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Thread: Engraving then cutting acrylic

  1. #1

    Engraving then cutting acrylic

    Just installed my new Epilog Helix 45w and have a question re acrylic. I want to engrave then cut a 4" x 6" piece.

    I believe I must remove the backer paper prior to engraving, but for cutting shouldn't I place some transfer paper back on the piece so it doesn't scorch the top? Is there a way to tell the laser to pause after engraving or do I do that manually at the machine?

    I guess my question is, how do most of you handle engraving and cutting within the same file?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Wenatchee, WA
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    vector-raster... pause

    Mike- if you are using Corel the answer to your question is in your print options. First run the RASTER part of your job. That will do the engraving you want. Then go back and select the VECTOR option. That will do your cutting. Obviously the fact you are funning the job 2x means you get that PAUSE you were wanting between raster and vector.

    Right now it sounds like you are hitting the COMBINED option so there is no pause between the 2 operations.
    Carol VanArnam Epilog Helix 60w, Corel 12, I like chocolate.....

  3. #3
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    Carol does it the way that I do it. I send the same file to the laser twice, once in Raster mode, the next in Vector.

    Shaddy

  4. #4
    Thanks,

    Worked like a charm.

  5. #5
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    Mike,

    If your doing a test remove the paper from both sides of your acrylic then raster and vector in the same file and see what happens. I know that most engravers here use a different technique but it works fine for me

    .

  6. #6
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    Mike,

    Most of my laser work these days is engraving then cutting 1/4" acrylic, also have Epilog 45 watts. I find that only the bottom will show discoloration from cutting. What I always did was peel the top only, engrave and cut all at once, with no problems. Unfortunately, though, in shipping large quantities of the pieces I found some would become scratched by the slight movement. So now for this customer several states away I do as Carol suggested, run rastor, apply transfer tape, then cut and ship. The customer peels them after they arrive.

    BTW, if you happen to get ahold of a sheet that's old or has been left out in the sun so the paper is hard to peel, it's a lot easier to peel it first and apply transfer tape to the full piece rather than try to peel it off of the individual small products.



    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  7. #7
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    I sometimes use color mapping to raster then vector my acrylic. Works great except removing the transfer paper can be tedious. But, my sis wanted some really ornate ornaments in acrylic, so I gave her an extra discount if she removed the rastered transfer paper herself. She saved a bit of money and I saved myself some time.

    Good luck!

    Leigh Costello

  8. #8
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    Leigh,

    You managed to get your sister to pay for something? Seems like
    my family always gets the 100% discount.



    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Owego, NY
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    I weed medium tack masking paper after rastering (wood or acrylic) using the same 2" 3M clear tape I use for packing boxes.

    I peel off the large pieces of the tack paper first, then cut a strip of the 3M tape a few inches long. Press it over an area to be weeded and then pull fast. I don't pull straight up, but sort of at an angle (seems to grab the paper better). Most of the tack paper sticks to the tape. Repeat a couple of times and it's all gone. It also removes a bit of the smoke and resin from wood (but only a bit). I then brush it with a toothbrush to remove any leftover adhesive.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Pelonio
    Seems like my family always gets the 100% discount.
    My family pays "dealer cost". I just don't feel right taking money from Mom - after all, she did feed and clothe me for all those years.

  11. #11
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    Joe and Vicky,

    We trade services in our family. My older sis has an accounting background, my brother has a car repair business, and my younger sisters are just plain happy they don't have to shop the malls for great gifts. I pay for parts, they pay for materials, we all get together and bbq when we can. It's not so bad that way.

    Dave,

    I have tried that method for weeding, but I pulled straight up, broke the piece, cursed and re-cut. So next time, pulling at an angle will be my method. Thanks for the tip.
    Leigh Costello
    Epilog Mini 24, 45W, Corel X4
    Smile, make them wonder what ya did.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh Costello
    Joe and Vicky,

    We trade services in our family. My older sis has an accounting background, my brother has a car repair business, and my younger sisters are just plain happy they don't have to shop the malls for great gifts. I pay for parts, they pay for materials, we all get together and bbq when we can. It's not so bad that way.

    Dave,

    I have tried that method for weeding, but I pulled straight up, broke the piece, cursed and re-cut. So next time, pulling at an angle will be my method. Thanks for the tip.
    Pull as flat as possible with the piece laying on a table. If you use transfer tape rather than the original protective paper you can mist it with water and it will come off very easily without damaging it.

    I like the family trading thing, unfortunately my family, though large, doesn't offer that kind of useful occupational diversity and is spread out between WA and CA. We have a bar bouncer, myself with the sign/laser business, a nutritionist, a grocery store produce manager, a state park ranger, a veterinary hospital office manager, a oil company plant tech, and a computer assembly worker. That's brothers and sisters. Surviving parents and in-laws are all retired.



    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    East Central Missouri
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    Wow, Joe, very diversified family! I have read your posts about transfer tape and the types. But, my brain is overloaded at the moment with numerous factoids. I have a huge job coming up using baltic birch, a LaserBuzz design, and some personalization. The baltic birch is already stained, but only one coat of stain and finish combined (as chosen by the customer). Which transfer tape is best for this? Or would I be better off just using a damp cloth to clean the finished pieces?

    Thanks for all of your informative posts.
    Leigh Costello
    Epilog Mini 24, 45W, Corel X4
    Smile, make them wonder what ya did.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Sammamish, WA
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    With Acrylic the discoloration is normally limited to the bottom, from the cutting. With wood there is often discoloration on the top as well, bleeding of the finish from the heat around the cuts. You can try a piece and see if wiping it helps, but I'd suggest the transfer tape. With the power used to engrave wood it will engrave through the transfer tape and you can esily remove it, though you made need tweezers for the centers of the O's and A's etc. What I use is R-Tape 4775, it's a heavier weight high tac that works well for me in vinyl application as well as for laser work.



    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    East Central Missouri
    Posts
    553
    Thanks, Joe. I will try that tape.
    Leigh Costello
    Epilog Mini 24, 45W, Corel X4
    Smile, make them wonder what ya did.

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