Manual cutting of Trotec laser materials

The Trotec materials are specifically designed for optimum performance for laser and rotary engraving. It is important to note that laser laminates are acrylic based, and although they are modified for flexibility, some characteristics of acrylic remain. One is the tendency to become brittle when cut mechanically (for example when using a shear). This can be overcome with the right cutting equipment.

Cutting equipment recommendations

To create a nice, smooth edge with a cutting shear, make sure that the equipment is optimally adjusted:

  • Check blade to make sure it is free of residue (e.g. from adhesive foil) and undamaged
  • Make sure that the blade does go straight and without a gap toward the table of the shear

To optimize the cutting result, a plastic-specific blade is preferable. Compared to a metal shear, a plastic-specific shear has a significantly pointier edge. Honing a blade specifically for plastic cutting is the final step to a perfect cutting result.

Profile of blade for plastic cutting – wedge angle approx. 26°

Profile of blade for metal cutting (aluminium) – wedge angle approx. 88°

Different cutting methods

1. Cutting with saw (e.g. Varga saw)

Using a saw can be a good alternative to shear-cutting. It creates a nicer edge for thicker sheets in particular (3.2mm and above). Please keep in mind to achieve an optimum result when saw cutting:

  • Blade should be sharp and smooth running.
  • Material and blade need to move toward each other in a straight line without a gap between the table and blade.

2. Cutting with a blade for metal

The image shows the edges after cutting with a blade for steel cutting (hydraulic shear). Due to the shape of the blade, the laminate is more broken than cut. The result is a rough, crumbling edge.

3. Cutting with a manual paper cutter

Here is an example of edges after cutting with manual paper cutter. The edges are fairly clean cut, with some rough marks of the shear.

4. Cutting with a blade for plastic cutting

Below shows the edges after cutting with a blade for plastic cutting (hydraulic shear). The edges are clean cut, with very few noticeable marks.