Acrylic is regarded very highly as the most well known materials in the industry because of its high-end appeal, shatter-proof properties and how strong and durable it is. It is a very affordable option and the possibilities are endless when it comes to the application of this wonderful material. It can be used for signage, gifts, trophies, motorbike visors, car windscreens, and more. Acrylic engraves very beautifully. You can achieve an outstanding engraved image for intricate designs or even logos by using a laser engraving machine to accentuate minute details in a photograph. Acrylic is also a very versatile and malleable material to work with. Your design options for acrylic sheets are so much greater than just a few years ago due to the variety of options of shapes and colours. Here we have compiled some useful tips and tricks for personalizing acrylic sheets to keep your sales as well as your in house production to run at maximum speed.
Types of Acrylic Sheets
There are 2 most common types of acrylic that is being used in the markets now, and they both have different uses and applications. The two types of acrylic sheets are cast acrylic sheets and extruded acrylic sheets.
In most industries, the standard for award and trophy production would be cast acrylic. Cast acrylic is made by pouring liquid acrylic “syrup” between 2 sheets on durable tempered glass. A rubber gasket is then put between the sheets of the 2 tempered glasses and then thickness of the gasket is what creates the thickness of the acrylic sheet as this monomer hardens into a solid sheet of acrylic. Acrylic awards and trophies are made of cast material because of its extremely high optical clarity. This material however turns frosty white when engraved with laser engraving machines.
The other type of acrylic is the extruded acrylic. Pellets and resins have to be fed into an extruder in order to heat the acrylic into a molten mass. This molten plastic is then forced through a layer to create a molten acrylic sheet. Then the sheet is fed through rollers so that the thickness can be easily determined. In some cases, it also gives off a beautiful surface finish. Extruded acrylic sheet is most commonly used to produce display standees, and mirroring on acrylic trophies as well. Extruded acrylic sheets are rarely used to produce awards because it engraves clear, unlike cast acrylic which turns white, it is also a lot softer and weaker material which tends to turn all icky and gummy during rotary engraving unless a very sharp cutter is applied. Extruded acrylic is not ideal for engraving; however it can be cut very beautifully using a laser. It comes out super clean and smooth with a naturally flame-polished edge quality.
Generally, cast acrylic sheets would work best for engraving gifts and awards. For profile cutting letters, special shapes and blanks which require a polished edge, extruded acrylics are said to be the best material. In either cases though, you have to remember than different types or brands of acrylic sheets often engrave with different results, so do not expect the same outcome all the time.