The Ultimate Guide to Laser Engraving Plastic

Updated On
abstract photo of plastic sheets

Laser engraving has emerged as a cutting-edge technique for personalizing or marking various materials, including a spectrum of plastics. Plastic is inexpensive, versatile, and relatively durable, making it ideal for beginners in the laser field. You can utilize plastic for various laser engraving projects, from simple keychains and earrings to custom acrylic LED signs and more! 

Before you can start laser engraving plastic, however, you must know what types of plastic are suitable for engraving, what laser engraving machine you’ll need, and how to laser engrave plastic. This guide will educate you on all the intricacies of laser engraving plastic!

Can You Laser Engrave Plastic?

The Principle of Laser Engraving Plastic 

laser engraving plastic

Plastic laser engraving involves a focused laser beam that melts the material, creating a separation or contrast in the plastic to form cuts or engravings. This non-contact process allows for detailed and accurate designs only achievable through laser engraving on plastic. The laser’s heat creates a contrast by either melting, burning, or even changing the color of the plastic, depending on the type of material and settings used. 

Types of Plastic Suitable for Laser Engraving

Not all plastics are alike when it comes to laser engraving. Some of the most commonly laser-engraved plastics include: 

  • Acrylic
  • Delrin
  • Fluoropolymers
  • Mylar
  • Polyethylene (PE): Produces clean cuts with no discoloration. Does have a relatively low melting point, which can lead to melting and uneven surfaces.
  • Polypropylene (PP): Also has a lower melting point, but can be engraved with the right settings for a subtle, textured finish.
  • Polycarbonate (PC): Requires caution when engraving due to discoloration but can be controlled with the right settings. 

It’s important to note that certain types of plastic, like ABS and PVC, can emit harmful fumes during engraving. To preserve the safety of your working environment, ensure that you utilize a fume extractor for laser engraving when working indoors and only use laser engravable plastic. 

When it comes to operating an eco-friendly laser engraver production, methods like employing air filtration systems to expunge fumes and purchasing energy-efficient models can help reduce your carbon footprint. OMTech laser engraving machines are primed for efficiency, operating at lightning speeds while using less energy than older models. Use sustainable plastic materials with your OMTech device to ensure you are practicing environmentally friendly laser engraving! 

Applications of Laser Engraving Plastic 

The applications of laser-engraved plastic are vast and varied, with the only limitation being your imagination! You can laser engrave or cut plastic to craft personalized gadgets, signage, promotional items, and intricate models. In fact, having a laser engraver for plastic is a great way to start a small business selling acrylic photo frames, bookmarks, coasters, keychains, and more! 

laser engraved plastic sign

Many of our OMTech customers craft stunning products from plastic, creating unique gifts for loved ones and family members. Go to our OMTech customer gallery for laser engraving inspiration, and check out all the possible projects you can create with plastic! OMTech customer @marveco.laser creates stunning LED acrylic nightstands as a side business. Just think about what you can create with an OMTech CO2 laser engraver!   

What Laser Machine is Best for Engraving Plastic? 

Choosing the right machine for laser engraving plastics is crucial. You’ll need a CO2 laser machine with at least 40W of power for optimal cutting and engraving. Laser engraving machines for plastic, like the OMTech Polar 50W Desktop Laser Engraver, are compact and adept at handling various materials, creating clean and precise engravings. Its 50W power delivers the perfect combination of strength and precision for cutting and engraving materials, making it ideal for beginners, small business owners, and hobbyists. 

omtech polar 50w laser engraver

How Do You Laser Engrave Plastic?  

Select the Right Plastic

Start by selecting what type of plastic you want to work with. Laser engraving acrylic is popularly utilized for crafting jewelry, keychains, and more, allowing you to easily create precise and beautiful products. 

Prepare the Design

Prepare the design you want to cut or engrave. You can download an SVG file from OMTech’s library of free laser engraving designs or from other sources online. You can also create and import your designs into Lightburn, OMTech’s chosen laser engraving software.  

Set Up the Laser Engraver 

Turn on your OMTech laser engraver and open up Lightburn. Once you set your Cut and Engrave layers, you can adjust key parameters like power, speed, and focus to achieve your designs' desired depth and clarity. While working with acrylic mirrors, we changed our laser engraving plastic settings to 150mm/s at 20% power and our cutting setting to 12mm/s at 40% power. 

Test Engraving 

Always perform a test on a scrap piece of the same material to fine-tune the settings before proceeding. This will allow you to adjust the settings for optimal, clear results. 


Once you’re satisfied with the settings, move on to engraving the final product! Make sure your fume extractor is turned on so you can breathe safely during the process.


After you’re finished engraving, you might need to clean the piece of residue or dust. Use a wet cloth or wipe to remove the debris. Depending on the application, you should also consider sealing or further processing the engraved piece for enhanced durability or aesthetic appeal. For our acrylic keychain, we used black spray paint on the backside to create greater contrast between the shiny acrylic and black accents. 


Embarking on a journey into laser engraving plastics is an exciting venture that blends technology with creativity. By understanding the types of plastics suitable for engraving, choosing the right machine like the OMTech Polar 50W, and following proper engraving processes, beginners can unlock limitless possibilities in personalization and design. 

Join OMTech today for the chance to pursue your business venture! With so many projects to start with laser-engraved plastic, unleash your creativity today. Begin your journey with a plastic laser engraver now!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.