Cast vs. Extruded Acrylic

General about acrylic

Acrylic glass, popularly known as Plexiglas, Perspex, Deglas or Senocryl, is a special plastic: Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). We, at Trotec, use the brand name "TroGlass" for our laser acrylic.

comparison extruded and cast acrylic
Choose the right acrylic for your laser application

There are two different manufacturing processes for acrylic: Acrylic is cast (GS) or extruded (XT). You can process both types of acrylic glass excellently with CO2 lasers, however, the manufacturing process requires different material properties. Learn more about the material behavior during laser processing in the following table and determine which acrylic is best for your application:
Learn details about the production, laser process, tolerances or applications of cast and extruded acrylic.

 Cast acrylicExtruded acrylic
Production Cast acrylic (GS) is produced by pouring the liquid mass into a mold. The subsequent cross-linking of the polymers produces a homogeneous, stress-free material with high strength and robustness as well as excellent surface quality. The production process of cast acrylic is more complex than that of extruded acrylic, which is why it is more expensive. Extruded acrylic (XT) is produced by extruding molten acrylic granules. The cross-linking of the polymer structure is less pronounced, resulting in lower mechanical strength and chemical resistance.
Thickness tolerances Due to this manufacturing process, the thickness tolerance is significantly higher and is approx. ±15 %, which must be observed in some applications (e.g. with connectors). The tolerances for an extruded acrylic sheet are +/- 5 %.
Laser cutting Laser cutting of cast acrylic produces clean cut edges on both sides without burr formation. If extruded acrylic is cut with the laser, burrs can form on the cut edge.
Laser engraving Cast acrylic glass enables a high-contrast white engraving. The engraving on laser engraved extruded acrylic becomes matt grey.
Cast acrylic can be thermally well deformed, whereby the deformation properties are homogeneous in all directions. Extruded acrylic can be easily deformed thermally, but there may be differences in deformation properties between longitudinal or transverse orientation to the direction of extrusion.
Surface Cast acrylic is more scratch and chemical resistant than extruded acrylic. Very good surface, but GS is even more scratch and chemical resistant.
Application GS is versatile. It is primarily used when high quality is the main focus. Popular applications are indoors and outdoors:
  • Furniture and interior design
  • Shop and exhibition construction
  • POS displays
  • Letters
  • Visual communication
  • Special individual items for interior use such as vases, lamps or statues
  • Advertising technology
  • Trophies
Extruded acrylic is cheaper to purchase and is therefore suitable for series production:
  • Machine covers
  • Models and pluggable applications (due to the low thickness tolerances)
  • Interior and exterior signs
  • Visual communication
  • Cuts
Which TroGlass materials belong to GS and XT?

Get more tips and tricks for CO2 laser processing of acrylic