Laser for Clear Acrylic

I must say I really enjoy this forum!

I am just in the planning stage for my MPCNC build… I have just about everything nailed down for things I want to do with it but my knowledge comes up a bit short when it comes to laser applications.

I am wanting to engrave clear acrylic. Cutting would be nice but is not necessary and could be down with the router.

My question is will a laser diode have enough power to engrave clear acrylic. Say some thing in the 5000mw range? Or will I have to plan on a 40 - 60 watt CO2 laser tube.

So I can hopefully let you know tomorrow :slight_smile:
I just got my laser up and running. 3.8w from jtechphotonics. I can say its a powerful little bastage.

I cut (CUT) 1/4" birch plywood tonight with 6-7 passes 1mm deep at full power. Clean through, parts dropped out the bottom (it was slightly elevated).

Im engraving on solid oak right now and the default settings for the jtech laser etch program have the max power on engrave. im down to 70 as max power on my 3.8w laser at 2x the normal speed and thats about right…
im buying some acrylic tomorrow to test. both cutting and engrving

I look forward to your results… I am currently trying to think up a way to add a 60 watt CO2 laser tube to this design. So far I think what I have in my head for mounting the tube will work. I have to think out more about mounting the mirrors and how that will work with the current motor mounting brackets.

My target usable area is 4’x4’ so that give me enough length on the axis to fit just about any size laser tube under 100 watt.

So the clear doesnt cut at all.
UNless leo, or karl, or some other genius figured it out.
I tried 4-5 times last night and couldnt get it to go. It just burnt the bottom piece, paper backing, or without it it just burned the wood.

However most tinted acrylics have worked. i got nice settings going last night
4 passes
1mm per pass
1/8" acrylic from Inventables. Also, i ordered from inventables Tuesday afternoon. It arrived wednesday afternoon and I didnt pay upgraded shipping… CRAZY

3.8W laser from jtech.

Hmm so I guess it would not etch clear acrylic either?

I have read it might be possible to etch if you use masking tape on the surface of the clear acrylic where you want to etch.

So i would treat it like glass, in that you put a piece of paper over it, spray it with a spray bottle, get it wet (not wet, but damp) to help dissipate heat, then it works really well.
Ill try that later as well.

Did you get a chance to try this at all? How did it work?

i havent had a chance to try… im so freakin busy. i just spent the last week in Arizona (im from iowa) training some folks for my real job haha… now im back. i suck at follow up for you man :slight_smile:
you just wanna see etching on clear acrylic right?

No problem at all. I just wanted to know if a small laser like that could etch clear acrylic somehow with spending the money on something I may not use if it does not work.

So from one of your earlier posts… You can etch clear glass too if you put a damp sheet of paper on the glass?

So i tried damp paper on acrylic. NO go…
i havent tried damp paper on glass yet.

Darn… oh well, I guess I will be buying a 60 watt laser tube in the future. I kinda figured that this would have been a little too simple to work for me lol. Thank you so much for your time.

I will probably end up with a glowforge when they ship toward the end of the year. cost is decent, and its a good machine, by all early reviews.

Looks like a cool machine… Little too rich for my blood. Be sure to give us some reviews if/when you get it.

So are you going the crap ton of mirrors approach for that tube?

Yea that is really the only option I have for what I want to be able to do. I have a mounting layout in mind using pieces readily available on thingiverse. Being 5’ x 5’ I have lots of room for a 60 watt tube. Could probably go 100 watt but they get a touch pricey for what I can afford. Might have to think up a couple custom mirror mounts but that should not be too difficult.

200mm/s? or mm/min?