Acrylic Cutter Machine: A Comprehensive Buying Guide

You are probably planning on buying a new acrylic cutter machine, so you thought it wise to research and know what exactly you will be buying. 

This is a comprehensive acrylic cutter buying guide that will walk you through everything you need to know about acrylic cutter machines – from what they are to the best acrylic cutter machine in the market, The following is our article outline for your reference: 

Let’s get started. 

What is an Acrylic Cutter Machine? 

An acrylic cutter machine is a piece of equipment that’s capable of cutting acrylic. Sure, a thermoplastic is an enormous design goldmine, but you’ll need a capable device to get the most out of the plastic. 

Acrylic cutters aren’t all cut from the same cloak. Traditional cutting tools – like the jigsaw and table saw – might suffice for cast acrylic without much design input. 

Laser cutters can handle the extruded type, and you can try out any design idea; it uses radiation to execute a cutting action. However, the speed of the particles in a laser beam makes the process faster and more efficient. 

How Does an Acrylic Cutter Machine Work? 

The acrylic laser cutter consists of an electronic control that works in a two-dimensional arrangement. Yet, the machine allows you to navigate the laser’s dynamics for the best result. 

Despite the laser cutter’s advanced nature, some insight into its use is crucial towards attaining the desired result.

An acrylic laser cutter generates a laser beam consisting of wave particles of similar wavelengths. This similarity in wavelength makes it possible to focus the laser beam on a specific spot for a precise cut. 

In an acrylic laser cutter, the laser resonator serves as the source of the laser beam. Depending on the beam’s specifics, its path might be tumultuous or smooth before it gets through the slit of a nozzle. 

The effects of a laser beam are only as good as its focus. Thankfully, acrylic laser cutters possess distinct lenses or mirrors to ensure the laser beam is focused correctly. 

When cutting acrylic, the laser beam is made to focus on the precise spot, generating a massive amount of energy. 

Due to the significant amount of heat produced, the acrylic particles in that particular spot melt and vaporize. The aftermath is an acrylic material with a clean-cut and smooth finish.

Types of Laser Cutters 

All laser acrylic cutters aren’t the same. You can tell these machines apart based on the source of their laser beam. That said, laser acrylic cutters are categorized into three:

1. CO2 Laser Cutters

acrylic cutter machine

CO2 laser cutters

Carbon dioxide is one of the gaseous components of the laser source in this type of acrylic cutter. 

In CO2 laser cutters, the gaseous mix has to be activated, made possible by introducing an electric current into the gas chamber. 

Compared to the other types, the CO2 laser is ideal for thermoplastics like acrylic. The higher wavelength (ranging between 9,600nm – 10,600nm) of this laser type makes it more suited for acrylic. 

The CO2 laser cutter offers an exceptional laser beam quality; cuts are more precise and quicker—little wonder why this type of laser cutter is the popular choice for anyone interested in cutting acrylic. 

While the CO2 laser cutter is excellent for cutting plastics, such as acrylic, it can also be used on other materials, such as glass, foil, wood. 

2.Fiber Laser

acrylic cutter machine

Fiber laser

For tougher items than acrylic, the fiber laser is often the go-to choice. This is due to its laser source – a blend of silica glass and a mineral element. 

Fiber lasers differ in their wavelength, with the figure falling between 780 nm and 2200 nm. Wavelength intensity varies inversely to the penetrating power of the laser. And this is visible in the enormous potency of the fiber laser – multiple times stronger than its CO2 counterpart. 

The fiber laser’s significant penetrating power makes it ideal for metal works like marking, engraving, etc. 

Finally, Fiber laser machines require little or no maintenance. They have thousands of laser hours in them, so durability isn’t an issue. 

3.Crystal Lasers 

This type of laser uses diodes as its source. Previously, crystal lasers depended on flash lamps. However, that has changed with the introduction of diodes. 

Unfortunately, diodes, unlike the silica glass-mineral blend used in fiber lasers, deteriorate relatively quickly. Expect a timeline of between 8000 and 15000 hours before the laser source has to be replaced. 

The diode used in a crystal laser is often a product of doping. Neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd: YAG) is one of the popular options used as a laser source in crystal lasers. Another is neodymium-doped yttrium ortho-vanadate (Nd: YYO).

Like its fiber counterpart, a crystal laser has a low wavelength that ranges from 650nm to 1100nm. Because of this, a crystal laser has immense penetrating power. This explains the laser’s use in cutting metals and ceramic.

When Using Laser Cutting Machine is Ideal

Laser cutters aren’t the only tools capable of cutting acrylic; traditional tools, such as the jigsaw, table saw, and Cricut, aren’t left out. Yet, some situations call for only a laser cutter as nothing else will suffice.  

Below are occasions when a laser cutting machine is ideal to use:

1.Creating engravings

If you intend to create acrylic engravings, you’ll need a laser cutter. Traditional tools can’t handle the complexity of creating designs on a hard surface. 

2.Using extruded acrylic

Only a laser cutter can handle the delicate nature of extruded acrylic. You can’t use a jigsaw or similar tools to cut this type of acrylic. 

3.Where precision is valued

Anyone serious about precise cuts can’t look beyond laser cutting machines. They are more accurate than what you’d get with those conventional tools. 

4.When cutting hard materials

Cutting hard materials such as metals, acrylic, wood, and others with a metal engraving machine is akin to taking a stroll in the park – nothing could be much more straightforward. 

5.When flexibility is required

The smallest laser cutter might possess a massive frame than traditional tools, but it’s more pliable and adaptable. 

You can cut different kinds of materials into whatever shape you can think of. You just need to don your creative cap. This isn’t the case with tools like jigsaw, Cricut, table saws, and others. 

Features to Look for in an Acrylic Cutter Machine 

Acrylic is a rigid thermoplastic, so the ideal cutting machine has to be rugged enough for the task. No one should do an eeny-meeny-miny-moe when picking an acrylic cutter machine. 

Thus, we have compiled a collection of features that should guide your buying decision. These include:

1.Size 

Size is often considered an indicator of an acrylic cutter machine’s capabilities – additional features take more space in the device. Yet, you shouldn’t settle for that humongous acrylic cutter machine unless you have the space for it. 

Acrylic cutter machines are available in different sizes – from the portable units fit for a workbench to the stand-alone type. So you’re guaranteed to find an acrylic cutter machine that fits right into your working environment. 

2.Price 

Typically, acrylic cutter machines differ in their price tag. While some can cost a few hundreds of dollars, others are priced at tens of thousands of dollars. You’ll need to stick to your budget without putting quality on the line. 

The price of an acrylic cutter machine is often affected by the popularity of the brand. Laser cutters rolled out by big brands are often on the high side, and it goes even higher if their after-sales service is excellent. 

For an acrylic cutter machine with massive penetrating power, you can expect to pay a premium price for such a unit for an acrylic cutter machine with immense penetrating power. You

Besides, the configuration and the manufacturing process also influence the price of an acrylic cutter machine. The functionality of the device is highly dependent on these. 

Multifaceted configurations and a complicated manufacturing process have a stake in the machine’s quality and price. 

3.Compatibility

This is another attribute you shouldn’t ignore when choosing an acrylic cutter machine. 

For the desired action, laser cutters need your input, made possible using the software. While some are flexible on the kind of software they are compatible with, others rely on the manufacturer’s software. 

The beauty of a laser cutter that accommodates multiple programs is the opportunity to leverage these platforms’ design potentials, resulting in a more appealing result. Imagine having a laser cutter that supports Photoshop, AutoCAD, and CorelDraw. You won’t get this from machines that depend on just the preinstalled software. 

4.Integration/Connections

Another feature you shouldn’t miss when getting an acrylic cutter machine is the connection channel. Remember, the laser cutter has to be linked to your computer if those design ideas are to be communicated to the machine. 

For many, the connection route doesn’t count. Yet, this could decide the fluidity in the conveyance of the necessary data between the computer and the laser cutter machine.

Often, the connection route is a USB data cable running from the computer to the acrylic cutter machine. While this shouldn’t affect the transfer speed, it does create wire clutter

Some laser cutters are equipped with a Bluetooth connection, so you won’t have to deal with a USB cable’s untidiness. Other acrylic cutter machines go the extra mile using a wireless network, but this might require technical know-how to set-up. 

5.Material Options

Before you get that laser cutter machine, you need to have a clear picture of its purpose in your situation. If you intend to work with only acrylic materials or other plastics and leather materials, then CO2 laser cutter machines will do just fine. 

For harder items like metals, alloys, and ceramics, you’ll need metal laser cutters with a higher penetrating power than the CO2 variant. Of course, these are more expensive to purchase and maintain. The fiber and crystal laser cutter machines are often the preferred choice for obvious reasons. 

Tips to Effectively Make Good Use of Your Laser Engraving Machine

To help you maximize the use of that laser cutter machine, we have compiled these tips. Since everyone can’t possibly use the same software to navigate their laser machine, the tips outlined below can be used with any program. 

Tip 1: Getting started the right way

If you genuinely want to get the best out of your laser engraver, you need to play your part; take precautions to prevent avoidable errors from ruining your work. 

For instance, shield the working surface from fumes produced by the laser’s heat. Often, a masking tape should suffice for the job as it doesn’t reduce the laser beam’s intensity. 

Having an array of cutting or engraving settings saved on your laser machine can be time-saving when working on repetitive operations. You can just select them and apply them accordingly.  

Tip 2: Run preliminary tests

Just like it’s advisable to practice before going mainstream, you should test the laser machine on small tasks before going big. This way, you can get familiar with the operation of your laser machine.

Tip 3: Exploit the layers

A lot of programs allow users to create designs in layers. This is advantageous as you can segregate the activities through these layers. 

Layers can be activated or deactivated, making it possible for the laser to ignore or act based on instructions in these layers. An example is carrying out a series of cuts on a material. 

By delineating a specific cut to a layer, the laser can execute multiple cuts, so there’s little room for errors. 

Tip 4: Setting optimization can breeze through rasta engravings 

Rasta engravings are notorious for taking too long. But there’s a way to get around this challenge. The design has to be a vector type, then fiddle with the settings, so the speed is given priority. The result is a faster process, albeit its thickness issues. 

Tip 5: Enticing edges on engravings are easy-peasy 

The edges of an engraving aren’t often shabby, but you can boost its appearance. And this is possible using a vector cut. You just need to prioritize speed over its power. This heats the edges without cutting through. 

Tip 6: Leverage the red dot

Precise cuts or engravings are primarily dependent on how you manipulate the laser pointer. With the red dot – that’s generated by the laser pointer – you can confirm the path of action of the laser. However, using the red dot on engravings isn’t practicable due to the complexity of the latter. 

Tip 7: Sometimes, you shouldn’t be set laser focus in stone

When creating specific designs using a vector cut, it’s normal to get thin lines. But you can remedy this by expanding the laser focus, resulting in thicker lines. 

Tip 8: Overlaps can be time-saving or an overkill

While running multiple cuts in one attempt – having them over one another – has its appeals, you just have to ensure your computer agrees. Your computer is a powerful tool, but it doesn’t understand compromises unless it’s carried along. 

That is why you should avoid extra lines in your drawings. For instance, when drawing two geometric shapes, one line is good enough for an overlap – two is a crowd. 

Tip 9: Dry clean air is sacrosanct

Your laser engraving machine has a compressor that’s dependent on airflow. If the quality of air gets bad, it increases the vulnerability of the lens. To avoid such a situation, check the air-flow to ensure moisture doesn’t get into the machine. 

Tip 10: Stand-alone object fare better

It’s a common error among lots of people to have the object cut supported on another item. This will affect the quality of your work as you should never block the laser beam’s path.

Acrylic Cutter Machine – Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What machine can cut acrylic?

You can use a jigsaw, table saw, Cricut maker, and a CO2 laser cutter. Your choice of tool is mainly dependent on the nature of the thermoplastic. Most of the usual traditional tools like the jigsaw, table saw, and Cricut maker should suffice with cast acrylic. But you can only use a CO2 laser cutter for the extruded variant. 

2. How much does a laser cutting machine cost?

Depending on the type, you can get one as low as $300 or as high as $200,000. A CO2 laser cutter is probably the most affordable among the bunch, with the more expensive costing a few thousands of dollars.

3. What’s the difference between acrylic and plexiglass?

Acrylic is a common name for the chemical compound polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). With the popularity of the thermoplastic material, many brands came up with brand names to depict the plastic; Plexiglas was one brand name. Now, acrylic is often called plexiglass. In a nutshell, acrylic is the same as plexiglass. 

4. Can I cut acrylic with Cricut?

Yes, you can cut acrylic using a Cricut. However, this will depend on the form of acrylic. The machine can work with cast acrylic, but the thickness shouldn’t exceed a few millimeters. 

5. Are cheap laser engravers any good?

Probably not. Most cheaply priced laser engravers lack support for multiple software or formats. Besides, there’s also the issue of the flimsy parts used in making these machines, so durability could be a significant letdown. 

Don’t forget; there are no warranties for cheap laser engravers. The manufacturer will do a Pontius Pilate if anything goes wrong with the machine. 

6. What materials cannot be laser cut?

Materials – that release toxic particles due to their chemical composition – should never be laser cut. Below are some of the “don’t laser cut” materials:

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon)
  • Carbon fibers
  • Elements like chromium, nickel, copper, cobalt, and others
  • Items that contain halogens( chlorine, fluorine, bromine, and others) 

And that’s it. 

7. Does acrylic turn yellow?

When exposed to sunlight or UV light, polymers like acrylic turn yellow. Once this happens, the durability of the plastic material has been breached. Often, manufacturers add light stabilizers in the polymer making process to absorb the UV ray, making it less likely to disintegrate.

Which is the Best Acrylic Cutter Machine? 

As reiterated earlier, the CO2 laser cutter machine is more suited for acrylic cutting than any other device out there. 

The modus operandi isn’t exactly complicated. Additionally, When CO2 molecules change energy level – an alteration stimulated by a burst of electricity – a laser beam is produced. The magic happens in the sealed laser tube. 

Introducing the Allwinmac Unit Acrylic Cutter Machine 

The best CO2 laser cutters are flexible, making it possible to cater to a wide array of acrylic materials. Fortunately, this Allwinmac unit appears to check these boxes. Its laser power is as low as 40W or as high as 150W, making it compatible with different designs. 

The Allwinmac laser cutter machine’s flexibility doesn’t end with its significant laser power range. There’s also a substantial number of speed options to choose from; whether it’s engravings or regular cuts, available speed settings are anything but few.

acrylic cutter machine

Allwinmac CO2 laser cutter

Unlike many CO2 laser cutters on the market, the Allwinmac type supports several design platforms, including CorelDraw, Artcut, AutoCAD, and Photoshop. You don’t have to learn new software ropes with this machine, saving you valuable resources like time. 

The Allwinmac CO2 laser cutter understands different graphics formats such as PLT, AI, DST, BMP, and DXF. It’s bound to be a favorite among many not looking to ditch a particular format. 

Safety is non-negotiable in a laser cutter, regardless of the machine type. So it’s great to see the magnetic switch on the Allwinmac CO2 laser cutter. This makes it possible to halt the cutting process before things spiral out of control. 

Another reason why the Allwinmac CO2 laser cutter is worth scooping is the quality of its parts. Unlike many brands that cut corners in their laser cutter components, the Allwinmac CO2 laser cutter is durable. 

If you’re looking to work on acrylic materials, you can’t possibly go wrong with the Allwinmac CO2 laser cutter. And the good news is that we are here to offer more information if you’d be interested in our Allwinmac CO2 laser cutter. Just send us a brief email, and we will get back as fast as possible. All the same, below are some of our products that might interested you: 

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