Glossy Acrylic & Mirror Finishes

Hi Everyone,

I was wondering if it was okay to cut and engrave glossy finished acrylic without the use of a protective masking tape. I only ask because I remember reading some time ago that cutting or engraving a mirror/mirror type finishes without the protective tape would damage, destroy, or misalign the laser. Is this true, and would it be advisable to leave the masking tape over the material whether it be acrylic or glass?

Thanks very much,


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You should be fine with mirrored acrylic.

Stay away from things that reflect co2 lasers, copper metal is particularly bad apparently.

If you search for “mirror acrylic” you’ll find plenty of posts about it.

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Great thanks for the info. Would you say mirrored glass would be okay as well?

There have been posts where people engrave (not cut obviously) glass mirrors. You generally etch the reflective rear layer off. I’ve never tried it but I’ve seen people’s end results and it can look really good.

If you search “glass mirror” or “mirror engrave” you’ll probably find them.


As long as they don’t use chrome under the glass to make the mirror. Chrome is the other metal reflective at the laser’s wavelength (or so I have read.) It would seem pretty crazy to use chrome as a mirror backing (too expensive and a giant hassle for a mirror), so probably not a real concern.

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There are no problems with the laser reflecting back into itself with glossy acrylic. That one you don’t have to worry about. Mirrored acrylic I always engrave on and cut from the back. I have never had an issue approaching it that way. The same would go for mirrored glass. If you want to etch the front, you’re better off making a stencil and sandblasting.


Thanks for the tips, I’ve been doing my own experimentation since than. Seems to be working just fine

That’s good to know. I never thought chrome could be in a mirror. More Glowforge customers should know of that possibility that just in case.

Thanks for the tip. I’ve heard of that method. Seems to have good results from what I’ve seen online.