Plastic Laser cutting and engraving

Plastic like acrylic, POM and many others can be laser cut an engraved. Precise cuts and detailed engravings are possible.

Laser Atelier

Possibilities with plastics

Many different plastics can be laser cut and engraved with a laser. From cutting and engraving of acrylic to marking specialised plastics like POM.

Possible applications:

  • Plastic parts of products
  • Engraving and marking of parts and machines.
  • Marking of buttons and switches
  • Packaging and personalisation of products.
  • Signage and signs.
Laserengraving of bird skull as 3D relief in Acryl/PMMA by Laser Atelier
3D Relief engraving in 8mm acrylic
Material sample for architectural models - laser engraving white acrylic 2mm
Engraving in acrylic
Laser engraving in white acrylic with LEGO minifigure
Engraving in white acrylic 2mm

Plastics suitable for laser processing

  • Arylic (Plexiglas, PMMA) can be cut up to around 10mm. Very detailed engravings are possible.
  • POM can be cut and engraved in white with the fiber laser.
  • Polyester, PET and PP can be marked and cut if thin enough
  • PET and Polyester Foils can be cut well. Small details might not be possible due to slight melting/warping of the material.
  • Silicone can be engraved well and with depth. Silicon mats can also be cut.

Plastics not suitable for laser processing

  • All materials containing PVC (polyvinylchloride) must not be processed by laser. This includes many foils and synthetic leathers. Foamed PVC like Forex is also not possible.
  • Polycarbonates (Makrolon, Lexan) is not suited as it melts strongly during cutting.
  • Polystyrene- and polypropylene foamis not suited as it melts strongly during cutting and can be a fire hazard.
  • ABS: Doesn’t cut well. They can be marked and engraved.

Laser processes

Cutting and engraving of plastic

Many plastics can be cut and engraved by laser. By laser engraving parts of the surface the material can be precisely removed. Engraving of very small details like text or graphics is possible. Most types of plastic can be engraved. Cutting is limited to certain types and thicknesses.

Coloring of plastics

Plastics can be colored by precisely heating the material in a very small spot. This process can make some types of plastic darker and some lighter. The resulting marking is depending on the type and composition of the plastic material.

Foaming of plastics

A fiber laser can mark some plastics white. This happens by melting the material to create small gas bubbles. This thin foam layer can reflect light in a different way and appear brighter than the rest of the material.

Samples of laser processed plastics

POM and ABS laser marking by foaming

On materails like polyoxymethylen (POM) bright and white engraving are possible with a fiber laser. The laser heats up the material locally and small gas bubbles are created. The engraved surface appears much brighter than the surrounding material.

By using this foaming process a permanent and long-lasting change on the surface of the material is created. Compared to other marking methods like silk-screen printing the surface change is permanent and cannot be scratched off. This is very useful for medical parts.

  • Black POM, White ABS und plastic with laser additives
  • Detailed and fast engravings are possible.
  • Foaming with a laser can be customized for example for serial numbers
Laser foaming and marking of POM, Acetal. Made with fiber laser 
Laser foaming and marking of POM/Acetal.

Cutting and engraving of Acrylic, PMMA, Plexiglass

Acrylic is a material that is very well suited laser cutting and engraving. By cutting acrylic with a laser clean and polished edges are created. Engraving is possible with high detail. The engraving appears white in casted (GS) acrylic.

  • Both casted (GS) and extruded acrylic (XT) can be cut well by laser. Engravings with good contrast can only be done with casted acrylic.
  • Can be cut fast and precise with the laser.
  • Acrylic is shipped with protective foil on both sides. Cutting marks are no visible on the material. For engravings the foil has to be removed before laser processing.
Material sample for architectural models - laser engraving white acrylic 2mm