View Full Version : Laser cutting acrylic with MacTac applied

Roger Lueck
12-18-2015, 2:12 PM
I have a customer that I cut acrylic letters quite often. They asked if I could cut acrylic letters for them after they have applied MacTac to the acrylic. My research indicates MacTac produces an optically clear double side PSA tape, but does not include any information regarding flammability or cutting with a laser. Does anyone have any experience with laser cutting .25" acrylic after MacTac has been applied to the surface?

My concerns are:
Will the MacTac burn?
Will the MacTac contribute to scorching the acrylic?
What other problems will applying MacTac to acrylic before laser cutting will occur?

Thank You

Gary Hair
12-18-2015, 2:59 PM
Google is your friend... I typed in "is mactac vinyl" and the first result was yes. You don't want to cut vinyl with your laser.

Ross Moshinsky
12-18-2015, 3:03 PM
Before driving yourself crazy, contact your customer and ask specifically what product he's using. There is a better than decent chance he's using a "generic" MacTac. Once you find out the actual manufacturer, call them up and ask if their product has any chlorine in it. It shouldn't, but you never know. Once you find that out, tell your customer to give you a 12x12 sample for you to cut and test. It's by far the most sensible way of handling things for everyone involved. There is no replacement for doing hands on testing.

For acrylic letters we often use 468MP tape from 3M. This works fine for smaller runs. If you're processing relatively large sheets of acrylic or lots of sheets, "MacTac" is just a more convenient way of doing things as it will typically be laminated on the acrylic saving everyone a bit of aggravation. When I cut acrylic with 468 3M tape on it, I always cut with the tape facing up. I find the results to be much better that way. I would expect cutting "MacTac" to be similar. Cutting adhesive backed material typically doesn't cause any extra problems but as I said above, get a sample and test for yourself. It's worth the time.

Kev Williams
12-18-2015, 10:54 PM
One of my favorite google's is to add the letters MSDS to the subject. Below is what popped up for Mactac.

This is the first time I've run into an "exempt" product. One of the reasons cited is in bold below. Seems
if it had any appreciable amounts of PVC in it, it would release more than 'minute or trace amounts of a hazardous chemical'.

--but then again, there's the 'since it's impossible to anticipate all possible applications and situations...' disclaimer phrase at the end...



TA2017 (0500)
Version #1 (0500)
Approved by J. S.
This is in reply to your request for
Material Safety Data Sheets.
MACtac is complying fully with the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
“Hazardous Communications” standard (29 C.F.R. 1910.1200). The product(s) for which you have
requested the MSDS are considered “articles” as defined in OSHA “Hazardous Communications.” The
standard does not apply to articles (29 C.F.R. 1910.1200 (b)(6)(V). Consequently, as articles, these
products are exempt from the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provisions of 29 C.F.R.
Articles as defined in 29 CFR Part 1910.1200(b)&(c);
A manufactured item other than a fluid or particle: (i) which is formed to a specific shape or design
during manufacture; (ii) which has end use function(s) dependent in whole or in part upon
its shape or
design during end use; and (iii) which under normal conditions of use does not release more than very
small quantities, e.g., minute or trace amounts of a hazardous chemical (as determined under paragraph
(d) of this section), and does not pose a physical hazard or health risk to employees.
However, since it is impossible to anticipate all possible applications and situations in which the
products may be used, we urge you to determine that your use of the products is in accordance with
Standard definition of an article.
Thank you for your interest in MACtac products.

Roger Lueck
12-20-2015, 1:50 AM
Gary, Ross & Kev, Thank You for the replies. Ross, the information in your reply was a great help!

Mayo Pardo
12-20-2015, 3:20 AM
If I remember right, MacTac also makes paper based transfer tape masking which is not clear.
I have used paper transfer tape (brand unknown) as masking on acrylic and have had no problems with it as long as it is squeegeed firmly to the acrylic. If parts of the masking are not adhered well due to dust or contamination, there is a chance those areas could hold a flame but air assist should put it out right away.

Roger Lueck
12-21-2015, 11:58 PM

I found a local supplier of the 3M 468MP material and opted to use it for the project. I cut the acrylic with the 3M material facing up as you indicated, only a very small amount of "scorch" occurred on the paper on the bottom side of the acrylic with no damage to the acrylic at all. Thank You!