Did you know that the principle of the laser dates back to Albert Einstein in 1917 but it wasn't until the 40s and 50s that it came to fruition? If you are interested in engraving plastic and making some custom specialized designs, we have put together this short guide with more information about the best plastics for laser markings.
Keep reading to learn all things about marking plastic with laser.
Delrin is a type of semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer that is used in different applications such as water valve components, pumps, bearings, gears, electrical insulators, and rollers. This is a strong plastic that maintains high rigidity, and it has low friction. Lasers are able to create a smooth edge without additional finishing on this type of plastic.
One of the top plastics for laser cutting is acrylic because it produces a fine polished edge and it cuts safely as well. Both types of acrylic materials (cast and extruded) are ideal for laser processing.
Cast materials cut nicely with a laser beam but it doesn't produce a polished edge, it is better for laser engraving. Extruded materials, on the other hand, cut smoothly and leave a clean polished edge. Extruded is also less expensive than cast.
You can learn even more about extensive specialization on unique plastic pieces where laser marking comes in handy.
This type of plastic is also known as polyester film polyethylene terephthalate. Mylar is usually used to make stencils because it is durable, clean, and easy to stencil with. This specific plastic has high strength durability, and high tensile properties which is why you can get clean and precise cuts.
Keep in mind that mylar has some challenges. One of the challenges is that if the laser beam is too powerful, it can catch on fire. Another challenge is that the edges of the plastic run the risk of melting as you cut them which can leave you with burred edges.
Also, if the sheets of mylar that you are cutting are too thick they will either bubble, warp or curl while you are cutting.
Kapton is a high-performance plastic polymer that has high thermal conductivity, great tensile properties, and high electrical resistance. All of these properties make it ideal for laser cutting. Usually, CO2 lasers are used to cut Kapton because of its great energy absorption capacity but UV lasers can be used as well.
A con of using this type of plastic is that the edges tend to char. If you use a laser beam that is too powerful it can also cause thermal damage so you want to make sure you use a medium power laser beam instead.
We hope that now that you learned the ins and outs of laser markings on plastic you can make informed decisions before you start your next project.
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