Plastic laminates vs acrylic - Which is right for my application?

Plastic laminates – Applications

Generally plastic laminates are used for signage, including interior, exterior and desk signs. Despite featuring an acrylic core, plastic laminates are very different materials to acrylic. Read on to find out more about acrylics, or for more about plastic laminates, including tips and tricks for processing with a laser cutter, read our tips and tricks. Laser cutting and engraving plastic laminates

More information

To find out more about different engraving materials, including plastic laminates and acrylic, make sure to check out our website where we have a series of dedicated pages offering you more insight into the processing of these materials. You can also subscribe to our youtube channel to see more videos of laser cutting and laser engraving different substrates. Laser FAQs Laser tips & tricks

Acrylic applications

As with plastic laminates, acrylic is widely used for signage. Whilst plastic laminate forms the base of signage, acrylic is largely used for stand out lettering or large scale exterior signage, such as for supermarkets. Cast acrylic is also used for a range of other applications, including decorations, trophies and even interior design. Whilst also used for signage, extruded acrylic is widely used for applications with interlocked components. This is because due to a low thickness tolerance the components can join together easier. For examples of the different applications that can be created by laser cutting and laser engraving acrylic, read on. Cast acrylic sign Extruded acrylic display

Acrylic Many varieties

Acrylic often has many brand names, however there are two core types of the material, cast and extruded. Generally cast acrylic is used for laser cutting and laser engraving due to the flame polished edge that is crate when the laser beam cuts the material, as well as the high contrast white laser engraving results that can be achieved. Neither of these are possible when laser processing extruded acrylic, as laser engraving the material will produce a matt grey result. However, a general rule is that extruded acrylic requires less power for laser cutting sheets the same thickness as cast acrylic. The main differences between the two materials is the way they are manufactured, with the process for manufacturing extruded acrylic cheaper than cast, resulting in a lower price. Acrylic offers a range of design possibilities for laser cutting and laser engraving, as there are so many varieties available. These include everything from transparent and transluscent materials to glitter and mirror varieties. By laser cutting and engraving, you can create many striking applications. Tips: Laser cutting and engraving cast acrylic

Plastic laminates - Developed for laser cutting and engraving

Trotec's TroLase plastic laminates are developed specially for laser cutting and engaving. These two-ply materials feature an acrylic core which is coated with a thin top layer. When laser engraved, the top layer is removed leaving the contrasting core exposed. This offers a range of design possibilities, as the range includes many colours.  Plastic laminates have always been a popular material for laser processing due to the acrylic 
Plastic laminates and acrylic are two of the most popular materials for laser cutting and engraving. By using these materials you can create everything from signage to models and beyond. What's more, each material offers its own benefits during the laser engraving and cutting process. In the following article we will discuss the differences between the materials and example applications, as well as showcasing the Trotec materials range