A comprehensive look at acrylic sheet for laser engraving
Acrylic sheet for laser engraving is a very versatile material that is inexpensive, has good laser absorption, and can be used to create a wide range of products, including a variety of signs, gifts, and awards.
Most people usually choose clear acrylic sheet for laser engraving because it is popular and easy to use. This clear acrylic is usually engraved using a carbon dioxide laser, which is based on the properties of light and has a wavelength of 9.2-10.8μm.
To use the acrylic sheet for laser engraving, we need to understand the general classification of the material, acrylic refers to a wide range of thermosensitive plastics manufactured by various brands. Acrylic sheets are divided into two main categories according to the production process: cast sheets and extruded sheets.
Cast acrylic sheets: high molecular weight, excellent stiffness, strength, and excellent chemical resistance. These sheets are characterized by small batch processing, unparalleled flexibility in terms of color systems and surface textures, and a wide range of product specifications for a variety of special applications. (When laser engraved, cast acrylic is transformed into the cold material sought after for many custom applications. It can be molded into different shapes and sizes and is often used for awards due to its good optical qualities.)
Extruded acrylic sheets: Compared to cast sheets, extruded sheets have a lower molecular weight and slightly weaker mechanical properties. However, this feature facilitates bending and thermoforming processes and, when dealing with larger sheet sizes, facilitates fast-molding vacuum blister molding. At the same time, the thickness tolerance of extruded sheets is smaller than that of cast sheets.
It is easier to manufacture extruded acrylic than cast acrylic, which makes extruded acrylic cheaper. In addition, extruded acrylic is clean and smooth after laser engraving and the edges are flame-polished. Laser engraved products look crisp and clear, rather than frosted like cast acrylic after engraving. They are also softer in comparison and tend to stick together during the rotary engraving process.
The acrylic sheet for laser engraving is best engraved at low power and high speed. If your acrylic material has a coating or other additions, increase the power by 10% but maintain the speed used on uncoated acrylic. This provides more energy for the laser to cut through the paint. The materials discussed will determine the ideal frequency setting for your laser. However, you may want to engrave at a high frequency of 10,000-20,000 Hz if using cast acrylic, or at a lower frequency of 2,000-5,000 Hz if using extruded acrylic. Lower frequencies result in lower pulses, which increase the pulse energy or reduce the constant energy in the acrylic. This phenomenon results in less boiling, less flame, and slower cutting speeds.
The above is the introduction to acrylic sheets for laser engraving, hope it can help you to better understand our products, if you have other questions or needs about this, you can contact us directly.