Adam Thomas - August 2021
LASER ENGRAVE ACRYLIC LIKE A PRO
Acrylic is one of the top materials chosen for laser processing. That’s partly because lasers can create such a stunning result. Other technologies, like routers or saws typically leave behind hazy or milky edge colors, requiring a secondary process to achieve flame polishing.
But that’s not the case with lasers. If it’s done properly, that glossy, flame-polished edge is achievable through a single process.
Even though you might not be able to achieve that finish in your first try however if you follow the advices below you can certainly achieve impressive results.
1. CHECK YOUR WATTAGE
For laser cutting thick acrylic, you’ll need a high wattage to get the job done. Thinner sheets, like ⅛ inch acrylic cut beautifully on 60W and above, but if you’re looking to simply engrave something on acrylic sheet, you’re good with a lower powered laser as well.
Checkout out two of the best laser engraving products for acrylic
2. REDUCE AIR ASSIST
Air assist will prevent your laser cutter from achieving a fire-polished edge and instead result in a frosted white effect. When air assist is reduced (we recommend using the XTool Air Assist kit to dissipate the air pressure) it lessens the chance to have a ghosting effect on the acrylic.
3. CHECK YOUR LENS
While most operators know they need a very low air pressure to achieve that fire-polished edge, they might not be aware of how dirty that can make their lens. A dirty lens is going to give operators a whole host of problems, from poor focusing to reduced laser power. Prevent these possible downsides by checking your lens daily or at least every other day if you’re cutting and engraving on regular basis.
4. FOCUS INTO THE MATERIAL
To achieve a more consistent beam width, adjust your focus toward the middle of the acrylic sheet. If the focus is on the top of a thick sheet, the laser will be out of focus by the time it reaches the desired bottom.
5. ADJUST YOUR FOCAL LENGTH
To get a laser to engrave and cut nicely through thick acrylic, it’s helpful to adjust your focal length so that the laser energy is concentrated. For instance, if you want to cut a half inch or one inch piece of acrylic, a longer focal lens is going to spread out the focus distance and give you a straighter cut. It will make the beam a little wider, but will prevent a slanted or uneven edge.