For this project, we were laser cutting acrylic discs from 3mm thick standard sheet profile, using a CO2 laser as the cutting medium. This particular process uses a multiple pass route to cut through in order to allow the power setting to be sufficiently low enough not to create flare off during the process. Flare off is the creation of a flame which burns and discolours the material surface. The multi-pass method of laser cutting this acrylic is still extremely fast, with these discs being cut in just a few seconds.
When cutting acrylic, it is recommended that cast material rather than extruded material be used. The finished results are substantially higher with the cast variations.
Again, as with many other processes where the laser is likely to move out of focus during the process, the laser focal point can be set below the surface to minimise any potential distortion or size variation. The sheet is also suspended above the process table, in order to prevent any back scatter from the laser which could damage the acrylic. With the LightBlade version, a honeycomb table is one of the supplied options. It is very easy to support the sheet of the base by using 8 or 10 mm ball bearings. This is sufficient to remove potential backscatter from the laser.
With CO2, the beam width is traditionally much larger than with Nd-YAG, and therefore, there are restrictions on the resolution of images than can be created. Simple shape cutting, like the example shown, is relatively straight forward.
If you would like further information on this laser cutting service, or any other application, please request a call back or talk to one of our laser marking specialists on 01737 826902