I am brand new here and wondering if anyone can point me in the direction of a clear acrylic that I can use as an alternative to the proofgrade clear acrylic 12x20 sold in the glowforge store. It is sold out. How do you decide if an alternative is glowforge compatible? I was planning on only using proofgade until I got a handle on things, but I have my first purchase due Feb 6th and am afraid to wait for the proofgrade stuff to come back in stock in the event it isn’t back in a week or so. Thank you!
I think I ordered mine from estreet.
You’ll find pretty much any cast acrylic to behave just like proofgrade, with the exception of the masking. That might be a bit different, or it may be plastic (laserable, but melty, so pull it off). You can usually just use the proofgrade settings even though it isn’t technically the same material.
They had clear for a while recently. I had been waiting for it myself, but then after it came back in stock, I discovered I had two sheets buried in a stack of draftboard (while doing a full inventory to make sure I bought everything I actually needed with this order!)
As stated, clear cast is all the same, and there are many sources if you search here (I moved this thread to BtM because it’s not a technical support question, which is what the P&S forum is for.)
Specifically, since you’re new, try searching for “acrylic source” or really any kind of material. “hardwood source” “tile source”, “felt source”, etc etc
Also if you’re just getting off the ground with your laser, this might be handy:
I second eStreet. They have a size for clear that is closer to the GF usable area that cuts down on scrap and their material is pretty much the same as the PG material. I use the PG settings without issues on their clear.
Like others have said, acrylic is acrylic and unlike wood it’s all basically the same. It will come with either paper masking or plastic masking. Generally peaking plastic masking often means it’s extruded acrylic and you should remove the plastic masking as it can gum up when lasered. (You can search for the difference between “extruded” and “cast” acrylic as it’s been discussed ad nauseam.)
So the good thing about acrylic being the same is you can get it from anywhere and it’ll all cut basically the same. You can also purchase it online at places like Inventables, Estreet Plastic, Canal Plastic, Tap Plastic and others. I’ve also bought off of suppliers on Etsy and Amazon. Before you buy online though, check to see if they have a store in your town so you save on shipping. I’m lucky to have Tap Plastic store very close to me and buy tons of their very cheap scrap and now get a nice discount after developing a relationship with them.
Another option is a GF owner who sells it and her prices seem reasonable. https://www.facebook.com/ceruleantidesacrylic/
estreet has great prices (I have not used them yet) but you need to watch shipping. I was on there looking at other materials so I just threw 10 pieces of 11.75x19" clear 1/8" into my cart, and shipping (FedEx ground) was about $22. Their materials costs are much lower than PG, however.
I get most of my acrylic from Amanda at Cerulean Tides as mentioned above. I use most of the 1/8” colors she sells, including the clear. You might also check Canal Plastics in NYC or if you have a local plastic company, try them. In my area we have a number of Tap Plastics.
Looks like she’s moved operations to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1543252692492614/
Thanks for the info! I love supporting small businesses
Thank you all so much for the great info (and for moving the thread to the appropriate location-Oops!). This was a huge help.
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