A Practical Overview of Laser Cut Acrylic

Why Acrylic?

Laser cut acrylic can create wide range of captivating effects. Acrylic is a synthetic polymer material that was first developed in the early 1900s, and became widely used commercially in the 1950s.

The optical clarity of acrylic allows for laser engraved markings to be vividly visible through transparent parts. It also has good thermal stability and low flammability for clean, scorch-free laser cut acrylic. The toughness and scratch resistance provide durability for products. Additionally, it can be fabricated in both colored and clear materials, and takes painting and printing inks well for further customization.

Acrylic has become the go-to material for creating detailed and personalized laser-cut products across many applications.

How Laser Cut Acrylic Enhance Processing and Manufacturing?

The laser cut acrylic enhance critical processing capabilities. It enables more advanced acrylic manufacturing overall.

Faster processing speeds

The laser technique is significantly faster than mechanical methods, enabling rapid acrylic prototyping and production.

Higher cutting precision

The focused laser beam allows for clean, accurate cuts in acrylic with complex geometries.

Permanent, high-resolution marking

Laser engraving directly prints and etches intricate graphics and text onto acrylic with consistent quality.

Lower operational costs

Laser systems are highly automated with fewer consumables, reducing processing costs.

Reduced risks of acrylic damage

Laser fabrication minimizes acrylic cracking, fracturing, or chipping compared to conventional machining.

On-demand digital customization

Lasers enable the fast production of customized acrylic parts and products when needed.

What are the popular acrylic products processed by laser?

Signs, displays and containers

Acrylic is commonly used for backlit sign boxes, retail displays, and store branding signs, which are efficiently manufactured by laser cutting the acrylic sheets into any required shape. Acrylic containers are always laser welded for clean, sealed edges and engraved for customized graphics.

Acrylic accessories

Laser cut acrylic enables precise shaping and patterning of acrylic fashion accessories. It decorative items like phone cases, bracelets, and cosmetic displays. It would surprise many that acrylic nails can be fabricated by laser as well. Laser cutting enables shaping them into customized designs, while laser engraving can etch intricate textures and patterns onto the surface.
blue laser cut wood earrings. Different types of the outlines of flowers made with a laser cutter strung together in a chain-Thunder-Laser-Canada Made by Indicity.

Acrylic furniture

Laser cut acrylic allows the fabrication of furniture parts that can incorporate decorative edge profiles or surface engraving. Acrylic desks, lighting fixtures like lamps, and other acrylic furniture items are becoming more common in our homes.

Customized gifts and invitations

Laser cut acrylic enable detailed logos, names, and designs to be etched onto acrylic trophies and plaques for corporate awards. Activities’ invitations and acrylic gifts can also be personalized with artistic patterns via laser processing.
laser engraved acrylic award trophy

Where to Buy Acrylic?

Thunder Laser Canada will be beginning to offer sales of consumables such as acrylics for lasering!

  **We’d love to hear what products you are looking for**  Please fill out this survey

To receive info when we start selling materials, sign up for our mailing list

Plastics Distributors

Many local and national plastics distributors supply cast or extruded acrylic sheets in standard and custom sizes, along with a range of other acrylic products such as rods, tubes, and specialty shapes.

Online Retailers

You can purchase various acrylic materials from online retailers such as eBay Home Depot , and Amazon. You can find clear and colored acrylic sheets, acrylic rods, and acrylic craft supplies.

Hardware and Home Improvement Stores

Some big-box hardware stores stock a selection of clear and colored acrylic sheets and rods in small quantities for household projects. The options are often limited to common thicknesses and sizes.

Specialized Acrylic Shops

They offer a wide range of acrylic materials, including custom-cut acrylic pieces, acrylic tubes, and specialized acrylic products for signage, displays, and fabrication projects. These shops cater more to commercial and industrial acrylic needs.

Tips and Tricks for Laser Processing Acrylic

When working with acrylic material, here are some tips for optimized laser cut acrylic results.


Thoroughly remove any protective plastic film or paper masking from the acrylic sheets. Use isopropyl alcohol to clean the sheets and remove dust, oils, and debris that could contaminate or burn into the surface during lasering.

Material Selection

Opt for cast acrylic sheets or extruded acrylic rather than acrylic resins. Cast acrylic is best for laser engraving with crisp edges, while extruded acrylic is suitable for cutting.

Acrylic Quality

Higher-quality acrylic should be free of impurities and internal stresses that can cause cracking or undesirable edge effects during laser cut acrylic.

Thickness Guidelines

For acrylic engraving application, acrylic sheets ranging from 1mm to 3mm provide an optimal balance of depth and quality. For laser cut acrylic, acrylic up to 20mm thick can be processed but may require multiple passes.


Secure acrylic workpieces gently to avoid bending, warping, or applying stresses during laser processing. Allow room for thermal expansion. Test cut on scrap pieces first before a full production run.

Design Considerations

Incorporate appropriate draft angles and edge tabs in part designs to allow for clean release and separation of laser-cut edges.

Edge Finishing

Use a laser or flame polishing technique to smooth and remove roughness from cut acrylic edges. Avoid mechanical sanding, which can induce microfractures and cracks.

Stress Relief

To prevent cracks from developing over time, anneal the acrylic by gently heating it to 160°F for 1-3 hours after laser cut acrylic to release internal stresses.


Flat acrylic pieces must be stored properly to prevent bending, bowing, and warping over time. You can store it between two rigid sheets or surfaces.

Choose the Right Laser machine for Processing Acrylic

Having covered the key considerations for laser cut acrylic, choosing the right laser machine is also essential for quality results. You need a system with adequate power, precision, and features to handle acrylic’s properties. Our Thunder Laser machines listed below are optimized for engraving and cutting acrylic with precision and efficiency.
thunder laser canada laser cutter bolt laser cutter machine product photo

Thunder Nova Laser Cutter

Work Area
600×400 up to 1600×1000mm

Thunder Bolt Laser Cutter

Work Area
508*305 mm

Thunder Odin Laser Engraver

Work Area
559×381 up to 813×508mm

Our Thunder Laser  Nova machine delivers unrivaled precision and speed. The stable, robust design of this C02 glass tube laser enables smooth operation and diverse acrylic laser cutting and the ability to engrave detailed projects. With advanced safety features and minimal maintenance needs, the Nova is a workhorse available in a range range of sizes and tube wattages to match your needs. 

Our Thunder Bolt is an affordable desktop laser machine designed for compact workspaces. Despite its lightweight and portable size, it’s robust C02 Rf tube laser is designed for ultra detailed, intricate engraving work and clean wood cuts. With durability and ease of use, this machine takes highly detailed acrylic project to the next level.

Our Thunder Laser Odin machine is designed for wood laser engraving with lightning-fast precision. As Thunder Bolt’s other sibling, this CO2 RF tube machine has  high detail capabilities that are enhanced by special rails that enable captivating 3D effects. Creatives can craft stunning designs by laser engraving and cutting acrylic with ease.

Common laser processing acrylic parameters

The table below provides recommended laser settings for using the Nova laser cutting machine to process acrylic. You can do some testing first to fit the laser-cut acrylic parameters for a particular use.





Mini Power(%)

Max Power(%)

Air Pressure Value









































Here is a video engraving acrylic with our laser machine. Check it out to see the effects it can achieve!

More tips and tricks for laser processing acrylic

How to Prevent Laser Reflection Damage on the Acrylic Backside During Laser Processing?

During the process of laser cut acrylic, the focused beam can reflect off the honeycomb bed and damage the acrylic backside, leaving unwanted marks. To minimize these backside markings, consider the following techniques:

1、For small projects, you can place damp paper towels underneath the acylic. It can dampen the reflected energy and safeguard the acrylic surface.

2、For larger projects, lift the acrylic off the bed using nail boards or other fixturing. This reduces reflected energy by dissipating it before reaching the acrylic.

3、Consider using knife bars instead of a honeycomb bed when processing acrylic. The more open structure reflects less laser back upwards. Cut for an inside-out approach and avoid working with very small parts.

4、Optimize processing parameters to higher speeds and lower power so less energy reflects back per unit time.

Tips for Smooth Laser Cut Acrylic Edges

1、Adjust Blowing and Speed

To reduce striations and rough edges on acrylic, use weak blowing while decreasing laser cutting and engraving speeds.

2、Balance Power and Speed:

Excessive power can lead to acrylic melting, while slower speeds can hinder laser processing efficiency. You can experiment with settings to find the optimal configuration. For 10mm acrylic, use 80-90% power and 5% speed; thinner sheets require lower power and faster speeds.

3、Multiple Passes:

Choose multiple passes at lower power over one pass at maximum power. Gradually refine the edge without excessive heat buildup. For 5mm acrylic, you may try 3-4 passes at 50% power for smooth edges.

How to Avoid Fire When Laser Cut Acrylic?

1、Adjust the air assist to lower the temperature at the cut lines, avoiding ignition from excessive heat.

2、Place wet paper towels which can use the moisture and evaporating water vapor to reduce the temperature during laser processing. The wet kitchen towels will also work.

What do our customers say about Thunder Laser?

At Thunder Laser, our customers trust the quality of our machines as well as our customer services, which stands out from other laser companies. If you want to see for yourself, check out ratings on Trustpilot.

<h3>Tuscarora WoodWorks<h3>

Tuscarora WoodWorks

Great service and a great product!
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Thunder Laser has been extremely great to work with so far. We started looking for a new laser partner in February 2023 and by August we took delivery of a Thunder Nova 51/130. The entire experience was great. From working with Rhonda during the pre-sales process to working with Aubrey for reimbursement, every interaction has been great. Coming from a 10-year Epilog Laser relationship to this one with Thunder Laser USA has been everything we had hoped it would be and more. The laser is very well-built with features not found on the Epilog machines. I would highly recommend Thunder Laser USA to anyone who runs a laser engraving business.

<h3>Trish & Kevin Smith<h3>

Trish & Kevin Smith

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recently had the pleasure of interacting with this company's customer service team, and I must say, it was a truly outstanding experience. From the moment I reached out, I was met with amazing customer service. The representative was not only knowledgeable but also expeditious in addressing my inquiries. What struck me most was the friendliness exhibited throughout the interaction. It felt like a conversation with a helpful friend rather than a typical customer service exchange. Moreover, the level of information provided was incredibly thorough and insightful. I left the conversation feeling not only satisfied but also more informed about the product. Above all, what truly stood out was the exceptional patience demonstrated. Despite my numerous questions, the representative remained calm and took the time to ensure I fully understood everything. It made a world of difference and left me with a lasting positive impression. In a world where great customer service can be hard to come by, this experience was a breath of fresh air. I wholeheartedly commend this team for their stellar performance and look forward to future interactions with them.

<h3>Danny Wickersham<h3>

Danny Wickersham

Excellent Customer Service
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From the first call to Thunder Laser USA inquiring about the Nova Laser line up to any and all calls or emails, Thunder Laser USA never disappoints. The customer service is outstanding. The amount of product literature from the knowledge base on the website is so helpful in getting set up and guided in the right direction. I am so happy I chose Thunder Laser over any of the other competitors. I know that if an issue or struggle comes up they will be there to help guide me. A special shout out to Aubrey as she is such a wonderful person to work with at Thunder Laser. I just took delivery of my Nova 51 130W laser and I am in the process of getting it vented and wired. I was very impressed how well it was packaged and shipped. I can't wait to be able to start running projects.

<h3>Rob Nance<h3>

Rob Nance

Thunder Laser has impressed me so much, will buy again
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Thunder Laser has impressed me so much. I basically uncrated my Nova 51 with nothing other than Fusion 360 and 3D printing experience prior, as a hobbyist. I now have it up and running and my product is launching any day. I've reached out to support for general questions a few times, and they've always been knowledgeable, fast, and friendly. I honestly can't imagine buying a laser from a "higher end" company, Thunder Laser has nailed the goal they set out to do, to bring quality Chinese made products with rigorous engineering and quality control, to the North American market at great prices. I'll definitely be buying another if my business grows as I hope, and I'm excited to see them increasing their lineup into new and exciting territory.

We became reps for Thunder Laser in Canada, because we are makers ourselves. After using many different types of laser machines over the years, we decided we like Thunder Lasers the best! Our team is based all over Canada, but our main location and showroom is located at Fuse33 Makerspace in Calgary Alberta. This means, all our members are artists, tradespeople and hobbyists. Our members use our Thunder Laser machines for a wide range of projects. We’ve seen it all! Let us help you decide which laser machine is best for you according to projects you want to make, space you have available and your budget. We will also help you understand the features and use cases for all of the various add-ons and upgrades available.

Shannon Hoover

shannon hoover a light skinned man with glasses and short facial hair

Shannon is co-owner of Fuse 33 Makerspace as well as Thunder Laser Canada. He and Maria have built and nurtured the maker community in Calgary (and internationally) for over 10 years, producing countless events and programs such as Calgary MakerFaireMake Fashion, Artist Residencies and more. 

As our lead laser nerd, Shannon works in sales where he nurtures customer relationships and gets people excited about their new laser machines.

Tess Janikova

A light skinned woman with dark hair has a long haired pomeranian dog.

Tess is an acro yoga fanatic and a certified laser nerd.

You’ll talk to Tess if you contact sales and she will tell you everything you need to know about lasers. She can help you setup the details of your order and get your new laser shipped right to your door so you can start making right away. 

Ben Reed

a headshot of a light skinned man with a short spiky hair cut and a short beard and moustache.

Ben is a super maker, problem solver and tech nerd. Ben uses his analytical super skills to help create Thunder Laser Canada’s systems and processes. 

You’ll sometimes find him answering support tickets behind he scenes as well.

Zee Kesler

a light skinned woman with dark hair and red glasses smiled taking a selfie of herself and her laser cut wood sign. behind her is the sign she made on a laser cutter that says Curio Cabin-a round teal sign with white brush script font.

Zee Kesler is a maker educator with a love of of hands-on learning. She currently runs a felting company Magic Trout Imaginarium and home decor company Curio Cabin. Previously, she also led the social impact project Makers Making Change where she taught thousands of people how to design, solder, needle felt and make. 

You’ll find Zee moderating the Thunder Laser Owner Facebook running our socials, our website and making educational content for teachers!

Reade Richards

a light skinned man white a ponytail sits at a desk with his arm on the table and hand on his chin with a laptop infront of him

Reade is a published author, laser nerd and heavy metal fan. Not only does he serve on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Tool Library, but you can also find him hosting demos of our lasers there and replying to your support tickets behind the scenes.


a light skinned woman with light purple hair smiles standing in front of rainbow colored streamers

Luna is a seasoned circus performer withLe Cirque de la Nuit,bringing over 10 years of captivating artistry to Thunder Laser Canada. Renowned for her stunning LED creations withnLITEn tech

Luna is a creative force behind captivating videos and social media. You’ll find Luna working behind the scenes to support our logistics. .