Cutting 1/8in acrylic without the protective film

So I am making ear savers for friends and peeling off the “protective paper” is quite a nuisance *especially for a thousand", so I tried cutting 1/8in acrylic without the paper, and what I am experiencing is I am having to break apart the material as it doesnt seem to cut all the way through, Does anyone know the proper settings that I need to set to be able to do this? or is it just not possible?

Proofgrade acrylic cuts the same with or without masking. If not, your machine likely needs cleaning or has an issue.

However, why not just let the recipient peel off the masking? I’ve delivered about 2000 with masking so far, no complaints.

The support site (above) has a pretty comprehensive page of troubleshooting:

It may actually be that it’s melting back together because the cut is slightly hotter without the masking there.

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I’m in the “clean it” camp. I peel the masking off the sheet before lasering, put it on a piece of newspaper and cut using the medium PG acrylic settings. Set Focus, push print.

I’m crossing the 10,000 earsaver count now and haven’t had any issues - I clean it every time I switch colors or I notice the lid camera looks smudgy.

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Wait, you cut acrylic on newspaper? I admit I am not consistent on the forum, but I have not heard of doing this and my initial reaction is that it would be a great fire source. Please tell me more! Does it remove the flashback/ vapor re-deposit that acrylic gets when there is no masking on the back?

Nope. There are those who will tell you that you can’t stack stuff to laser. And then they recommend stacking stuff under a piece of something when you pull the crumb tray out :slight_smile: Or they use corrugated cardboard which is nothing more than two pieces of paper separated by a nicely formed air channel.

There’s no air gap between the acrylic and the newspaper. It’s just like masking except no glue. If you’ve got it set for just enough power (for the 1/16 Rowmark Granite Deluxe I’m running 195/100) to cut through without melting the edges you’ll get newspaper that sticks to some of the cut pieces more by static electricity than anything sticky. About a third of the pieces the newspaper falls off as I pull the pieces out of the forge.

Of course I’ve only done 10,000 of them this way (I started using white copy paper but I ran out and it’s quicker to use newspaper than placing multiple pieces of copy paper). Those who frown on anything under your material can explain the dichotomy of their various recommendations but I’m not paying much attention - been doing this for too long to worry about someone’s theoretical issues. YMMV

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I very much appreciate you sharing this tip, as one of the quality issues that I want to address for my acrylic puzzles is some pieces having a bit of flash back on the material. This makes me super excited to test on the next batch!

I’m making a bunch for our medical office customers and found out that the Pearl color acrylic to be perfect. https://www.tapplastics.com/product/plastics/cut_to_size_plastic/acrylic_sheets_color/341

I take off the original masking and place my own https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DF7TDSF on the back side only.

Cut and engrave. The Pearl color hides the residue that bakes onto the acrylic and the back cover protects it from burns.

Once they are done place them in a large bowl of hot water for 15 mins or so and the masking falls off.

I haven’t tested it without the back masking but this method and acrylic has saved me hours and hours of work.

yikes, that pearl is expensive at $15/sheet for 12x20.