Awards & Engraving

March '20

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A&E MARCH 2020 • a-e-mag.com 41 Epilog Laser Recommended Speed/ Power Settings for Acrylic at 300 DPI 4th chart One of the most common laser engraving issues is banding on the engraving. If this occurs, pull the laser slightly out of focus. This widens the laser beam when it hits the surface of the acrylic and can produce a whiter engraving with more consistent depth into the acrylic. CLEANING AND FINISHING Now that you have cut and engraved your piece, it is time to admire it. You've probably noticed that while admiring your fine craftmanship, you left fingerprints and the acrylic collected dust and other resi- dues from making the piece. Before you reach for a rag to wipe it clean and spray it with some handy cleaners, remember a dirty rag scratches the acrylic easily and certain chemicals cause the cut edge to craze (alcohol, ammonia, and window cleaners to name a few). I have found the blue microfiber towels from Home Depot work well and don't scratch the surfaces. For cleaners, I only use and recommend those by Novus Plastic Polish. I primarily use Novus 1 for light cleaning/final cleaning of acrylic, and Novus 2 for removing stick marks, light scratches, and other blemishes. While Novus 1 is straightforward, I highly recommend reading the manufac- turer's instructions when using Novus 2. Like everything else with processing acrylic, the cleaning and scratch removal steps also have a learning curve to them. SUPPLIERS There are several suppliers for acrylic, but you want to make sure they sell you cast acrylic. Sometimes when going to a big box store for plastic, it can be hard to tell exactly what you are getting and the effects it will have on your machine. Some online suppliers for acrylic sheet stock include delviesplastics.com, acme- plastics.com, and gs2awards.com. If you need award blanks, options include JDS Industries, Johnson Plastics Plus, and a made-in-the-USA option: GS2 Awards. Speed Power 50 Watt 100 50 60 Watt 100 50 75 Watt 100 35 Want to read more about acrylic and how to laser process it? Read this two-part series by Mike Fruciano, Coherent: Part One – http://aemag.ly/pf1 Part Two – http://aemag.ly/pf2 I have found the blue microfiber towels from Home Depot work well for cleaning and don't scratch the surfaces of my finished acrylic awards. For cleaners, I recommend those by Novus Plastic Polish. A&E

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