Quality of acrylic- what can we use

Was wondering if there is some acrylic material i cant use or how to determine which are good and bad materials to use. From low quality actrylic to the highest - and how the setting would change, if someone could help, txs

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Acrylic is pretty standard, but there are two main kinds…cast acrylic and extruded acrylic.

Cast acrylic, like the Proofgrade that Glowforge sells, will develop a pretty white color where it is engraved.

Extruded acrylic, like Plexiglass, does not show engraves and it absolutely stinks to high heaven when you work with it. Mirrored and colored acrylics (generally extruded) have different levels of stink. Some will flat knock you down.

They’re not dangerous, but make sure your venting setup is excellent before you run those.

Settings are the same depending on the thickness of the material. You can use the Proofgrade defaults, but be sure to watch thicker acrylics when you do those jobs…it can catch fire. Always keep an eye on it.

Not all plastics are acrylic. Even some that you can get from the plastic suppliers who sell acrylics are not designed for laser use. Make sure it’s laser compatible before you buy it. Some of them release toxic fumes when burned.

But acrylic is generally considered safe as long as you keep an eye on it. :slightly_smiling_face:


You can reverse-engrave and paint clear extruded acrylic, which is cheap and commonly available (i.e. local hardware stores.) I recently used some to make these labels for spice jars.

It’s a lot nicer than 2-color acrylic in these applications because you have the perfect smooth surface on top.

It also can be stained for faux stained glass style designs.

Finally, most mirrored acrylic is extruded as well, but cuts like butter and (again) can be reverse engraved to make very attractive pieces.


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