Laser Cutting for Sign Making

POP displays, digital printing

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 for POS/pop-up displays, illuminated advertising or advertising signs make an end product more interesting and high-quality. The creative "finishing" with a laser cutting machine makes a printed acrylic sheet or wooden board into a finished, and thus saleable, product. From simple rectangular advertising signs to complex contours and markings, anything is possible with Trotec laser cutting machines.


Application examples for laser processing for signage & displays

With a Trotec laser, you can be extremely flexible in terms of application and materials for advertising technology. The laser beam is the universal "tool" for all geometries and material thicknesses. Whether rigid or flexible, hard or soft materials, you only need one tool for plastic, wood, composite boards, paper, film or textiles and much more.


  • Signage
  • advertising signs
  • 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

  • Compared to a milling cutter, 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.

"I am a long time laser user and bought a Speedy 100 just over a year ago. When asked why I bought a Trotec over other brands, I declared that it was the BMW of lasers!"
- Bob Winslow - Creative Laser Design -
"We love the laser. We are a 2 person team but the laser is our third. It is a 400 watt SP1500 laser and we are able to cut 1/2" solid bamboo, it is amazing. Low maintance easy to use, right on the money. No poor engravings and no misregistration - the perfect machine."
- Nick Mauer - MTRL Design -
"Because of our Trotec Laser, we can do things in-house that we just weren't able to do before. It has helped us become more efficient … and we can offer more products and solutions to our clients."
- Chuck Chambers - Image 360 -

Tips for laser cutting Signage & Displays

What is the difference between cast and extruded acrylic?

Generally, it can be said that both types of acrylic are equally common in laser processing and well suited. The respective advantages and disadvantages of GS and XT come into play depending on the application.

Cast acrylic is available in lots of colors, is produced in thicknesses from 3 to 25 mm and has a greater thickness tolerance. In laser processing, cast acrylic can be engraved which results in a beautiful matting. The edge is crystal-clear and has a clean right angle at the point where the laser enters and exits the material.

In contrast, extruded acrylic is only available in limited colors, with a thickness of 1.5 to 25 mm (sheets) and 30 µm – 1 mm (films). Compared to GS, XT is cheaper. The thickness tolerance of extruded acrylic is smaller. 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.

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

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