Acrylic - Tips & Tricks

In principle it is very easy to cut acrylic. Generally speaking, the maximum laser output is set and the speed is adjusted so that the material is cut through. High-quality cutting results, however, can only be achieved with carefully selected parameters. At slow speeds, the cut edges achieved are rather more polished. However, if cutting is too slow, the resulting cut is wide and extends outwards towards the bottom. However, this also depends on the point of focus and the focal length used. Use a focal length of 2.5 inch for thicknesses between 3 and 8 mm, for thicker materials the focal length set should be 5 inch. The focus should not lie on the surface but approximately a third of the way inside the material. Striation increases with speeds that are too high. The gas flow should be set as low as possible to achieve the best possible quality. However, a higher gas flow allows faster cutting speeds.

The acrylic used is also very important. Acrylic may be cast or extruded. Cast acrylic is excellently suited to laser cutting. With extruded acrylic, the cut edges become milky after cutting due to the stresses released. It is also important to achieve clean adjustment of the beam since the cut edges are not vertical if there is any astigmatism and exhibit different angles depending on the direction of displacement. Therefore, the selection of a laser source with good beam quality is particularly crucial.

Also, it is particularly important to prevent reflections of the laser beam as far as possible since they cause visible unevenness in the cut edges. For this reason, the material may not lie completely flat on the processing surface. Use a special cutting table for this purpose. As a result the beam will barely be reflected and you will get clean-cut edges.

It is also important to remove the protective film prior to processing.

Caution: Never operate the laser without supervision as acrylic tends to burn and create flames!


Trotec Laser, Inc., 256 Airport Industrial Drive, Ypsilanti,  MI 48198, USA
Trodat Marking Canada, Inc., 1705 Argentia Rd Unit 9, Mississauga Ontario L5N 3A9
Trotec Laser Pty Ltd, Unit 4, 5 Blackmore Rd, Smeaton Grange, NSW 2567, Australia

Trotec Laser Ltd., Unit 4, Wharton Street, Birmingham, B7 5TR, United Kingdom
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