Clear film on Acrylic

I have a customer who asked me to cut some clear acrylic that they have. It has a clear film on both sides. Should I remove that first before cutting it, or does that not matter?

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Yes indeed. It will not and make a mess along your cuts or engraved.

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Thanks! Would it make sense to apply masking tape to the acrylic after I remove the plastic, or just cut the acrylic directly?

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It’s easy to clean up after cutting if you’ve got the settings dialed in. If not then masking it will help keep it clean and melt free.

If that’s extruded acrylic then it won’t engrave with that white frosting you see in most acrylic engraves. Extruded acrylic doesn’t engrave with that much contrast.

Cast acrylic is a bit more expensive (like pennies more) but engraves with a frosted result. It also isn’t as prone to sharp bits when it breaks.

If you’re engraving acrylic masking makes it a bit harder to clean though. You’ll want to bump up the power a bit or slow it down a hair so you get a good burn through the masking and into the acrylic. Fine details can be a pain to weed - check out the posts on using Monster duct tape for weeding.

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You may wish to check to make sure the the customer’s “acrylic” is actually acrylic and not something else – polycabonate, for example – that looks like acrylic but doesn’t behave like acrylic.

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