I just bought a rather large order of acrylic from Delvie and I’m really having a difficult time cutting through their 1/8" extruded acrylic. I tried using the medium red acrylic proofgrade settings (which is 168/full) and it didn’t come even close to cutting it through. So I lowered the speed to 125/full which KIND of cuts through in some places, but very poorly, its not exactly clean through, its very jagged and rough, the kerf at that speed is just massive so it just blows out any kind of intricate cut like small jump ring holes. I was leaving the paper masking on both sides, which I don’t know if that affects it or not.
Anyone buy from them that can offer up any settings recommendations? If I lower the speed MORE the cuts will just get worse. Should I keep it at the proofgrade settings but do two passes instead? This is driving me crazy because I’m not even trying to cut any sort of crazy shapes, just basic cut shapes in various sizes right now to test it out. This is just the basic colored extruded acrylic so I don’t know why its having such a difficult time cutting!
It’s been noted that extruded does not cut or engrave as well as cast. Can’t help with why or settings, though.
Besides the advise above, have you measured what you have? Even with proofgrade, I have found a fair amount of variation in thickness - although it doesn’t affect cut performance. I’ve put more time on my machine cutting earsavers from PG acrylic than I had in total since I received it in 2017…
I’m not sure it’s true that extruded doesn’t cut as well. It’s smellier, and in at least one anecdotal experience for me, burned dirtier (but that had some extenuating circumstances). But it’s always cut fine for me.
Most paper-masked acrylic is cast, so I doubt this is an extruded vs. cast issue. Typically, extruded will have a plastic film masking.
I use extruded almost exclusively in my Glowforge, as it is much easier to source locally (any Lowe’s or Home Depot has it on the shelf) and I get beautiful results, clean cuts, and glasslike edges just using standard Proofgrade settings for Medium Acrylic. The reason it doesn’t engrave as well is that it deforms more, so the individual points/lines in the engraving are not as obvious or distinct.
Are you setting the focus before the cut? Do you have different colors of acrylic to test with? You could try bringing the speed back up and cutting in multiple passes to reduce problems at the edges.
Are you sure it is acrylic, and not polycarbonate? That stuff will cut partway through before making a smoky mess.
If you can post some pictures of the material and the failed cuts, it may give more information for people to go on.
I cut extruded acrylic (from Menards and Home Depot) with Proofgrade settings and have never had an issue. It also engraves fine but doesn’t have the frosty finish of cast so it doesn’t have the same look.
most recently, i cut about 6000 mask clips out of a mix of optix extruded from home depot and the two-layer stuff on clearance from BF Plastics. it all cut easily. the two layer stuff from BF plastics was a little messy, but i attribute that more to the thin top layer that’s only engravable by rotary, not laser engravable. but it is rated as laser cuttter safe.
in any case, the issues the OP is having are not common and not the kinds of issues people report w/extruded.
@melissa7, can you post a link to what you purchased at Delives?
Stick some PG medium draftboard in your machine and cut the Gift of Good Measure using the default settings. That eliminates all the extraneous variables and will help to narrow down what’s going on.
If it doesn’t cut correctly, take a photo of it front and back and open a support ticket by posting in Problems & Support. Include the date, time, and time zone of the cut and include pertinent details such as when you last cleaned your optics, etc…
Yes, I was setting the focus first. I haven’t yet cleaned the lens or mirrors (I’ve only cleaned the camera) as I’ve only had my GF for a month now. The lens hasn’t left the machine since I installed it and I’ve been using it for a month without any issue.
I tried the Gift of Good Measure on Medium Draftboard and the cuts did NOT turn out. Burned the fuck out of them and didn’t even cut through. Which tells me I guess that its not an issue with the settings for the acrylic, its something else.
I’m going through the process to clean the printer head lens and mirror so hopefully that will fix things.
I’ve already had to do a recalibration once on the machine since having gotten it. But that wasn’t affecting the actual cuts it was just printing things in a slightly shifted placement from what I was seeing in the GFUI.
I’ll update once I get the thing cleaned out.
I’ve already clarified that this was CAST that I was using, not extruded. But even if it was extruded, I shouldn’t be having this kind of issue. I’ve used extruded (mirrored) many times without any issue.
Pro Tip: When something doesn’t cut through, the VERY FIRST THING TO DO is clean your optics. It’s a clear symptom of dirty optics, and a month is a VERY long time, if you use your GF on a daily basis. Especially if you cut any draftboard or PG plywood (to name just two likely culprits) on it.
There are 2 mirrors (one under the left side & easy to miss and the other under the removable top on the print head). The one on the left is easy enough to clean and it’s fixed in position. The one under the top is also easy to clean but be careful to align it back with the handle so it’s parallel to the gantry. Pay attention to the pictures in the cleaning directions because people have put them back in wrong and fried them.
The window on the left side of the print head is easy too - also easy to put a thumbprint on when you put the head back on the carriage
The lens is simple enough except it’s also easy to put in backward (upside down?). Make sure the bowl faces up into the head. It may be in wrong already so don’t just put it back the way it comes out - the flat side faces the bottom of the Glowforge and the bowl faces upwards.
There are two little windows on the bottom of the print head that get a wipe too. That helps for the focus.
Then the camera in the lid & the GF logo on top of the print head. That way the picture is clear and you get faster centering & homing as well.