• Easy formability
  • Wide range of applications
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Shiny surface
  • High strength-to-density ratio
  • Relatively low cost
  • Low weight
  • Smooth surface
  • Water resistance
  • Durability
  • Moisture resistance

About Acrylic

PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), known as Acrylic is a versatile plastic material, quite popular in laser cutting and engraving specifically. While mechanical stiffness and temperature resistance of acrylic may be lacking, its attractive surface, easy formability, and affordable cost along with a huge variety of available colors and patterns add benefits to the material. It is used widely in the signage and award industry, however, acrylic is also used for boxes, cases, and even 3D printer frames.

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Property Value
Relative Density1.19 g/cm³
Light Transmission>92 %
Tensile Strength at yield75 MPa
Elongation at break4%
Flexural Modulus3210 MPa
Softening Temperature110 °C


Acrylic, also known as Plexiglass, is a thermoplastic called PMMA or polymethyl methacrylate. Raw acrylic exhibits a high level of clarity and transparency, making it useful as a glass substitute.

There are 2 main types of acrylic, which should be selected depending on the cutting process:

  • Cast acrylic is a type of plastic sheet manufactured by molding liquid acrylic into certain shapes and forms. Cast acrylic sheets are notable for their ability to deliver accurate and bright-white (frosted) engraving while not being recommended for laser cutting.
  • Extruded acrylic is the main type used in laser cutting notable for delivering clean, smooth results with flame-polished edges. These sheets are manufactured by a continuous production process from plastic pellets fed through an extruder and melted into a mass which is then pushed through dies to form a sheet. This production method typically results in a more affordable material. On the flip side, extruded acrylic doesn’t deliver “frosted” engravings.

Laser Cutting and Engraving of Acrylic

Acrylic material is easy to laser cut to good results and flame-polished edges. Laser engraving of acrylic also delivers good results. It is critical to select a suitable type of acrylic for a particular manufacturing process to achieve the best possible quality.

CNC Machining Acrylic

Acrylic can be CNC machined on routers, turning, and milling centers. Machined acrylic parts are used for tanks, panels, and optical applications. It is suggested to avoid thin walls and details smaller than 0.5 mm for CNC milling of PMMA sheets as well as complicated geometries. Compared to laser cutting, milled acrylic may require post-processing to bring back optical clarity and give a better finish to the edges.

Common Uses of Acrylic

  • Awards;
  • Boxes and cases;
  • Electronics;
  • Impact resistant (safe) glass alternative;
  • Lighting;
  • Medical device components;
  • Memorabilia;
  • Signage.

Advantages of Acrylic

  • Easy formability;
  • Relatively low-cost;
  • Versatility;
  • Water resistance;
  • Variety;
  • Low weight;
  • Smooth surface;
  • Design flexibility;
  • Clarity;
  • UV resistance;
  • Safer in comparison to glass.

Disadvantages of Acrylic

  • Distortion;
  • Prone to scratching (compared to glass);
  • Comparatively low strength;
  • Poor impact resistance;
  • Low solvent resistance;
  • Deforms in too high or low temperatures;
  • Flammable.

What machine can cut acrylic?

Acrylic sheets are relatively easy to cut on CNC routers, mills, turning machines, and laser cutters.

Are plastic sheets and acrylic sheets the same?

Acrylic sheets are a type of plastic, more precisely a thermoplastic. Acrylic properties differ from other plastics naturally. For example, it exhibits less strength than polycarbonate as well as lower stress resistance. But on the upper side, acrylic is more resistant to scratches and provides better stiffness and surface appearance.

Is acrylic plastic flammable?

Acrylic (also known as Plexiglass, acrylic glass) is flammable. It also has a relatively low continuous service temperature.

Is acrylic sheet scratch proof?

Acrylic is not completely scratch proof. While machined or transported it is covered with a protective film to avoid scratches. However, in comparison to some other plastics, like PC, acrylic exhibits better resistance to scratches.


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