Manual cutting of Trotec laser materials

Laser machines have become indispensable as a tool for engravers, retailers and manufacturing companies. A vast range of materials can be marked with a laser with unrivalled precision, without tooling costs and without exerting pressure on delicate workpieces. A laser system is controlled digitally and easy to operate, similar to a standard printer. Not only letters and numbers can be laser engraved, but also complex graphics, logos and bar codes. We have collated some laser engraving basics and practical tips for best laser engraving results.

Laser engraving of Trotec laminates

Trotec Laser systems are capable of "photographic reproduction" and highly detailed marking. They can engrave and cut laser materials with ease. Trotec laser materials are acrylic based and specially manufactured for laser processing. 

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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.