Our supply: 2mm, 3mm, 5mm, 8mm and 10mm sheets are generally in stock at the Production Studio
Thickness: Available in 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 15mm, 20mm and 25mm
Sheet sizes: Clear cast acrylic is produced in 3050 × 2030mm sheets. We can work with a full size sheet on our largest 3000 × 2000mm laser bed. But for ease of handling and storage we’ll often have the full sheets cut down to more convenient sizes. Or we can buy in just the size you need if it’s not held in stock!
Finish: See the below images for a representative edge finish, if edge finish is of particular importance, lasers can be run slower, and the edges hand finished with a flame edging technique. Ask us and we’ll explain all!
Cast Acrylic is a thermosetting plastic with a superior surface finish, flatness and optical properties. It is also a hard and brittle material which is sensitive to stress concentrations. This is most evident if parts are small or thin.
Acrylic sheet is supplied to us with a protective plastic film on both sides. When only laser cutting is required, we leave the plastic film on. This helps to reduce heat marks and protects the surface from scratches.
As a benchmark, we recommend that minimum cut widths be no smaller than the corresponding thickness of the material. For example, if cutting from 3mm acrylic, its best not to allow anything less than 3mm in width. We can go smaller (see cut width image above) but this can make your components quite fragile which might not be suitable for the application. Read more about the laser kerf.
Acrylic laser cuts with a highly polished edge. We achieve this using a high laser frequency (ppi. pulses per inch ) that melts the edges as it cuts. If you look closely at the edge it is not entirely smooth and is made up of lots of tiny vertical lines. This is caused by the pulses of the laser which is more evident on thicker acrylic.
As with all materials thicker than 10mm we use a longer focus lens to help the laser maintain a clean cut. Thicker acrylic has a slightly different appearance than thinner acrylics where the pulsing of the laser is more evident. Read more cutting thicker materials and focal length.
For volume orders that require engraving from uniform sizes of rectangular or square acrylic sheets we also offer a diamond polishing service. Get in touch to find out more.
We have established optimised engraving settings for all our supply materials. For acrylic the marking is a shallow cosmetic light surface scratching. All cast acrylic engraves with a milky white finish.
If you just require vector engraving / scoring and cutting, we leave the protective film on both sides and engrave though the top layer of film into the acrylic surface. This helps to protect the top and bottom surface from heat marks from cutting.
As a standard we remove the top layer of protective backing when any raster engraving is required. We always leave the reverse side of the plastic film on to prevent any reverse markings when cutting is also required.
When raster engraving is required alongside cutting we need to remove the protective film to to engrave the surface. The downside of this is that the surface is more exposed when cutting. Very slight white heat marks can occur around the edge of the cuts. This is very minimal and usually unnoticeable. Markings tend to get slightly stronger when cutting and engraving acrylic thicker than about 8mm due to the slower speeds and higher powers required. Heat marks can be clean off using acrylic cleaner.
Since our standard engraving settings for acrylic are very shallow, no heat marks occur around the surrounding engraved areas. We can engrave deeper but bare in mind that due to the slower speeds and higher power required, there is a higher risk of heat marks. Residues also tend to build up on the surface.
Engraving at slower speeds is also a more time consuming and therefore more expensive to process. Up to 2mm is considered deep for acrylic. Bare in mind that raster engraving is not an absolute science in terms of depth specification. It is therefore not suitable for making mechanical grooves or any features requiring precise depths. A depth of engraving will always be within a tolerance of +/-0.2mm.
When your engraving covers a large surface area the engraver can produce lines within the engraved surface. This is caused by the pulsing of the laser.
Large artwork that covers most of a sheets surface area can be problematic to engrave on acrylic that is less than 2mm in thickness. Heat from the laser can cause the sheet to warp during the engraving process causing the laser loose focus resulting in variation in the engraving. We will always advise to use a thicker acrylic where possible if your artwork is expansive.
Cast PERSPEX is manufactured in accordance with ISO7823-1, which means for the thickness range of 2 to 25mm, a manufacturing tolerance of + / -10% plus 0.4mm (e.g. 8mm cast sheet could vary from 6.8mm to 9.2mm).