I was gifted some acrylic sheets after purchasing my Glowforge plus this week but the acrylic is not masked with anything. Is it still safe to cut by itself or do I need to purchase some sort of masking paper tape ?
Acrylic is, generally, safe to cut. Not required but, if you’d like, feel free to mask it. Personally, I mask anything that could could get stained by smoke.
My experience with unmasked acrylic of any type is that the tiny super-hot particles that get blown downstream will etch onto the surface leaving a noticeable trace that is impossible to remove.
Cutting it without a mask will leave ‘flashback’ burned on the back from the laser reflecting off the crumb tray. A piece of paper under it will prevent that.
If you don’t have masking handy, dawn dish soap will do. Just the plain old gel soap you’d use to wash dishes. Spread a thin layer of it across the surface of the plastic with your fingers, run your laser job, and then rinse the soap off in a sink. The soap layer will prevent the heat and debris from marring the surface of the arylic, just like masking. To avoid getting soap on your crumb tray, a damp paper towel underneath should protect the back side from flashback.
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