Awards & Engraving

March '20

Issue link: https://nbm.uberflip.com/i/1207608

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 40 of 67

A&E MARCH 2020 • a-e-mag.com 39 LASER CUTTING ACRYLIC When setting up to laser cut acrylic, there are two main steps: • Prepping the acrylic and laser • Determining the settings Typically, acrylic comes from the factory or supplier with a protective carrier sheet to reduce damage and scratching. You can leave this on while cutting or remove right before cutting. By leaving it on, you reduce the amount of smoke that can land on the surface of the acrylic, potentially causing a haze, and protect the acrylic from scratches. To prep the laser for cutting, use your air assist and a honeycomb laser bed. The air assist is important to help push the acrylic fumes through your cut, and the honeycomb table helps reduce flashback and aids in pulling the flammable fumes out of your laser. When determining your laser cutting settings, the best place to start is with the laser manufacturer's recommended settings, then adjust from there to optimize your cuts. The three main variables to adjust are speed, power, and frequency. These change depending on your laser wattage. Since we run Epilog lasers in our shop, I have included the recommended settings that came with our lasers. Epilog Laser Recommended Settings for 1/8" Acrylic 1st chart Epilog Laser Recommended Settings for 1/4" Acrylic 2nd chart Epilog Laser Recommended Settings for 3/8" Acrylic (two passes may produce better results) 3rd chart In general, as the thickness of acrylic you cut increases, the cutting speed must decrease. Epilog also recommends for the thicker 3/8-inch acrylic that two passes may be needed for better results. If needing to cut acrylic thicker than 3/8 of an inch, use a machine with a higher laser wattage. COMMON LASER CUTTING ISSUES There are some common issues that you may face when laser cutting acrylic. When laser cutting on a honeycomb laser bed, the metal honeycomb can reflect the laser beam back into the acrylic. This creates a Speed Power Frequency 50 Watt 8 100 5000 60 Watt 12 100 5000 75 Watt 12 100 5000 Speed Power Frequency 50 Watt 3 100 5000 60 Watt 6 100 5000 75 Watt 5 100 5000 Speed Power Frequency 50 Watt 15 100 5000 60 Watt 20 100 5000 75 Watt 20 100 5000 Cast acrylic is available in many different colors and thicknesses. It's important to understand your equipment capabilities before choosing the acrylic thickness for your project. When determining your laser cutting settings, the best place to start is with the laser manufacturer's recommended settings, then adjust from there. The three main variables to adjust are speed, power, and frequency.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Awards & Engraving - March '20