Advice for engraving acrylic

Not sure if anyone actually has done this, but does anyone have advice for cutting and engraving acrylic for edge-lighting? I saw the power info linked in the wiki (and I haven’t looked to see what’s on the board yet) but was looking to see if anyone had advice before I get started. I haven’t taken the Zing class yet, so I’m using the Thunders for this project.

The engraving is some text plus a dot-dithered picture. I intend to use some LEDs on the edge to light up the image and text similar to fake Nixie number panels (E.G. Not sure if that helps, but I figured someone here has probably done what I’m planning on doing.


You can use the engrave settings for the Laser software to create an image engraving using the laser. You would have to get the power settings set just right, but that should go deep enough to catch some edge lighting on a piece.

If you’re looking to go really deep or create a 3D depth, you would want to use a CNC Mill and some varying v-carve, ball-nose, and/or flat bits for that.

Also to get a clear edge you can use a butane torch to heat the edge.
It should give the edge a nice clear glaze that will let the light through.

Good luck. It would be cool to see how it turns out!

I’ve used the Thunders to create an edge lit acrylic piece. I think I was using 6”x 6” x 1/4” acrylic with settings of 14% power and speed of 300 mm/sec. you can always run the job again if you don’t think the etching is deep enough.

There are 2 types of acrylic. Cast and extruded. You must use Cast acrylic. This generally leaves a white residue behind that catches the led lighting. Extruded melts smooth so nothing for the lighting.

Both Allied and Johnson’s Plastics can help you choose.

The thunders are fine for this.

The raster settings are quite forgiving. I’d go with my standard 500mm/s, 30p, 0.06mm interval, x-swing as a starting point.


2nd on the cast acrylic

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I would etch the mirror image on the back side instead.