Laser cutting for signage & displays

Laser cutting and laser engraving of POS displays, advertising signs, displays, illuminated advertising, printed signs, exhibition stand construction and shopfitting.

Materials suitable for laser processing

Suitable materials for laser processing

Rigid materials:

  • acrylic
  • foam
  • polystyrene
  • wood
  • MDF
  • plywood
  • veneer

Flexible materials:

  • card
  • corrugated cardboard
  • polyester film
  • polycarbonate film
  • textiles
  • cotton
  • canvas
  • carpet
  • polyester

Check out how to use a laser

for making displays, shop fitting, cutting dimensional letters and lighting fixtures.

POP displays, digital printing

Exceptional shapes and colours for POS/pop-up displays, illuminated advertising and neon signs make a finished product a lot more interesting and give it a higher quality appearance. The creative "finishing" with a laser cutting machine makes a printed acrylic sheet or wooden board into a finished, and thus sellable, product. With a Trotec Laser, it is easy to laser cut signs into complex contours and markings.

Braille Signage Company

Terra Reproductions Inc.

In this video, we're talking to the guys at Terra Reproductions Inc out of our nation's capital Ottawa, ON. See how they use their Speedy 300 laser cutting machine to laser cut ADA material for braille signs. In this video they will show you the entire process of making a braille sign from start to finish.

See their amazing shop with countless machines from laser cutting, to document scanning, to large format printing and of course braille signage! If you're interested in Terra Reproductions' wide range of services, check out their website here:

For similar videos to this one, check out our Youtube channel!


Application examples for laser processing for signage & displays

With a Trotec laser, it is easy to be flexible with different applications and materials for advertising, as the laser can easily make intricate details and geometries for all materials and thicknesses. Whether rigid or flexible, hard or soft, you only need one tool for plastic, wood, composite boards, paper, film, textiles or much more: the Trotec laser. Laser engraving signs made of different materials is quick and simple. 

  • UV-printed, contour-cut signs made of high quality acrylic
  • Printed advertising materials of acrylic, illuminated letters and logos
  • Contour cut of illuminated acrylic signs
  • Acrylic letters, with and without backlight
  • Large-format engraving and marking of acrylic plates for LED panels and backlit applications
  • Printed displays in exceptional shapes
  • Printed and cut card displays
  • Flags, appliquées and banners

Function and advantages of laser technology

Lasering a flame-polished cutting edge on acrylic without additional post-processing

  • Crystal-clear cutting edges on transparent acrylic for signs or displays means there is no need for cost- and time-intensive manual flame polishing.

Advantages of a Trotec laser

  • Precise axle drives and intelligent air guidance ensure optimum cutting results.

A faster cut

  • If you compare the laser to a plotter, the laser cut is 2-3 times faster depending on the power used

Advantages of a Trotec laser

  • Careful design of the beam path and sophisticated path planning of the Trotec laser machines

Contactless processing

  • No time-consuming fixation of material in contrast to milling
  • No distortion of the material

Advantages of a Trotec laser

  • Multi-functional table concept for easy handling

No tool wear

  • No wear of the laser beam due to material processing
  • No costs for new tools compared to milling

Advantages of a Trotec laser

  • CeramiCore laser sources with a particularly long service life

Easy digital manufacturing

  • Designs are created in the normal graphics program and sent to the laser via the print command

Advantages of a Trotec laser

  • JobControl® laser software: Simply intuitive. Work efficiently.

Precise cutting of printed materials

  • With Print&Cut applications, registration marks make it possible to determine the position and rotation of printed materials. The system dynamically adjusts the cutting path.

Advantages of a Trotec laser

  • With JobControl® vision software, you can create amazing details and meet the most minimal tolerances.

Best precision of fit and repeatability

  • Thanks to wear-free operation with the highest precision, all parts are reliable and precise.
  • Costs due to waste and repeated production can be avoided.

Advantages of a Trotec laser

  • High-quality optics and best beam quality
  • Precise axle drives and intelligent air guidance of the Trotec laser for perfect results.

Why should you use a laser for laser finishing?

For sign shops, signage & display companies, acrylic fabricators and shop fitters, the laser cutter serves as a productive, clean, reliable and universal solution for all geometries and material thicknesses. Unlike routers, flame-polished cutting edges on acrylics can be achieved with laser finsihing without additional post-processing. In addition, the laser cutter enables wear free processing to achieve reproducible results. As a consequence a competitive advantage is guaranteed to offer new products at reduced costs to achieve more profit.

"Trotec equipment is the best in its class, and when you pair it with the great people at the company it becomes a fantastic experience. They are always willing to assist, answer questions, troubleshoot and are interested in us succeeding in our ventures."
- Karla Elder - Director of Jackson's Gallery -
"For the past 5 years, we have been using a Trotec Rayjet laser system in my workshop. Simple to use, the machine is so precise and well built, I can create intricate assembly pieces as easily as mass-produced items. Top-rate service, and a highly reliable machine; I recommend Trotec Laser Canada without reservation."
- David-Yann Auclair - Owner of L’Atelier du Vieux Rabot -
"We found it very easy to become involved with this technology. Trotec Laser Canada - Langley has answered all my inquiries quickly and efficiently. Their responsiveness and detailed replies to questions give me the peace of mind I need when starting up with new equipment and processes."
- Paul LeBlanc - Owner of FASTSIGNS of Vancouver -

Which machines are best for laser cutting signs & displays?

Large-format laser cutters: SP Series

Trotec COlaser cutters are designed for fast and precise processing of large-format materials with easy integration into the shop floor. Highest laser cutting speed, the four-side access and Tandem Assist ensure maximum productivity.

✔ Work area: from 1245 x 710 up to 3250 x 3210 mm
✔ Laser type: CO₂ laser

Large-format laser cutters Smaller machine options

Tips for laser cutting Signage & Displays

What is the difference between cast and extruded acrylic?

In general, cast and extruded acrylic and both common when used with laser machines. The negatives and positives of GS and XT come it play depending on the job. 

Cast acrylic is available in a variety of different colours and is made in thicknesses from 3 to 25 mm. Cast acrylic has a greater thickness tolerance than extruded acrylic. When cast acrylic is laser processed, it has a beautiful mat finish. The edge is crystal-clear and has a clean straight angle where the laser cuts the material. 

On the other hand, extruded acrylic is available in less colors and varies in thicknesses between 1.5 and 2 mm (sheets) and 30 µm – 1 mm (films). Compared to cast acrylic, extruded acrylic is cheaper. It's thickness tolerance is lower than GS. As the density of the material is lower, it can be cut faster or with less laser power. The engraving result does not show a visually appealing matting, a sharp ridge occurs at the exit point of the laser during laser cutting.

How do I get a glossy cutting edge on acrylic?

The crystal-clear, glossy cutting edge is one of the most important advantages of laser cutting acrylic. The key influencing factors are:

  • the acrylic used - manufacturer and type (cast or extruded);
  • the system used - lens, laser power, processing table and exhaust;
  • the laser parameters - ratio of speed, power, frequency and the focus positioning.

If these factors are correctly combined, you get a beautiful flame-polished edge.

What is the difference between acrylic and polycarbonate?

Polycarbonate (PC) brands such as Makrolon® are often confused with acrylic. Especially as some manufacturers have both products in their range. Polycarbonate has fundamentally different properties - which are relevant for laser processing: For example, PC is less UV stable, more impact-resistant and can be deformed cold. For laser processing, PC is only suitable for marking and cutting films up to approx. 500 µm. Sheets of 1 mm and thicker will become black and carbonize when laser cut.

Can DiBond be laser cut?

Unfortunately, aluminum composite boards such as DiBond can not be laser cut. In principle, aluminum and plastic can be processed using laser technology. However, the combination of aluminum-plastic-aluminum results in an unusable and uneconomical result during laser cutting.

What about laser cutting films containing PVC?

Materials containing PVC are on the list of prohibited materials for laser processing. Toxic substances are produced when burning PVC, which may harm the operator or damage the laser machine. Nowadays, however, there are many PVC-free alternatives.

Are there laser-capable alternatives to Forex® and Kapa®?

Unfortunately, Forex® and Kapa® can not be laser cut. As a PVC/PU-free lightweight foam board, we can recommend Smart-X from the manufacturer 3A Composites. This consists of 100% polystyrene and is excellent for laser cutting.

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