I found an inexpensive way to get some clear acrylic

Hi all. Just a quick post to share something that I haven’t see here yet. Maybe I missed it? Not sure.

I was shopping in a thrift store today. Well actually, I was bored silly while my wife was shopping! :wink:

Anyway, I decided to entertain myself by seeing what I might find that I could use in my Glowforge (as any normal person here does, right?)

So I found a couple of “generic art” wall hangings.

They happened to be 50% off, I confirmed that they were acrylic and not glass, and I brought them home with me.

I removed the staples to get to the clear acrylic and in the end I got two large pieces (37.5 inches x 13 inches) for a total of $10 bucks.

I’ve seen this generic art type stuff at tons of yard sales and thrift stores before, but this is the first time I looked at it as a source of laserable material.

Sure, I’ll have to cut my long pieces into smaller Glowforge-size sheets, but that’s a small issue to deal with to get cheap materials!


'Tis a bargain, indeed! Only issue I see is that most framed artwork like this uses extruded acrylic instead of cast…and I’m betting that’s the case with this. Extruded doesn’t engrave very well, and though much smellier, cuts just fine.


Although I have a lot of extruded acrylic from Lowe’s and haven’t had a problem with it engraving. It may not be quite as sharp maybe, but it still works fine for keychains and everything else I’ve used it for. I never would have thought at looking at thrift shops or yard sales for pictures that might have acrylic in them.


I’m interested in your results with the Lowe’s extruded acrylic. What settings did you use?

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I just use the standard GF settings for either medium or thick acrylic. I always either use either dish soap on both sides, or like in these keychains, wood glue (dried) on the engraving side and dish soap on the other.


Why dish soap?

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helps the laser “HIT” the surface. I use dish soap when I engrave shot glasses.


What @ca_worth said. Also, it seems to give a smoother, more rounded edge, whereas masking makes a “ridge” on the edge. And it is so easy to wash the soap off, so there’s no weeding. I started using @evansd2 wood glue for when I want to engrave, as it is super great for preventing bleed-through of paints, whereas paint has more of a tendency to bleed through with masking. And the wood glue is easy to weed off too - I usually use a straight pin, which is great for getting tiny spaces in letters, etc. - you just have to be sure to go at an angle with the pin so you don’t scratch the acrylic.


Gotta love a good repurposing.

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I haven’t used them yet, but I just purchased 20 acrylic sheets for only $6.66 each, including tax and shipping. They look like quality product, and for that price it’s wayyyy cheaper than I’ve found anywhere else. Here you go: https://www.etsy.com/listing/1255859732/20-pack-clear-12-x-20-x-18-thick-acrylic?ref=yr_purchases

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That’s a good deal, but I’m afraid estreet plastics has you beat.

$98.82 for 20 glowforge sized sheets. That’s $4.94 per, a 25% savings. If you buy 21, you hit another discount level and it goes down to $4.83, a 27.5% savings.

Estreet has been mentioned more times than I can count on the forum. I wrote up some tips on how to use the forum to find materials sources, you might like #1a here:


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