Strange but beautiful plastic engrave residue

Gorgeous (unintentonal) maroon engrave on plastic! Recently bought some plastic sheets from Amazon labeled PET/Acrylic, which are on the safe plastic list. Project was a custom face shield and when I retrieved the finished project the engraving was a maroon color instead of the clear etched/frosted look I was expecting. Although the engrave is gorgeous, I am dubious about the veracity of the labeling. The red engrave is a danger signal to me as I’ve worked with lots of clear acrylic, PETG and never experienced any coloring like this. Is this what forbidden polycarbonate looks like engraved? No weird smell or smoke but a strange stringy residue. Dropped the power way down and it still leaves a red residue. Hoping it’s safe because it beautiful, but my gut tells me something is wrong. Wondering if anyone else has come across this strange behavior.


Wait what?

A clear plastic that engraved a dark maroon, that’s not paint?

I’m going to guess it’s transparent aluminum


Great response!



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I think people are going to want to know where to get this!

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@evansd2 it’s not paint. I couldn’t paint it that well if I tried.

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That’s actually very nice looking, but does it interfere with viewing through the face shield? You might be setting a trend. :grinning:

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Do you have a product link to share? I’m curious.

@evansd2 here is the plastic I used. Don’t get me wrong, I love the results just worried and wondering if it’s safe to use for me and my laser.

Did you remove the masking before you engraved?

@evansd2 I didn’t remove it in the photo of the shield but also ran a test where I did remove it with the same result

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At the link you posted, it doesn’t say it’s acrylic, it’s PET. Google tells me PET is safe for laser-cutting, but that was a very quick google.

PET is safe (And I believe OP described it as PET/acrylic), but I’ve never seen it engrave colored like that. I think the OP’s question is still very much open.

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@potentato Oops, you are right actuall it is listed as " PET Sheet/Plexiglass" in the descriptoin and plexiglass is a common brand of acrylic and used interchangeably (think Kleenex and tissue). All the same, both PET and acrylic are both laser safe but I still can’t explain the non standard etching color (which also appears in the cut edges as well).

What seems odd, is that on the Amazon page, this product is engraved and the result is the typical frosted look.

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No. Don’t know why you got the red but polycarb engraves moderately crappy (cuts worse) because it gets a lot of melt. It does not turn red.

I have some of that from Amazon but haven’t used it as I didn’t do any face shield cutting - ended up doing earsavers from acrylic instead. I’ll have to see if I can find the stack and give it a try because that is a really cool effect.


Found this document which suggests that glass present as an additive can cause brown color changes. I don’t have time right this minute for an in-depth read but here is the link:


@mnemosyne Great reference document! I’m filing it away for future reference. I’ve done considerable research trying to find anything on clear plastic that cuts and engraves orange/red. Can’t seem to find any posts, articles or photos similar to mine.

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This is just such a super cool effect I hope you can find a way to replicate it reliably.

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