Cutting Cheap Acrylic frames in half?

Has anyone attempted to cut cheap acrylic frames (the standing kind you can buy at the dollar store) on your Glowforge? I’m working on a project for my school and we would like to have standing frames that are 4" by 10". I’m aware that there are TONS of ways to build these from scratch, but honestly I was hoping to make this a simple project by just buying 8x10" frames from the dollar store and cutting them in half vertically. I can’t find any info on cutting through two pieces of acrylic stacked (the main part of the frame) or what might happen when the laser gets to the bent part at the bottom. Thanks for any advice!

Your GF will not be able to cut the base – the deepest cut is right at 1/4". Likewise, cutting the front would be pretty dicey. You’ll need to verify that the combined thickness is no more than 1/4" and you’ll be fighting flashback and potentially flames between the layers (generally speaking, stacking any material is a big no-no due to fires).

Welcome to the community and good luck!


Welcome to the forum.
Sometimes the Glowforge is not the right tool for a project. I believe this is one of those times.


Short answer - buy a different tool.


This is good advice. That being said, if we’re looking for solutions and trying to be clever…

If I were trying to do this, I would remove the tray, put aluminum foil inside the frame, align/elevate the face, and cut. You should be able to reliably cut the front surface without any increased fire risk.

This doesn’t solve your potential flashback problem, nor does it address any fogging you might get inside the frame on the back surface (aka “second surface”) of the front face, nor does it address that this is “acrylic” – it might not be acrylic at all.

In all I am not sure I’d take this one on, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I’ll be curious how it turns out if you decide to pursue it.

EDIT: Oh, and one last thing… I doubt this is a good candidate for engraving. You’ll need to test to be sure, but if this is acrylic, it’s almost certainly extruded acrylic, which doesn’t engrave as nicely as cast acrylic.


I’d still be concerned about the 2nd layer for the front. As you illustrated below, the top of the front is bent back to form, well, the back providing a narrow space to insert documents, photos, etc.

So, problems with front 2nd surface, flames between front & back, back 1st and 2nd surfaces, and the base. Seems like a lot of challenges for a buck. YMMV, of course.


Right, and I’m saying you slip foil between the layers, that will protect the back from any laser action.

We are saying the same thing, neither of us would do this :slight_smile:


The cut you describe would be much better suited to a bandsaw. Does your school have a shop class?


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