Acrylic is similar to glass. It is widely used in the advertising industry to make business card cases, signboards and product stands. Just like any other transparent material, it is capable of transmitting a laser beam. This makes it fit for laser cutting and engraving. Laser printing on acrylic may not be easy because the surface of the acrylic needs to be removed during the process. In fact, no changes in the speed and power settings of a laser engraving machine can improve the quality of printing an image on the material. If you want to produce high quality prints on acrylic, consider using the following tricks.
Define Your Expectations
What do you expect to achieve from the laser engraving process? Do you want a perfectly polished end product or is the quality not too important? These questions will help you determine the kind of resources required for the process.
Before you start engraving, take a considerable time to prepare the material. If you want to prevent the surface from staining, consider masking it beforehand. Most laser engraving manuals contain information on the recommended settings for engraving different types of materials. You can use these save these settings on your computer and use them each time you are dealing with acrylic. Use these settings to create templates and save them with a name that makes sense so that you can easily locate them.
Even if you have preset settings for engraving your acrylic material, run a test on a sample of the material before doing the full task. This way, you will be able to save on the material in case the outcome is not as expected. Do this on a scrap material or at the corner of the main material as you keep adjusting the laser engraver to create the desired effect. Ensure that the material does not have any scratches or cracks.
Use the Right Engraving Machine
Get a laser engraving machine that allows you to adjust the power and speed of operation. An engraver with high laser power can melt or crack the acrylic material, which gets damaged at high temperatures. You may also want to consider a tool that allows you to engrave in layers. Using layers has several advantages. It helps you to control the order in which marks are created and makes your work more organized. To benefit from these features, get a laser engraver from Needham Coding.
Although acrylic is a bit expensive, consider using it to get a more detailed output. Cast acrylic produces great results for photos and any other complex form of engraving. Remember to turn the air assist off when using a laser machine to make the edges clear and avoid cracking.