Laser Cut Acrylic: All You Need to Know

Laser Cut Acrylic: All You Need to Know

Acrylic is a type of plastic that is more transparent and tougher than ordinary plastic. Acrylic is a transparent material that resists scratches very well. The edges of the acrylic are very smooth after laser cutting, and more critically, you can engrave excellent designs on the surface. So acrylic is widely used in many products.
This guide will show you all the information about laser cut acrylic.

Contents

  • Types of Acrylic Sheets
  • Possible challenges in laser cutting acrylic
  • Advantages of laser cutting acrylic
  • Laser cut acrylic projects
  • Acrylic laser cutting machine recommendations
  • Things to consider: Buying an acrylic laser cutting machine
  • Laser Cut Acrylic FAQ

Types of Acrylic Sheets

The manufacturing method of acrylic can be divided into two main types: extruded acrylic and kind of cast acrylic.

  1. Extruded acrylic is made by physically and mechanically squeezing two hot acrylics together. This manufacturing method produces acrylic sheets ideal for laser cutting and engraving. This is because the cutting surface is smooth after the cutting is completed, and the sheet remains clear and non-discolored after the engraving is completed. We can also produce many sheets at once, saving time and costs.
  2. Cast acrylic is mainly made by pouring the raw material into a mold, cooling it, and solidifying it to get the shape and thickness you want. This is the most common way of manufacturing all small acrylics. However, unlike extrusion, cast acrylic sheets are not suitable for laser cutting and engraving because the surface of the laser cut sheet is not rounded and will become frosty white after engraving.

Our common extruded acrylic has the following types.

Clear Acrylic

The most common type of laser cutting acrylic sheet, general engraving, and cutting needs can meet.

White Acrylic

This commonly used material for bright billboards, which can be black or white under normal circumstances, will become transparent after light exposure.

Colored Acrylic

A colored Acrylic plate is manufactured by putting ordinary acrylic into a high-temperature liquid with pigments and dyeing the transparent acrylic plate with the color you want through molecular movement.

Mirrored Acrylic

This Mirrored Acrylic blocks UV rays and is suitable for many skylights or open-air entertainment venues.

Light Diffusing Acrylic

Many night lights shade selection of this acrylic material can effectively soften the light.

Solar Tinted Acrylic

The material of choice for many solar lights is Solar Tinted Acrylic, which can maintain its original state under high temperatures for a long time and will not fade or become fragile with time and light.

Non-Glare Acrylic

This matte acrylic panel can make the light softer.

Non-Glare Acrylic Sheeting

This acrylic material is often used to protect electronic components and can reduce the risk of leakage and electric shock.

Possible challenges in laser cutting acrylic

  1. The cutting material is too thick.
    The material that is too thick may face the risk of not cutting through, so confirm the maximum thickness of acrylic cutting before cutting. Or reduce the speed and increase the power to enhance the cutting effect.
  2. Produce toxic fumes
    If you buy an inferior acrylic sheet or acrylic sheet impersonated by glue board, many toxic fumes may be produced when cutting. So before cutting, you must be sure that the acrylic you buy is a regular sheet. And in a well-ventilated environment to cut acrylic.
  3. Cutting produces flame
    Acrylic is not easy to burn, but if part of the operation is not set up in advance will produce flames during the cutting process. At this time, we must not panic. It would help if you quickly press the emergency stop button and check the air valve, blowing cabinet, etc.
  4. Uneven cutting
    Sometimes the small areas of the graphics will absorb more heat resulting in the cutting surface not being smooth. Our cutting graphics have many corners, so it is necessary to set the speed a little faster in advance to avoid overheating and affecting the cutting effect.
  5. Expensive
    The price of an ordinary DIY acrylic laser cutting machine is relatively low, ranging from $1000-7000. This may also be one of the challenges you will face.

Advantages of laser cutting acrylic

Acrylic sheets for laser cutting have many distinct advantages over traditional cutting.

  1. Higher engraving accuracy
  2. Faster and more efficient
  3. High operability and design flexibility
  4. Properly set up machine is very safe

Laser cut acrylic projects

LED decorations

laser cut acrylic

This is a viral laser cutting project nowadays. After adding the eye-catching LED, it is very popular whether you put it at home or sell it in the market. You can cut any well-known building or signage, etc. You can design a special sign for various holidays, such as Christmas and Halloween.

Earring

laser_cut_acrylic_earring

You can use acrylic to make unique earrings for yourself. You can cut it into various small animals, plants, food, etc. This is certainly a very cool design. It is also in great demand in the market, so if you are struggling financially, you can use this laser project to make a profit. You can even take the laser machine to the stall and receive custom services on the spot.

Keychain

laser_cut_acrylic_Keychain

You can engrave your contact information on the keychain so that when the key is lost, the person who finds it can contact you in time. You can also engrave your pet tag with its name and the owner's phone number.

Puzzle toys

laser_cut_acrylic

This is a popular entertainment toy; you can do this fun activity with your child. You can also cut into various letters to assist your child in recognizing words.

Acrylic laser cutting machine recommendations

The following machines are all configured to meet all your needs in the laser cutting acrylic process. They can help you to finish acrylic engraving quickly. All machines are equipped with an emergency stop button (except EU version), which can directly stop the machine in case of any unexpected situation during the engraving process. Safety levels for children over 6 years old can be operated and used alone. Many schools have long-term cooperation with us, using our equipment as their teaching tools. As you can imagine, our machines are very safe.

The following three machines can meet the daily use of the family or DIY hobby. And you can also use them to do a small business for yourself to earn profits is also very suitable. They also have the following advantages in common.

  1. With free fan configuration, you can maximize the absorption of smoke generated during the cutting process
  2. Multi-grade power options, you can perfectly cut wood, leather, MDF, glass, rubber, plastic, paper, food, and many other materials
  3. Built-in purifiers can initially filter the exhausted air
  4. 5MP camera, real-time preview, and extraction of images
  5. Fast assembly
  6. Auto-focus, which can automatically provide the best engraving parameters
  7. The machine is equipped with an emergency stop button, very safe to use

gweike cloud basic Ⅱ

gweikecloud basic II

The machine's basic configuration and features are complete.
You can directly connect the camera USB to the back of the machine. You do not need to join the camera cable to operate more quickly. At the same time, the machine works with very little noise, and a long time standby will not affect your daily life.

Types Gweike cloud basic Ⅱ
Laser Power 50w
Work Table Area 20.08" (510mm)*11.8" (300mm)
Noise Rating ≤70dB
Max. Cutting Depth 12mm acrylic
Carving Precision 0.001” (0.025mm)
Processing Area 20.08" (510mm)*11.8" (300mm)
Machine Dimensions 38.2"*22.2"*9.2" (970mm*565mm*234.5mm)
Weight 42.6kg
Connection / Transmission Wi-Fi, USB, Ethernet
Nonoperating Temperature 0~45°C
Relative Humidity 5~90°C
Operating Ambient Temperature 0~35°C

gweike cloud pro Ⅱ

gweike cloud pro Ⅱ

The best feature of pro II is that it supports adding rotating attachments, which means it can cut acrylic tubes. Other features are the same as basic II. You can use it to cut a wider range of design types. If you need to cut acrylic tubes frequently, upgrade the machine to the Pro II for $300 more.

Types Gweike cloud pro Ⅱ
Laser Power 50w
Work Table Area 20.08" (510mm)*11.8" (300mm)
Noise Rating ≤70dB
Max. Cutting Depth 12mm acrylic
Carving Precision 0.001” (0.025mm)
Processing Area 20.08" (510mm)*11.8" (300mm)
Machine Dimensions 38.2"*22.2"*9.2" (970mm*565mm*234.5mm)
Weight 45.6kg
Connection / Transmission Wi-Fi, USB, Ethernet
Nonoperating Temperature 0~45°C
Relative Humidity 5~90°C
Operating Ambient Temperature 0~35°C

gweike cloud plus

gweike cloud plus

The most important feature of this machine is that the co2 laser glass tube is upgraded to RF metal tube, which means it can engrave metal materials and doesn't worry about laser tube damage. It also supports the addition of rotating attachments. However, if the material you engrave is mostly non-metal, it is unnecessary to buy this machine because it is costly.

Types gweike cloud plus
Laser Power 38w
Work Table Area 20.08" (510mm)*11.47" (290mm)
Noise Rating ≤70dB
Max. Cutting Depth 15mm acrylic
Carving Precision 0.0004” (0.001mm)
Processing Area 20.08" (510mm)*11.8" (300mm)
Machine Dimensions 38.2"*22.2"*9.2" (970mm*565mm*234.5mm)
Weight 45.6kg
Connection / Transmission Wi-Fi, USB, Ethernet
Nonoperating Temperature 0~45°C
Relative Humidity 5~90°C
Operating Ambient Temperature 0~35°C

Things to consider: Buying an acrylic laser cutting machine

Power

Here is the carving power of the machine. Because the smaller the power of the machine, the thinner the thickness of the material to be cut. Estimate the thickest plate you can cut, and then ask the manufacturer to choose a suitable power. We choose a wide range of adjustable.

Speed

The maximum speed of a laser cutting machine is also very important

Price

Your budget will directly affect the range of machines you buy. First, the more expensive the machine is, the better it is. You need to choose the one with the best value for money within your budget. There is no need to gradually increase your budget to add some features you may not even use later.

Size

The average portable laser cutting machine is relatively small, but you must ensure a well-ventilated location to set it up.

Design software

We currently use light burn the most, but some machines don't support it. So be sure to ask what design software is supported by the machine before you buy it to avoid more trouble later.

Maintenance

Before buying a good, you may need to spend money to replace the parts you have. Some of the later maintenance and repair of the machine also need to spend money. To gweikecloud basic II, for example, in the future, you need to replace the machine parts with the following.

Machine part Max use time Exchange Price
Laser tube 10000h $400
Filter Cartridge 6-12 months $149
Laser lens - $65

Laser lens replacement depends on how much you use it. If you clean it regularly with a cotton swab after each use, it may never need to be replaced. In any case, before buying, try to ask the manufacturer about the cost of using the machine later may need. But they may not tell you the real price.

Laser Cut Acrylic FAQ

Is acrylic easy to break?

Acrylic has incredible toughness, and it is difficult for us to break it under everyday impact. However, cracks will appear when it comes to the high-intensity effect on the acrylic plate, but it isn't easy to break. So it takes work to break.

Recommended parameters for laser cutting acrylic

According to experience, the laser power of 100w can cut about 10mm acrylic sheet. Specific parameters have to be found in practice.

Is laser cutting acrylic toxic?

The high-quality acrylic sheet will hardly produce toxic gases, but just in case we are cutting acrylic or connecting the air assist. It may produce toxic gas during this cutting process, which is mainly related to the quality of the acrylic sheet. As far as possible, fumes are generated directly from the outdoors. 

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