Xometry offers the highest quality plastic laser cutting services in a variety of materials and finishes.
Laser cutting systems use a thin, high-powered laser beam to carve out parts from plastic sheets or plates using computer numerical control (CNC). This computerized laser system can cut, engrave, or mark plastic with Intricate designs, providing unmatched manufacturing capabilities when compared to more traditional methods. Plastic laser cutting with Xometry means getting access to our global Manufacturing Partner Network that will source the exact material, process, and personnel needed for your project to succeed. Common materials for plastic laser cutting include PC, acrylic, polyimide, Delrin, PET, and many others, including custom materials not specified by our capabilities. Laser-cut plastic can theoretically be used in every application, but common industries include aerospace, automotive, medical, consumer goods, packaging, chemical and scientific, and many other industries.
What is Plastic Laser Cutting?
Plastic laser cutting is a manufacturing process where a thin, high-powered laser is used to cut through material in a user-defined profile. A computer-aided design (CAD) file is uploaded into the machine, where the system will define the laser path and then perform autonomous cutting. Laser focusing optics are used to direct light energy into a high-density beam, and CNC control moves either the laser or the workpiece to “draw” the correct profile cut. Plastic laser cutting typically implements CO2 lasers, where CO2 gas helps intensify the laser light into the tens of thousands of nanometers (or the infrared spectrum). Specific plastics and thicknesses work better under certain wavelength ranges, and therefore call for specific laser cutting systems or stronger lasers (fiber lasers, for example). Common materials used in plastic laser cutting include PC, acrylic, polyester, polyimide, POMs, PET, polypropylene, and other plastics that will not produce hazardous by product when in contact with high heat (see below for more material information).
Benefits of Plastic Laser Cutting with Xometry
Plastic laser cutting with Xometry offers a variety of advantages to your project. Here are some of the benefits of plastic laser cutting with Xometry:
- Accuracy and Repeatability
- Tight Tolerances
- Automated Manufacturing
- Increased Production Speed
- Instant Quotes & Free Shipping in the US
Plastic laser cutting produces cuts that are highly accurate to the original design, and these cuts can be repeated across many production runs. Plastic laser cutting ensures there is no difference in quality throughout the cutting process, and reduces the need for QA and verification procedures to prevent substandard parts.
Plastic laser cutting has cut thicknesses (called kerf) typically less than 0.010”, which is much less than conventional mechanical cutting tools like saws. The small size of the laser also reduces the warping effects that heat has on plastic, improving overall dimensional stability of the part post-cutting.
Thanks to CNC automation, plastic laser cutting is largely an automated process that reduces the need for technicians, set up, and laborious manual tasks. Plastic laser cutting allows businesses to allocate time and resources to more important tasks and can save businesses money over the long term thanks to added automation.
Plastic laser cutting significantly reduces the production time of parts, and allows for numerous parts to be cut at the same time, increasing the overall throughput of your manufacturing project. The good quality of laser cuts also reduce post-processing steps, increasing the overall efficiency of the system without compromise.
Xometry offers instant pricing, lead times, and design-for-manufacturing feedback in a matter of clicks using The Xometry Instant Quoting Engine℠. This tool puts data science to work so you can easily choose the optimal price and lead time option for your project. Xometry also offers free shipping to anywhere in the US for any of our processes.
Ready to Get Started on Your Plastic Laser Cutting Quote?
Laser Cut Plastic Materials
Xometry offers the following plastic materials for our laser cutting plastics services. If you don’t see a specific material on this list, reach out to our application engineering team, who can help you find the exact plastic for the job.
- Acrylic (PMMA)
- Delrin (Polyoxymethylene)
- Polyesters (PET, Mylar, PETG)
Abbreviated as PC, polycarbonate material is a thermoplastic made from chains of carbonate group monomer units. PC is hard, durable, and lightweight, and can be readily laser cut when in thin sheets. However, it is important to note that PC can ignite as it absorbs more infrared energy than other materials, and its edges will turn yellow and warp, especially in thicker sheets. Thick PC material should not be laser cut to prevent ignition risks.
Poly methyl methacrylate (abbreviated PMMA or known as acrylic) is an optically clear plastic made from derivatives of the acrylic acid monomer unit. Acrylic is one of the best materials to laser cut, producing a flame-polished or frosted edge with no dangerous byproducts or ignition risks. Acrylic is highly sought after as a material thanks to its excellent workability and its optical clarity (being on par or better than glass).
Polyimide (also found as the brand name Kapton) is a high-performance plastic built from polyimide monomer units. Polyimide has great electrical resistance, high thermal conductivity, and tensile strength and is readily laser cut as thin strip or tape. Note that polyimide will char on its edges when laser cut which will require additional post-processing steps to remove, and a too-powerful laser will damage the integrity of the material.
Polyoxymethylene (also known by the brand name Delrin, or as POM, acetal, polyacetal, and other names) is an engineering semi-crystalline thermoplastic made from dioxalane or ethylene oxide (depending on formulation). POMs are tough, low-friction plastics that work ideally in laser cutting as their combined strength, flexibility, and good edge conditions produce great cuts with no post-processing necessary. Note that POMs can produce formaldehyde gas and other fumes that are unpleasant (but not necessarily toxic in low quantities). To learn more, see our service page for Delrin Laser Cutting.
The polyester polymers polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) and Mylar (also known as biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate, or boPET) are thermoplastics built from polyester derivative monomer units. These materials generally have high tensile strengths, chemical and dimensional stability, and can be made extremely reflective, transparent, or opaque depending on the need and specific plastic. These materials can be laser cut when thin, but do curl and warp in the presence of the laser which will require a post-processing step to clean up. Thick polyester will significantly bubble and warp and increase the risk of ignition, meaning these plastics are best suited for laser cutting in thin film.
Abbreviated as PP, polypropylene is a thermoplastic made from the propylene monomer unit. PP is a popular commodity plastic, meaning it has good general-use properties and is an economic plastic for its strength and resistances. PP can be readily laser cut and offers a clean edge with minimal burns, though its kerf size tends to be larger than other plastics and edges can raise or warp when using too much heat. It is best cut in thin sheets, but cutting PP in its foam form is highly dangerous.
Plastic Laser Cutting Industries
Xometry can create laser cut plastic parts for a wide range of industries, including: aerospace, automotive, health and medical, consumer products, and decorative industries.
- Health and Medical
- Consumer Products
- Decor & Artistic Products
Xometry offers plastic laser cutting services for the aerospace industry. Common parts needed for the aerospace industry that can be laser cut include windows, gaskets/o-rings, door parts, trims, seats, and interior components. Plastic laser cut parts help meet stringent tolerance and quality requirements of aviation and defense regulators.
Xometry offers plastic laser cutting services for the automotive industry. Common parts needed for the automotive industry that are laser cut include interior components, handles, consoles, decorative trim, fasteners, and general components. The increased speed and automation of plastic laser cutting allows manufacturers to spend less on a higher volume of quality parts, improving overall efficiency.
Xometry offers plastic laser cutting services for the health and medical industry. Common parts needed for the health and medical industry that can be laser cut are device housings, surgical tools, films and membranes, instruments, or biocompatible components. Plastic laser cutting offers the precision to meet both patient-specific and regulatory body requirements.
Xometry offers plastic laser cutting services for the consumer products industry. Common parts needed for the consumer products industry that are laser cut are housings, toys, consumer electronics, enclosures, general use products, and much more. Plastic laser cutting increases the efficiency and precision of the product development process, allowing retailers to offer higher quality products at lower prices thanks to lower overhead costs.
Xometry offers plastic laser cutting services for the decor and artistic products industry. Common parts needed for the decor and artistic products industry that are laser cut include signs, engravings and engraved products, artistic equipment, stencils and patterns, home decor, and much more. Plastic laser cutting can match original designs using freeform curvilinear cuts, allowing creative designers to realize their idea without being restricted by the mechanics of their manufacturing process.
Common Projects and Uses of Plastic Laser Cutting by Xometry
- Signage: Acrylic signage for offices and businesses, restaurants, homes, etc.
- Housings: Housings and enclosures for consoles, computers, appliances, electronics, etc.
- Rapid prototyping: Product development prototypes, architectural models, minimum viable product, etc.
Alternatives to Laser Cutting Plastic
Xometry also offers some alternative manufacturing capabilities for plastics, including PEEK CNC machining, custom plastic injection molding, plastic 3D printing, and urethane casting services. See below for more information on each process:
- PEEK CNC Machining with Xometry
- Custom Plastic Injection Molding with Xometry
- Plastic 3D Printing with Xometry
- Urethane Casting with Xometry
PEEK CNC Machining
Custom Plastic Injection Molding Service
Plastic 3D Printing Service
Urethane and Silicone Casting Services
Why Xometry for Plastic Laser Cutting
Choose from millions of possible combinations of materials, finishes, tolerances, markings, and certifications for your order.
Easy to Use
Get your laser cut parts delivered right to your door without the hassle of sourcing, project management, logistics, or shipping.
We are ISO 9001:2015, ISO 13485 and AS9100D certified. Only the top shops that apply to become Suppliers make it through our qualification process.