The journey from sheet to finished product is a long one, but you need to understand the different types of acrylic that can be used to create a beautiful finished product.
The first step in making an acrylic trophy with a laser engraver is to choose the type of acrylic. There are two main types of acrylic sheet: extruded and cast, also known as plexiglass.
Extruded acrylic is formed by pushing the material through a die when molding the acrylic. This process creates a slab that holds tolerances well. In contrast, cast acrylic is formed by mixing chemicals and pouring them into molds. Since cast acrylic is poured into molds to create the sheets, each sheet varies in thickness.
Extruding and casting acrylic can produce very different results when laser cutting and engraving by Sculpfun. Cast acrylic gives a nice flame polished edge when laser cut by the Sculpfun S10 and is less prone to cracking (fine cracks at the edge) than extruded acrylic.
Laser engraving cast and extruded acrylic can also yield very different results. When laser engraving with the Sculpfun S30 Pro Max, cast acrylic produces white engravings and extruded acrylic produces gray engravings. Cast acrylic yields flame-polished edges and vibrant white engravings, making it ideal for trophy-making needs.
Acrylic Thickness and Color
Cast acrylic comes in many different colors and thicknesses. Clear is the most popular choice, but colored acrylic can be a hot prize. Thinner thicknesses are available in most colors, usually up to 1/4″ thick, and thinner acrylics with the Sculpfun S9 laser engraver.
Before choosing the thickness of acrylic for your project, it is also essential to know your equipment capabilities, you can go to the HTPOW website to choose and understand the laser engraving machine, saw and CNC engraving machine you need. Can cut acrylic, but will leave Rough edges that require sanding and flame polishing or buffing in post-production. Lasers can cut and flame polish in one step, which is a great way to save time and reduce production steps. In general, the thicker the acrylic, the more laser power you will need to achieve a smooth, flame-polished edge.