Laser cutting acrylic has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its many advantages over other cutting methods. However, there are some challenges associated with laser cutting acrylic to consider. In this article, we discuss the challenges of laser cutting acrylic and how to overcome them.
Melting and Melting
Laser cutting acrylic requires heating the material to its melting point, which fuses the material together. This can cause problems with the cutting process, as the laser may not be able to cut thicker sections of acrylic due to the material melting.
To overcome this challenge, the Atomstack laser cutter needs to be properly calibrated and set up to ensure that the laser cuts the material without melting it. This can be done by adjusting the power and speed of the laser and the distance between the laser and the material.
Carbonization and Combustion
Laser cutting acrylic also generates heat, which can cause the acrylic to scorch or burn. This spoils the appearance of the cut edge and makes it difficult to achieve a smooth, clean cut.
In order to prevent scorching and burning, the laser power and speed should be appropriately reduced to reduce local heat accumulation, thereby reducing the temperature of the acrylic material.
Assisting with compressed air or nitrogen can also help prevent charring and burning. These gases help cool the material and remove any debris created during the cutting process.
Cracks and Fractures
Another challenge of laser cutting acrylic is the risk of cracking and breaking. Acrylic is a brittle material and may crack or fracture under stress during cutting.
To prevent cracking and breaking, it is very important to use the correct Atomstack S20 Pro laser engraver power and cutting speed. High laser power and slow cutting speeds can stress the material and cause fractures. It is also important to use a properly aligned and flat cutting table to prevent any bending or stress on the material.
Laser cutting acrylic is also more difficult when processing thicker materials. Thicker materials require higher laser power and slower cutting speeds, which can lead to increased heat and melting of the material.
To overcome this challenge, thicker materials may need to use different cutting methods, such as sawing or milling. Alternatively, CO2 or fiber lasers with higher power capabilities designed for thicker materials can also be used.
Scratches and Marks
Laser cutting acrylic can also cause scratches and marks on the material. This happens when the laser beam bounces off the material and creates unwanted marks or scratches.
To prevent scratches and marks, it is important to ensure that the laser beam is properly oriented. This can be achieved by ensuring that the laser beam is perpendicular to the material and that the laser lens is clean and properly focused.
It may also be necessary to use masking tape or protective film on the acrylic to prevent scratches and marks during the cutting process.
In conclusion, while laser cutting acrylic has many advantages, there are also some challenges that need to be considered. These challenges can include melting and fusing, charring and burning, cracking and breaking, material thickness, and scoring and marking. However, these challenges can be overcome by properly calibrating and setting up the Atomstack S10 Pro laser cutter, and using the proper cutting method, resulting in clean, precise cuts in acrylic.