What are the differences between cast (GS) and extruded (XT) acrylic?

Read more on material characteristics in laser processing.

Acrylic is well known the world over under the name Plexiglas® or Perspex®. The proper name for this synthetic, thermoplastic resin is polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Not all acrylic is created equal, though. The selection of the right working material means you can ensure seamless laser processing in advance.

Cast acrylic (GS) is manufactured by pouring the liquid raw materials into a mould. Mirrored glass is usually used for shaping. Cast acrylic boasts excellent surface quality.

Benefits of cast acrylic in laser processing:

  • You can achieve optimum cut edges without burrs.
  • GS acrylic allows for excellent engravings with colour changes to the engraved areas. Unlike with acrylic XT, the laser engravings are more contrasting and thus achieve clearer results and a better effect.

For the manufacture of extruded acrylic (XT), granules are melted in an extruder using rotating screws. The resulting acrylic melt is shaped into the desired form at the end of the extruder by nozzles.

Benefits of extruded acrylic in laser processing:

  • Extruded acrylic demonstrates significantly lower thickness tolerances in contrast to cast acrylic. This property can have a positive effect on the dimensional stability of your production.
  • Acrylic XT is cheaper, meaning it can be more economical for use in series product.

In principle, you can process both acrylic types with CO2 lasers to great effect. By knowing about the benefits and disadvantages in laser processing, you can use the materials in a targeted way depending on usage.

Click here for more information on laser processing acrylic.

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