.5 inch Acrylic settings? Engrave on paper money?

So I got some .5" thick acrylic from work. It is a milky white color that is typically used to be back-lit with LEDs. I have not tried to engrave or cut this acrylic yet but am looking for some guidance on settings to try for both cutting and engraving this acrylic. I also don’t know if the “milky” white color will affect the cut at all, I would assume not but I have no idea.

On another note, I’d like to engrave onto paper money. I realize this is tough with how thin the material is but I’m really just looking to “mark” the money more so than engrave it. Has anyone tried engraving onto paper bills? Please let me know!


People have engraved on paper, you can search for that and get an idea. I think @shogun was fooling around with some paper engraving, though he may not be ready to share the result?


Lots of discussions. Reading the forum is boring when you just wanna make something, but it pays off! It’s amazing how much you can learn here.


Thanks, I’ll have to check that out! Just killing time at work right now :sweat_smile:

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Acrylic is pretty much acrylic. The color generally doesn’t affect things much. Whether it is cast or extruded usually determines what the engrave looks like. Otherwise, as for engraving your settings depend on what you want to do. The settings for making stamps are different than for engraving the surface for backlighting and the settings for a sign edge lit from the bottom are different than the prior two. Odds are if you read enough in Beyond the Manual you’ll eventually find a good starting place.

As for cutting, just search here for acrylic. There are settings in here somewhere. IIRC it took nine passes for .75" acrylic, so if you see some settings and think that’s a lot of passes, it very may well be true.


Awesome, thank you! I work in a sign fabrication shop with CNC routing tables so anything above .5" I’ll be using a CNC for just to save time and avoid multiple passes. I just like the way the laser treats acrylic more so than the CNC.


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The other thing is the thicker the material the more noticeable the kerf is, as in how not perpendicular it is. So if you already have the tools to cut it use those. Unless of course it is an intricate cut metal bits and blades just can’t do.

Lucky you when it comes to cast off pieces of acrylic.


I have noticed the change in kerf on other lasers I’ve used. Not so much on the Glowforge since I really only work with 1/8" material. Our shop is looking into getting a laser, so I’ll bring in my GF for them to look at. We really just outsource small lasered letters when we need to but having a laser in-house will alleviate that issue.

Ideally, I’d like to get a 2’x3’ BOSS laser (which I’ve used a lot in the past) but it may be a bit overkill for what we need.

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At least in the US, keep in mind that “paper money” isn’t paper at all - it’s cloth (cotton/linen blend).It might be tougher than you’re expecting considering its thickness.

I’d run tests between 650/65/225lpi and 1000/45/170lpi. Most likely on the green you’ll get a bleached white line - and on the white you’ll get a browned line.

Depending on what you’re trying to get, you might also try scoring instead of engraving…

I had thought of that and in my mind I was hoping it would be a bit stronger than normal paper due to them being made up of fibers. I have no idea though.

Ideally, I’d just like to engrave some text into the bottom corner. I’m going for a slight burn to the paper, almost like how people draw with smoke soot. I’ll be sure to use singles while I’m running tests :rofl:


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For text I’d definitely find a single stroke font and try it with scoring!

You’ll have to do multiple passes for 1/2" acrylic.

If memory serves me ('cause I don’t bother writing anything down anymore) two passes using Thick Acrylic PG settings might work (not 100% positive at this point in time) to cut through, but the project I was working on at the time required a cleaner cut on the bottom face, and I ended up doing 6 passes.

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So glad you posted that site, I had missed that tool before. This looks much more convenient than using the Inkscape plugin, since I don’t use Inkscape for anything else.

For you other single line font people, you can get output like this… This is Illustrator outline view:

Also worth keeping in mind, in the US, marking or otherwise defacing US currency is a federal crime punishable by fines, imprisonment or both.

So don’t do something clever like engraving your name or phone number on the money. :slight_smile:

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Actually that’s not an issue. The prohibition against defacing currency doesn’t apply to markings that do not alter the presumed value (e.g. adding a 0 to make a 1 a 10 or a 10 into a 100).

That’s why using a counterfeit detection pen or “Where’s George” markings or squishing Yellowstone on a penny don’t get you in trouble :slightly_smiling_face:

I believe there’s a Snopes article out there about this.