5.1. More information about acrylic

Acrylic – also known by a variety of other names, including plexiglass, Plexi, perspex, lucite, and PMMA – is the most popular laser-cutting material that we carry as it is inexpensive and has an attractive finish with laser-polished edges that is ready for immediate display.

Acrylic is available in a variety of thicknesses (which we can cut up to 1″), and a variety of transparent, translucent, and opaque colors, including fluorescent, mirrored, and two-tone options too. We have a large selection of acrylic colors and thickness available; for a complete list of our stocked materials, please see our quote request page. If you need something else, we might be able to special-order it for you from our suppliers, or you can ship it to us instead.

While acrylic is lighter and stronger than glass, it is also somewhat brittle and is susceptible to cracking if it is dropped or hit – especially at sharp corners in your design – or if drilled using the wrong bit or poor technique. We do not recommend acrylic for applications that require rough handling. However, we also have several impact-modified acrylic options that are more durable, but please note these acrylics usually have sticker edges after laser cutting than standard acrylic.

You can glue acrylic together using special acrylic glues such as Weld-On. Please contact your local hardware store and ask for glues used for acrylic.

How to care for and clean acrylic parts

Acrylic comes with a protective, paper or film, masking attached to the surface, which we leave on when we cut and ship your parts to avoid scratching the surface. Once you receive the parts, you will need to peel the masking. Here is a video that shows an easy way to unmask acrylic, which is especially helpful if you have a lot of parts!

After you have unmasked the acrylic, it can naturally build up a static charge, which can attract dirt and dust.

To clean acrylic, we always recommend that you use a very soft microfiber cloth, and avoid using paper towels, as their rough surfaces can often cause more scratches on the acrylic surface. Usually, a simple mixture of warm water and mild dish soap will do the trick, and you should avoid using harsh household cleaning products like Windex. For a more thorough cleaning, we recommend Novus #1 plastic cleaner, which is available in multiple kit sizes, or separately, from a variety of retailers, including Amazon.

WARNING: Never use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to clean acrylic as it will cause the acrylic to crack!

Cast and extruded acrylic

Acrylic starts as a liquid resin, which is either cast into a glass mold, or continuously extruded through a machine to make flat sheets. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, and the following table highlights some of the most important differences:

Cast Acrylic Extruded Acrylic
Turns frosty white when engraved, which provides high-contrast engravings Engraving is difficult to see from most angles
Thickness varies more Tighter thickness tolerances
Higher molecular weight; less susceptible to cracking, e.g. when machined Lower molecular weight; more susceptible to cracking, e.g. when machined
Higher melting point results in less polished finish Lower melting point provides a more polished finish
Wider variety of colors available Fewer color options

Common uses for laser-cut acrylic

Acrylic is commonly used as an alternative to glass for a variety of different applications, such as:

  • Indoor and outdoor signs
  • Decorations for the home, office, or store
  • Robot parts and chassis
  • Computer case parts
  • Art pieces

  • Custom templates and tools
  • Electronics enclosures
  • Test fixtures for R&D
  • Ornaments
  • Trophies and awards

  • Cake toppers
  • Jewelry
  • Charms and keychains
  • Aquariums
  • And more!

Pictures of some acrylic colors we stock

Below are pictures of most of the 3mm acrylic colors we stock. Your monitor will probably not show the colors exactly, but the pictures should give you some idea of what the colors are like. We do stock other colors and materials: see the quote request form for a complete list.

Gold mirrored acrylic.

Yellow mirrored acrylic.

Clear “silver” mirrored acrylic.

Opaque black acrylic #2025.

Translucent red acrylic (#2283 or similar).

Transparent fluorescent red acrylic #2085.

Transparent red acrylic #2423.

Red mirrored acrylic.

Transparent yellow acrylic (#2208 or similar).

Translucent green acrylic (#2108 or similar).

Green mirrored acrylic.

Transparent green acrylic #2092.

Transparent fluorescent green acrylic #2154.

Translucent dark-blue acrylic (#2114 or similar).

Transparent blue acrylic #2424.

Translucent blue acrylic #2051.

Transparent light-blue acrylic #2069.

Sapphire blue mirrored acrylic.

Translucent turquoise acrylic #2308.

Transparent gray acrylic (#2064, #2074, or similar).

Opaque white acrylic #3015.

Translucent white or “sign white” acrylic #7328.

Very translucent white acrylic #2447.

Transparent clear acrylic.

Transparent amber acrylic #2422.

Translucent orange acrylic #2119.

Transparent fluorescent orange acrylic #2086.

Translucent brown acrylic #2418.

Translucent ivory acrylic #2146.

Pink mirrored acrylic.

Translucent pink acrylic #3199.

Purple mirrored acrylic.

Translucent violet acrylic #2287.

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