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How to clean Acrylic after Laser Engraving

As laser enthusiasts, we’ve all been there before when trying to figure out how to clean acrylic after laser engraving.  As you’ve noticed, after the laser engraving is finished there is some acrylic residue left over.

This can be a pain to deal with but there are some ways to make it easier on yourself and a lot of it can be done at the beginning of the laser engraving process. Preparation can greatly reduce the amount of mess that gets made.

There are also plenty of things you should avoid when cleaning acrylic which will be gone into detail later. Here’s how to clean acrylic after laser engravings.

How to Clean Acrylic after Laser Engraving

For starters, you want to use a non-abrasive fabric such as a microfiber cloth or a lint-free anti-static cloth. This prevents any more filth and lint from getting stuck to the surface. If you don’t have any of these handy, you can use an old toothbrush to get the job done.

In fact, some people find it easier to use a toothbrush to clean. Any of these options works just fine but it’s best to choose the one that you find is the easiest to clean with.

Use some mild detergent if the surface is dirty. In most cases, however, all you need is some warm water and a microfiber cloth to properly clean the engraving.

Budget-Friendly Acrylic Cleaning Option

Another cheap laser engraved acrylic option for cleaning is to use a magic eraser.  Most households may already have this product at home, so it can be a quick and easy way to get the job done.

What You Should Avoid

When using an acrylic cutting machine like a laser cutter there are a few things you want to avoid.  Any products that contain alcohol should be avoided since this can make tiny pieces to crack and shatter. Other chemicals that should be avoided are acetone and MEK (methyl ethyl ketone).

These chemicals will cause the acrylic to melt making it much harder to remove.

Note: When drying the engraving after cleaning, you can use a very small amount of isopropyl alcohol on the borders of the engraving.

This is only after all of the acrylic residue has been washed away. If there is still some left, don’t use the isopropyl alcohol.

While cleaning, try not to use too much pressure on the acrylic. This makes it smear and harder to clean.

Laser Cutting Acrylic Tips & Tricks

One trick to stop acrylic from sticking to the engraving is by spraying the item with silicone oil before any engraving is done.

Another thing you can do before the engraving starts is to check the power levels of the engraving machine. Using more power than what’s needed usually results in more acrylic residue being left over. Using the right power settings makes the process much cleaner. This also applies to the speed levels. Going too fast results in a bigger mess.

You can leave the paper film on during the cutting and peel it off when it’s finished. This is one of the best things you can do in regards to preventing a mess from happening.

So if there is one thing to take away from all of this, it’s that most of the mess can be avoided before the engraving even starts.

Doing this can make it unnecessary to know how to clean acrylic after laser engraving. We all love to have a nice engraving, no need to make a mess when there doesn’t need to be one.

Acrylic can leave a messy residue inside your machine, so don’t forget to clean your laser cutter bed.

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Joshua Garcia, Founder

Hi, I'm Joshua. I created Maker Industry to share my passion for maker tools and help others learn about 3D printing, CNC systems, laser cutting and more. Learn More