Acrylic is becoming the go-to material for products like signage and gifts due to the glass-like characteristic that gives acrylic an elegant look. Not only is the material aesthetically appealing, but it is also durable and does not break as easily as glass would. Therefore, if you have just opened an acrylic processing workshop, you should not worry about mishandling the material during the laser cutting or engraving process. However, merely buying acrylic, drawing a pattern and placing it on a laser cutting machine will not guarantee you the results you want because the acrylic laser cutting process is affected by various factors that are highlighted in this article.
Production Method -- Acrylic can either be cast or extruded, depending on the production method used, and each technique has its advantages. Cast acrylic involves pouring liquid acrylic between two glass plates to produce acrylic glass that has the same mechanical properties. Cast acrylic is thick and has a tension-free characteristic that makes it the perfect acrylic for engraving purposes. On the other hand, extruded acrylic production is done through an extrusion process whereby a mass of acrylic is pressed through the nozzle of extrusion equipment. While both cast and extruded production methods produce quality acrylic, the two versions behave differently during the laser cutting process. Due to homogeneity properties, cast acrylic leaves burr-free cuts on both sides during the cutting process. Since extruded acrylic is thin, laser cutting produces a polished flame edge on one side which requires less laser cutting power for best results.
Laser Cutting Nozzle -- The size of the nozzle of the laser cutting equipment also determines the quality of a cut. Ideally, a nozzle with a large diameter is best for acrylic cutting processes. The reason is the cut edges need time to cool and achieve clarity, and this is only possible with a large-diameter nozzle. Although you can use a small-diameter nozzle, the laser machine will leave behind a subtle milky edge as a result of the acrylic material cooling faster. Therefore, use a large-diameter laser cutting nozzle for high-end projects.
Type of Cutting Table -- If the acrylic keeps moving under the laser cutting equipment during the cutting process, then you will always end up with low-quality work. Notably, the type of cutting table you choose determines the quality of work you produce for clients. One thing you must keep an eye on when selecting an acrylic cutting table is kick-back. The laser cutting table of choice must prevent kick-back that originates from the moving parts of the laser equipment.Share