How to work with Laser cutting & Plexiglas

Laser cutting is awesome and can save you so much time.

So these are some things I’ve learned about laser cutting materials: This website I found through Google gives a pretty good description about general practices with laser cutting materials.

However, you should double check when in doubt before attempting anything.  I bought Styrene plastics from Home Depot which according to the website above might be ok to laser cut.  However the fabrication shop at my school said they won’t cut styrene when I brought it in because of the fumes released, so instead I went to the nearby plastics specialty store (Min’s Plastic) to pick up 1/16″ Plexiglas (acrylic plastics).

Plexiglas, overall, is just a brand of the plastic. It also goes by Optix (available at City Mill).

Gluing Plexiglas to Plexiglas

The ONLY way you can glue Plexiglas to another piece of Plexiglas is with acrylic glue/ acrylic adhesive/ acrylic cement.  One is in the liquid form, generally sold in a can.  You would also need to get an applicator bottle and a pipet/ eyedropper to transfer the glue from the tin can to the applicator bottle to work with your pieces.

The other type is in form of a gel and sold in a tube.  This one is a bit more messy, in my opinion, and a little tricker to work with, so I recommend the liquid acrylic glue over the gel form. (#16)

Sometimes you can get away with using Superglue to glue Plexiglas to Plexiglass.  But there is a great possibility that the plastic will haze and fog.  Before using Superglue to glue Plexis (whether it be to other plastics, to wood, or to other materials), be sure to clean your plastic with a plastic cleaner like Novus.

Gluing Plexiglas to other materials (wood, paper, etc)

Acrylic glue will not work when gluing Plexiglas to another material because what the glue technically does is melt the two plastics together.  Therefore if you have a plastic material with a non-plastic material, they will not join at the command of acrylic glue.  For this, your only option is to use Superglue with the Superglue Accelerator.

You should also clean your plastic before applying Superglue to prevent it from fogging as part of a reaction with the Superglue.  Cleaning cannot help prevent it from hazing completely, but it’s just a precautionary step.

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

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