Introduction: How to Remove Laser Cut Parts Without Removing the Rest of the Acrylic

Say you have a laser cutter and want to use an entire sheet of acrylic, say 24 x 18 inches like is capable on the Epilog Helix 24 60-watt laser cutters we have available at Tech Shop in Detroit, Michigan.  If you are cutting some initial test pieces and don't want to remove the entire sheet of acrylic (removal would throw off the alignment of the laser and subsequent parts wouldn't quite match up perfectly) then you can use this quick and easy method to remove parts from the master acrylic sheet.  This method is super easy and utilizes parts and equipment that should be on hand at every Tech Shop location. 

Step 1: Acquire Materials and Assemble Vacuum-rig

Roll a wet/dry vac over to the laser-cutter area, and acquire a single coffee filter and some tape (I used painter's tape that I had on hand).  Put the coffee filter over the mouth of the vacuum attachment, and tape securely in place.    

Step 2: Cut Something Out and Position Vacuum-rig Over the Piece to Suck It Out.

The piece will remain secure in a pocket formed by the coffee filter, and won't have to be recovered from the inside of the vacuum.  The rest of the 24x18 acrylic sheet will remain exactly in position as it was during your first cutting run, allowing you to accurately and efficiently use an entire sheet of acrylic for all your laser-cutting needs.

Step 3: Have Fun Laser Cutting!

I am making a Tantillus 3D printer with a laser-cut case, and all the 6mm case pieces fit onto a single 24x18 inch sheet of acrylic if you move the pieces around a little bit.  The test piece fits perfectly into the only piece of acrylic not used by the case pieces.  If you run into a situation like this where a test piece or some other piece has to come out before you pick up the sheet to remove the other pieces, this technique is for you!  This Tantillus case is super awesome in clear acrylic, but you can make it in any color acrylic and PLA that you want.  I made it at TechShop using the Replicator 2 and the Epilog laser cutter, here in metro Detroit, Michigan.  Check 'em out:

Epilog Challenge V

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge V