View Full Version : Cutting part way through acrylic

Keith Upton
04-24-2014, 12:21 PM
I know the laser is not the correct tool for this, but it's all I've got... So what is the best way to cut and or engrave part way though acrylic? Here is pic to help with what I'm talking about...


Right now I'm cutting all the way through the bottom sheet of Rowmark where the two rows of standing cards are. I'd like to only cut/engrave them deep enough so that the cards would sit down in them (too keep them standing upright), but not fall trough the bottom if the player picks the whole thing up to move it.

Should I just engrave that spot super slow with lots of power (I think I'd have heat issue this way), or is there a better way of doing this?

Thanks for an help you can give me. I'd prefer not to blast though a bunch of expensive Rowmark trying to figure this out. lol

Jerome Stanek
04-24-2014, 12:28 PM
What are you using for speed and power. cut the power in half on those areas. use some scrapes and see how that will work. I would draw a series of line in assign each a different speed and power setting to get the depth that you want.

Keith Upton
04-24-2014, 12:46 PM
I'm not sure that will work. Does the laser see power and speed the same for both raster and vector signals? I typically vector cut 1/8 inch acrylic at 13% speed and 90% power. If I was to put those same setting in for rastering, I don't think the laser is going to cut all the way through the acrylic. I've not tried it, but I doubt if I put 13% speed and 45% power that it is going to engrave 1/16 of an inch in to the acrylic. Am I wrong?

Chuck Stone
04-24-2014, 12:47 PM
If you cut partway through, you won't have a hole.. you'll have an outline of a hole.
I think rastering the hole would not look so good.
Can you cut the hole and then make the same cut in a thinner piece of material?
Then you can glue it into the hole. This will give you a pocket that's more shallow
than the base material, but still able to hold the cards.

Keith Upton
04-24-2014, 1:03 PM
Yeah, was thinking that would only give me the outline. I'd have to position X number of lines right next to each other to equal the length that I'd need.

I don't need to engrave/cut very far into the material, just enough to create a lip for the cards to hold against. I could cut the slots all the way through and then glue a thin sheet to the bottom of the base, but I was trying to avoid that extra step and materials.

Gary Hair
04-24-2014, 1:19 PM
how about something like this? Cut it out and glue it to the top of the base.


Keith Upton
04-24-2014, 1:32 PM
That could work as well... but more material and gluing.

I know I've heard people talk about vector engraving before... would that not work in this case or am I completely misunderstanding what vector engraving is?

Gary Hair
04-24-2014, 2:15 PM
It would actually be raster engraving - test it using a rectangle the size you want to make the recess and raster away - just like you would if you were engraving text. I think you'll find the time it takes to get even a shallow recess will be so long that cutting and gluing may be more attractive.

Mike Chance in Iowa
04-24-2014, 2:26 PM
You could test this out on scrap wood, cardboard or other scrap plastic. I would use "engrave by color" and vector cut all the way thru the edges of your base with one color. Then using #1 card slot as an example, since you only need a thin line to hold the cards, you have a choice to either vector cut contour lines in another color using a much lighter setting to create a recessed slot, or raster engrave a rectangle deep into the plastic with whatever power & speed is necessary. (It looks like such a thin "slot" that you may not gain any time using vector cutting versus raster engraving to create the slot.)

Mike Troncalli
04-24-2014, 4:24 PM
Gary has the right idea, but a little different twist here. Go ahead and vector cut everything out. Then place a thin bottom layer under the board. This would create the slots that you want. Trying to raster that much surface area is going to take a long time.

David Somers
04-24-2014, 4:38 PM

How about this. Cut through your card holding slots completely but don't cut the outline of the main board. Glue or adhere something to the underside of your board that will be act as a bottom to those slots AND act as a cushion for the board when it is sitting on some nice furniture. Once that is glued, cut the outline of the board and the glued on cushion in one cut. Card slot problem solved and a bit of a value added feature added to the board?


Rich Harman
04-24-2014, 5:00 PM
Trying to raster that much surface area is going to take a long time.

It is only three narrow slots, all in a line, should not take long to raster. I think that cutting out another full size piece to make a bottom layer would take longer and of course it would use a lot more material.

Bert Kemp
04-24-2014, 5:17 PM
I agree with Rick the time it would take to do all the other stuff will be longer then just rastering. Just make a rectangle fill it black and raster. Its acrylic won't take that long. JMHO

Keith Upton
04-24-2014, 6:22 PM
Thanks everyone. I ended up just engraving that area twice with different color mapped settings. Worked a charm and only added about 20 sec for those three lines.

Mike DeRegnaucourt
04-25-2014, 2:24 PM
I was going to suggest using color mapping for the vector settings too. Set one color to cut all the way through and a different color that uses less power so that it only cuts a slot maybe 1/2 way through the material. This would avoid having to do any rastering which can typically be slower than vector cutting (no back-n-forth).

Walt Langhans
04-25-2014, 2:42 PM
Good Game :D