Laser Engraving Tips
The key to laser engraving 2-ply or 3-ply laser plastic is to use a material that allows the engraver to pass as quickly and with as little power as possible across the surface color and still produce a clean, bright marking. IPI laser plastics are composed of materials which are "laser friendly", thereby providing the ability to engrave with virtually no smoke residue, no yellowing of core, and no melting of graphics in most instances.
Below are trouble-shooting tips to help prepare you as to what to expect from our laser engraving experience with IPI materials.
At the bottom of this page is a chart with suggested settings for laser engraving and vector cutting. Each laser machine (even within one brand) has its own "identity". This identity consists of actual wattage output (i.e. a 25-watt laser may actually output 30, 35 or more watts), optics focus and cleanliness (a strict cleaning schedule must be kept to), and the type of exhaust system for pulling away smoke residue. Because of these variables, the suggested settings are merely starting points and need to be fine-tuned based on your machine's identity and some other factors, below.
IPI materials are engineered for clear, bright laser marking in one pass, when fine-tuned with the proper settings However, the type of graphics and choice of color will also affect the settings, and adjustments may have to be made.
A fine-line logo or graphic will use different settings than a bold, large one. The larger and bolder the graphic, the more important are proper focus, clean optics and the use of a standard resolution lens (to provide a wider beam to properly clean out the color surface). It may be necessary to increase the DPI (dots per inch) and/or PPI (pulses per inch), and or even do a second pass at a lower power setting (around 2O%)-- all depending on the size and boldness of your graphics. Sometimes laser engraving might not be the best way to accomplish your goal; rotary engraving may be more suitable.
Color can also affect your settings. Some colors (i.e., red, blue) are packed more heavily with pigment and may be, depending on the size and boldness of your graphics, harder to clean out. The suggestions above should be helpful.