In contrast, Deep Surface Engraving tends to overflow the desired design so we do not recommend to use this technique on POM material.

Is it possible to assemble your parts?Yes
Minimum space required for assemblyDepends on the kerf

laser cutting restrictions

If you wish to make POM pieces fit into each other and make sure they’ll stay connected, we recommend that you add in nodes. Nodes are small bumps situated in a piece’s slots or tabs, that allow compensating the thickness variations of the material and the kerf. Nodes get compressed when the pieces are assembled and they concentrate the friction on specific points rather than on the slot’s whole surface. This way, the slots can be larger without coming apart, allowing the pieces to stay together.

nodes

On top of the nodes, it is important to adequately treat the end of the slots. Sharp angles are a weak point for POM, and will always fracture at the corner, where efforts get concentrated. A solution to this issue is to add a hole at the corner of each sharp angle. This technique allows for distributing the stress across the whole surface of the hole instead of just one precise point.

Files with Multiple Objects ?No


Mechanical PropertiesConditionsUnitValue
DensityISO 1183Kg/m31.38 to 1.44
Swelling (24 hours)ISO R 62/DIN53495%0.10 to 0.79
Tensile Strength 23°C (Elasticity)ISO 527-2Psi6490 to 9880
Tensile Strength 23°C (Break)ISO 527-2Psi4940 to 9600
Bending StrengthISO 178Psi7140 to 13100
Internal BondISO 604Psi2760 to 9760

Ready to laser cut with POM?

With Sculpteo’s online laser cutting service you’re just a few clicks away from professional POM laser cutting. Your model is cut with the highest quality and delivered straight to your door. 

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