Darkly Labs Community

Etching translucent acrylic?

Has anyone trying etching or cutting translucent (not clear) acrylic? Was thinking of getting a sheet in to test how clean the results turn out to be - I understand the laser’s blue spectrum, so was thinking of something like red or or orange. With regards to prepping, I’m probably going to start testing by leaving the protective film on. What other methods of surface prep could work? Thermark maybe?

I’ve done translucent grey and florescent red. It doesn’t cut through be the etch is a cool effect.  I left the film on the backside on the red and it burnt the backside up from the laser catching it on fire.  The places where it wasn’t there I got nice clean etches on the top side.  I don’t have any settings written down but I flipped the image  engraved it on the top side and the backside was smooth to the touch, a little edge lighting and the imaged jumped right out at you.

Hmm. Interesting. So there’s no way to cut them either?

Wayne…So you don’t know what your settings were? I would like to try working with acrylic, if you have played around with it anymore and have your settings noted I would love to know what they are as a starting point? You said that the laser wouldn’t cut all the way through? Not even with multiple passes, or a drop in the z axis? I want to start doing edge lit signage and I really wish the E2 could work with acrylics better!

Multiple passes, speeds, or messing with the Z-axis didn’t do much good for cutting. It was only 1.5mm thick but with the material being translucent the beam mostly just shoots through it. The beam going through the florescent red had enough glow that I hurt my eyes and had to get sunglasses to cut down on the glare and call it a night as soon as the E2 stopped.   Regular non-see through acrylic cuts fine for the ones I’ve played with so far (except a medium blue which didn’t even leave a mark).  While the translucent ones didn’t cut, they marked cleanly and I would expect it to edge light nicely.  If I can get down into the shop tonight, I’ll see if I can get a few pics.

Didn’t have anything to light it with, so the power button on the E2 was all I had to work with. It catches the light some, but definitely needs more tweaking.