Precision Cut Printed Acrylic

Jun 03, 2011

This project was the first production job using the vision system on the new laser.  While not a large job, it was a good test.  Having the registration dots on clear acrylic presented some challenges.  The camera had trouble resolving the registration marks from the shadow they cast through the acrylic.  However, during the troubleshooting process, we discovered that a cluster of the LED’s in the lighting cowl around the camera were out.  This likely explains the shadowing problem, and we are currently awaiting a new cowl.Luckily, the registration marks were well clear of the cut area, so we ended up creating white ring stickers that resolved the problem well enough to finish the job.

The client was uncertain how accurate the vision system was, so they initially provided us a cut file that included a large bleed area, seen here.

The result cut the bleed area perfectly, but we were more than a little confused until we realized that the outlines we were cutting to were the bleed lines instead of the actual shape. Once we established that, and removed the bleed outline, things proceeded quickly, and ridiculously tightly.

Several jobs later, I have to call the vision system an epic win. The i-cut software has a few annoying limitations – the biggest being that it cannot be used to engrave. Since we do a significant number of jobs that required both engraving and cutting, the extra step is one more chance to make an expensive error. Even so, it’s already been a great help to production. Much of our business is precision laser die cutting, and it has improved our accuracy, sped up production, and reduced waste.