Acrylic - Clear TRANSPARENT

0.080 inches 0.120 inches 0.180 inches 0.240 inches

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What is it

Acrylic (PMMA) is a thermoplastic that is available in a wide range of colors including transparent tints and clear to opaque solid colors.

How fast will this material ship?

Orders using this material will ship as fast as same day. Find out more.

Can I get a sample?

You can get a sample here.

Design Notes

Acrylic is hard and stiff as plastics go. It is sensitive to stress concentrations sharing a certain fragility with glass. This is most evident if parts are small or thin. Details should not be smaller than 1mm as they are likely to be too fragile.

The manufacturers tolerance for the thickness of the materials is as follows:

Material thicknessPossible Range
2.0mm1.3 - 2.5mm
3.0mm2.2 - 3.5mm
4.5mm3.5 - 5.1mm
6.0mm4.8 - 6.6mm

Engraving Acrylic

There are 3 types of engraving possible with laser cutting. Area engraving, line engraving and a combination of both.

Area engraving is great it you need to mark a large area on the surface of the material. To specify area engraving set your shapes to have a fill color of black with RGB values of 0, 0, 0. The way this engraving is performed is like an old dot matrix printer except instead of dots of ink it uses pulses of the laser beam. This is a surface finish not deep enough to be used for pocketing or inlays. The depth of the engraving ranges between 0.1-0.5mm.

Line engraving is like a really shallow cut. To achieve this effect the stroke color to red with RGB values of 255, 0, 0 and set the stroke style to a width of 0.01 mm. The laser beam follows along the red lines that you have in your design and marks the surface of the material. The result is crisp but it can be a time consuming technique if you have a lot of small details like text.

Using a combination of both engraving types typically gets the best result. Set your shapes to have a fill color of black with RGB values of 0, 0, 0, the stroke color to red with RGB values of 255, 0, 0, and set the stroke style to a width of 0.01 mm. The line engraving causes the laser beam to trace around the edges of the engraved areas making them more crisp and bringing the details to life.

Construction Techniques

Creating structures from acrylic can be tricky due to variations in the material thickness. Creating a design that can accommodate variations in the material thickness is the best way to go.

For some tips on how to design for acrylic see this post.

Additionally the laser cuts at a slight taper (1-2 degrees) since the laser beam is shaped like a cone. The tapering causes one side to be slightly smaller than the other side. The taper is almost unnoticeable in 3mm material; the thicker the material, the more noticeable the taper. When using laser-cut parts such as wheels or gears, you might need to position the parts in an alternating pattern so that the tapers “cancel out”.

Typical Uses

Acrylic is commonly used for making jewelry, tableware, electronics enclosures, conference badges, signage, book covers, point of sale displays etc

Environmental Information

Acrylic is non toxic and recyclable in some areas.

Adhesives, joints and fastenings

Acrylic can be joined with epoxy, Weldon 3, 16 and 40. Dichloromethane and chloroform. Screw joints should be pre-drilled to avoid splitting.

Tips from other designers

Gill says:

Scratched your finished pieces? Polish it with Brasso, and the scratches disappear amazingly. Sorry, don't know what the equivalent products are in the US or NZ.

Added over 10 years ago. ( delete )
Patrik says:

Any suggestions for solvent welding using acrylic cement? I've been told the laser cutting creates lots of little grooves on the edges, that can interfere with forming a strong weld, when using a thin cement that depends on capillary action and doesn't have any gap filling ability. Is sanding laser cut edges before solvent welding recommended? Does it help to engrave the surfaces to be welded, or should they be left smooth?

Added almost 7 years ago. ( delete )
Josh says:

Hi! We've successfully adhered acrylic using Weld-on 3. There has been a discussion on the forums about alternatives to that:
I haven't heard about any Ponoko customers needing to sand or engrave surfaces before gluing.
The best thing you can do is prototype - and see how you go.

Added almost 7 years ago. ( delete )

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