Hello Glowforge owners forum! This is my first post so please tell me if it is in the wrong category, has the wrong tag(s), etc. To preface this, when I use the word “acrylic” I mean acrylic with a core color and a cap color(that will be engraved through to expose the core color). I am also fairly new to the Glowforge and laser cutters and engravers in general so feel free to mention any obvious things that I may have forgotten.
My questions are as follows:
Are there any recommended vendors(or specific products) for acrylic sheets? I have found several and am currently using Rowmark LaserGloss Exterior Red/White Engraving Plastic) but would like to know if there are any other materials and vendors(so I do not have to buy and test them myself).
How do I avoid dust getting caught in non-proofgrade materials with a different core color(if that doesn’t make a difference please let me know) like (Rowmark LaserGloss Exterior Red/White Engraving Plastic). I have heard that masking can help with this, if so are there any vendors that sell acrylic with masking or is there a specific vendor for masking material?
I have been engraving and cutting acrylic and the material tends to come out sticky/pasty but I can’t decrease the power without getting a lower quality engrave or cut. Does masking help with this or is there a special material I should buy or a procedure that I need to do to stop this.
When I upload an .svg file from Inkscape there are always different steps created from the one file(for example with a sign the text and the outline are different steps) this makes the print take twice as long as it would if they were all in the same step. Is there a way to import one .svg file as one step or merge steps?
Welcome to the forum.
You will find nearly all of your answers in the forum, so utilize the search function often. For 2 color acrylic, many users have decided that two passes (the second at low power to clear the engrave of the dust from the first pass) has worked well. For smoother engraves, defocusing helps. I find that engraving through masking leaves a sticky
mess, so I remove masking for most engraves. I always remove clear masking.
The Glowforge inteface recognizes different operations by “seeing” different colors. You can make all of your engraves the same color fill and they should be done in one operation. You can also rasterize your Inkscape file to unify the engraves.
There are several two color acrylic suppliers, but I would guess the JPP is one of the biggest. You might also consider Delvies, Inventables, and Houston Acrylics.
Welcome to the forum. I cut a lot of acrylic and have never had the material be sticky, but I haven’t used the colored/layered material before (although I have been wanting to). I buy all of my acrylic locally. I usually buy from their scrap bin as it is much cheaper and most of the stuff is plenty large enough to use (sometimes I have to cut it down to fit). I have been able to get quite a bit of thick cast which is great for engraving.
Are you cutting Cast acrylic and is it labeled for “engraver” but not “laser”
A lot of 2-tone acrylic is actually designed for manual engraving using mechanical engraving tools (like a CNC router). Those tend not to laser as well. Rowmark makes both kinds so you might be able to find laserable versions of anything you’re using that’s engrave-only.
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