Sign & Digital Graphics

September '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • September 2019 • 17 into the shape of the desired end product, while cast is made from a liquid acrylic that is poured into a mold and formed into sheets. "Both are readily available on the market, but most people don't know to ask for the difference," Anthony says. Extruded acrylic comes in many col- ors, finishes and gauges and is well suited for signage, identification and awards and recognition applications, Payne says. "When you blend the different fin- ishes with other laserable substrates such as wood, you can achieve a memorable, unique award that any recipient would be proud to display," Payne says. Cast acrylic presents a better option for laser engraving and etching, while extruded acrylic produces better results when vector cut on a laser engraver, Anthony says, adding that it produces clean edges for things like letters and shapes. It is less expensive, more consistent in thickness and softer with a lower melt- ing point that makes it easier to cut, she says, adding that it also is easier to polish. Cast acrylic is used for processes like rastering, where the material is etched out, leaving a fine dusted appearance to look like etched glass, Anthony says. For high-end products, Engrave-Tech & Graphics prefers using acrylics, espe- cially combined with other materials, Anthony says. "To create high-end signage, you typ- ically mix multiple materials," Anthony says, adding that lasers can be used for custom cuts and shapes or to add logos or design elements to the face of the sign. "The customized or specialized look is high-end." Several other substrates can be used for high-end engraving, such as thicker, exotic colored glass, polished metal, stainless steel, exotic hardwoods, burl wood, quality glass or crystal, and dark high-end and semi-precious stones, Stevens says. "With the right framework, any sub- strate can be used to generate a unique, excellent product," Stevens says. "Laser cut and engraved natural materials tend to produce a much higher perceived value… especially when two or more are combined together to create modern shapes and designs." Glass, Crystal and Ceramic Three other materials that can be engraved on a laser engraver include glass, crystal and ceramic, though they are too dense for the laser beams to make a full cut and are better for etch- ing, Anthony says, adding that the result is similar to etching acrylic with a frosted surface. The materials are used in prod- ucts like award plaques, etched glass- ware, done with a rotary attachment, and engraved ceramic tiles, she says. Cast acrylic presents a better option for laser engraving and etching, while extruded acrylic produces better results when vector cut on a laser engraver. 8-1-19-EPILOG-SDG-hfpg.pdf 1 8/1/2019 2:35:45 PM

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