Engraving Acrylics - tips for best results needed

Dear Lightburn Community,

we´re struggling to find the best solution for engraving acrylics.

The problem:
When engraving acrylic plates, there is so much steam/dust/rub off - we have to polish each plate for ages to receive a crystal clear result.

I saw a lot of videos, where people don´t remove the foil to prevent exactly this problem, but with this method, there are a lot of designs where it´s a pain to remove the engraved foil.

What we´ve tryed:
Without foil onto the acrylics:

  1. Using water /w soap
  2. Using a polish machine with polish paste

With foil onto the acrylics:

  1. Try to grap the foil with a duct tape
  2. Put the acyrlic plate into an oven (to heat up the foil)
    2.1 Try to grap the foil with heat resitant tape
  3. Try to use water w/ soap

Every solution “with foil” sadly dosn´t work, the solution without foil works out but takes ages. What is your solution for a time effective result when you are working with engraved acylics?

Attached are some photos.

I don’t do much acrylic but I have had reasonable results using methylated spirits (Denatured alcohol)

Hey Sonnyh,

thanks for your fast reply! I didn´t try out any alcohlics yet by myself because I watched this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZhxH_j1qr8

But maybe this video is just a bit to drastic - I will try it out.

Thanks, anyone another advise?

1 Like

try coating it with a thin coat of dawn dish soap and let that dry. it might stick well enough to act as an intermediate film that is easily washable. Let us know how it works for you, I’ve read its hit or miss.

1 Like

When I engrave acrylic I remove the foil and put transfer tape over it (normally used for vinyl cutter) and then engrave. You could also use painters tape but this is not so wide. This prevent the dust on the works and is then easy to remove after engraving.

When I clean a acrylic plate with pure alcohol I get cracks in my work so personally I would not use that.

Thanks for your advise Dave & Joe!

I will test your ideas and write a short report.

Other tips I found by web investigation:
1. Hair Spray
Removing the film, put on hair spray, let it dry for around 10 minuntes to create a protecting film that´s easy washable.

2. Novus Plastic Polish Products
They have 2 pastes to remove scratches and a cleaning one for the finish

3. kerosene
Used for oil lamps, but it should also clean acrylics greatly

1 Like

This one is easy! Spray a mist of goo gone on the acrylic prior to engraving! That’s it.

Oh also, one more tip: lower your air PSI to about 5 if you have such control. I have a very good lower pressure regulator on my laser just for this reason, for acrylic engraving and cutting. But absolutely, I know your struggle and goo gone is the ticket.

1 Like

Hi Chris,

I engrave acrylic all the time
what I do is engrave the acrylic without the protective masking on it and no air assist.

Also I use Cast acrylic witch gives a nice white engraving. Also don’t engrave to deep just engrave with low power. Just enough to get a clean result.

I have a 150 Watt tube I engrave acrylic at 12-14% power and 600mm/s

Thanks Ronnie,

Thats absolutely true, If Not engraving to deep its was easier to Clean. Sadly we have six 80watts Lasers and all are a Bit different with a Lot of different Designs to engrave, each laser has different settings… its a little pain.

I bought new lenses and mirrors for all of them to try to get same settings.

But thanks for your reply, engraving Not to deep is definatly a good try.

Thanks a Lot also. Bought the goo, I’ll give you a Report :slight_smile:


You are absolutely correct that engraving acrylic without air assist is the ultimate solution. However, not using air assist has always ended up fouling my lens and caking acrylic on the cone. For these reasons, I discovered the goo gone method along with the as low of a PSI (sometimes I turn my regulator to 1 or 2 PSI) only to keep positive pressure in the cone to prevent vaporized acrylic from contaminating the lens.


What is in the Goo Gone?
I don’t know the stuff and I doubt if it is available here in the Netherlands.
(so I must look for something alternative)

Looks like Amazon in the UK sells Goo Gone. There are also a lot of hits for do-it-yourself Goo Gone, though not many of them may be trustworthy. Search for an SDS for Goo Gone and that should give you a general idea of what’s in it.

I have read in other forums about a transfer tape that incorporates a water soluble adhesive. You take off the acrylic’s factory protective layer and then apply the sticky transfer tape. Then laser. Then place the etched acrylic in a warm tray of water until the transfer tape starts falling off the acrylic. You do not want to rub it off because there may be some acrylic etching dust that became embedded in the tape during etching. I don’t remember the brand name but you could make email enquiries to the major transfer tape manufacturers to find it.

It’s citrus oil based cleaner / degreaser. It works ok. I was in a situation last night that I applied this technique. However, the best method for one-off items you’re not mass producing is transfer tape, proper speed, proper power, and just the right amount of air assist. When masking acrylic, sometimes it is helpful to make a fast first pass to remove the tape and then a normal pass for engraving.

1 Like

I might just try that.
A pass to remove the tape… then the normal pass.
Seems like a good idea!

I think I’ve the same problem, can’t get a white engrave in trolase.
The left one with Casper on it, is done by someone else.
And you can see what my first results are. It just doesn’t get white.

Like the right label, how can I get this white? Someone have an idea?

Pim are you sure the sign on the left isn’t dyed or something? (hard to see)

Offtopic: Good to see more Dutch here :wink:

Yeah quite sure.

This is what happens

I had the same problem with the black-on-white Trolase, but the red-on-white Trolase had no issues.