Laser Cutting and Engraving Services

RSP’s ultrafast cutting and etching lasers allow for quick high-volume manufacturing with reduced setup times and minimal nonrecurring engineering charges. Our engravers provide high-quality durable precision legends and windows on silicone rubber keypads and control panels. RSP’s etching lasers are perfect for most plastics and silicone. Short lead times and affordable hourly rates mean prototyping and design updates can occur rapidly while providing cost-efficient and timely production.

Our high-precision industrial cutting lasers can also cut most plastics, polyester, rubber, polycarbonate, acrylics, laminates and other materials with speeds of up to 20 inches per second.

RSP: Custom Laser Cut Acrylic Services

Advantages of Laser Cutting/Etching:

  • High-precision cutting/etching
  • Affordable hourly rates
  • Short lead times
  • Prototyping (prior to hard tooling)
  • Rapid design updates

Materials for Laser Cutting and Etching:
Due to their molding capabilities and softness when heated, many plastic materials work well for laser cutting or laser etching, with some caveats.

Materials for Laser Cutting:
Most plastics are softened by heat when they are molded into various shapes.  This makes them well suited to laser cutting, where the laser beam creates heat and melts the plastic, making a “cut.”  Because the melting temperature of most plastics is relatively low, even a low-wattage laser works well.

However, some plastics are not good for laser cutting. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) emits toxic chlorine gas when heated. PC (polycarbonate) can release toxic fumes, and because of its higher melting point relative to other plastics, it requires more heat. PP (polypropylene) is another plastic that is not ideal for laser cutting, which can produce a rough or melted edge because of the material’s low melting point.

Materials for Laser Etching:
Several plastics are suitable for laser etching due to their ability to produce high-quality, precise markings when exposed to a laser beam. Some of the best plastics for laser etching include:

  1. Acrylic / Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA): Acrylic is one of the most popular materials for laser etching due to its clarity, versatility and ability to produce crisp, high-contrast markings. It is available in various colors and thicknesses, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
  2. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): ABS is a durable thermoplastic that produces clean, precise etchings with good contrast. It is commonly used for marking consumer products, electronics and automotive parts.
  3. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET/PETG): PET and PETG plastics are transparent and offer good resistance to chemicals and impact. They produce high-quality etchings with excellent contrast and are often used for signage, displays and nameplates.
  4. Polypropylene (PP): Polypropylene is a versatile thermoplastic that produces clear, legible markings with good contrast when laser etched. It is commonly used for labeling, packaging and industrial applications.
  5. Polyethylene (PE): Polyethylene is a flexible and lightweight plastic that can be laser etched to produce durable, high-contrast markings. It is often used for packaging, identification tags, and signage.
  6. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): As well as being a good candidate for laser cutting, PVC can also be laser etched to produce permanent, high-contrast markings with good durability. It is commonly used for labeling, signage and promotional items.
  7. Polycarbonate (PC): Polycarbonate is a durable and impact-resistant plastic that produces clear, precise etchings with good contrast. It is often used for marking electronic components, medical devices and industrial parts.
  8. Polyoxymethylene (POM): POM, also known as acetal or Delrin, is a tough and rigid plastic that produces high-quality etchings with good contrast. It is commonly used for marking mechanical components and consumer products.

While there are many plastic material options for laser etching, silicone, which is not a suitable material for etching, may be required for some applications. RSP does not etch silicone directly, but layers of paint can be applied to the silicone to create an etchable surface.

Differences Between Laser Cutting, Laser Etching and Laser Engraving

RSP provides many industries with laser cutting, laser engraving and laser etching services. Each process provides slightly different results and may be used in various applications, from medical devices to signage to automotive products.

Laser Cutting:

  • Process: Laser cutting involves using a high-powered laser beam to cut through materials along a predetermined path, creating clean, precise edges.
  • Applications: Laser cutting may be used on metals, plastics, wood, fabric and more. It is commonly used in industries such as manufacturing, aerospace, automotive and crafts.

Laser Engraving:

  • Process: Laser engraving involves using a laser beam to remove material from the surface of a material, creating depth and contrast to produce permanent markings or designs.
  • Applications: Laser engraving is used to mark or decorate a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, glass, wood, leather and more. It is commonly used for personalization, branding, signage and decorative applications.

Laser Etching:

  • Process: Laser etching is similar to laser engraving but typically involves removing a thin layer of material from the surface of a material to create shallow indentations or markings.
  • Applications: Laser etching is used for marking or labeling materials such as plastics, metals, ceramics and glass. It is commonly used for product identification, serial numbering, barcoding and decorative purposes.

RSP’s Laser Etching and Cutting Capabilities

RSP’S laser etching machines can be used for highly detailed backlighting purposes and to ensure durability. Our engineers have experience etching variable layer thicknesses, coating types and colors to create consistent,accurate and durable legends and backlighting for use on materials such as silicone and more that are designed for use in extreme environments and other conditions.

While RSP doesn’t etch into the silicone material itself, using standard graphic software such as Adobe Illustrator and AutoCAD, RSP's laser etching machines are programmed to remove layers of spray paint to exacting specifications and show sublayers by removing dark layers (light blocks) to reveal the white or natural color of the silicone (the light pipe) beneath for backlighting purposes.

Video: Laser Etching on a Silicone Keypad

RSP’s industrial lasers can laser cut plastics, polyester, polycarbonate, rubber acrylics and other materials.



  1. Strength and Durability: Polycarbonate is highly impact-resistant and stronger than acrylic. It is nearly unbreakable and can withstand significant physical stress.
  2. Heat Resistance: Polycarbonate has a higher heat resistance compared to acrylic, making it suitable for applications where higher temperatures are involved.
  3. Flexibility: It is more flexible than acrylic, allowing for some bending without cracking.
  4. Transparency: Provides excellent optical clarity, similar to glass.


  1. Laser Cutting Challenges: Polycarbonate is more difficult to laser cut compared to acrylic. It tends to melt, discolor, and produce rough edges and toxic fumes when cut with a laser.
  2. Cost: Polycarbonate is generally more expensive than acrylic.
  3. Scratch Resistance: It is more prone to scratching compared to acrylic.



  1. Ease of Laser Cutting: Acrylic cuts cleanly with lasers, producing smooth edges and minimal melting. It can be easily engraved, and the edges will have a polished look after cutting.
  2. Clarity: Acrylic has excellent clarity and can be clearer than polycarbonate.
  3. Cost: Typically less expensive than polycarbonate, making it more cost-effective for projects.
  4. Scratch Resistance: More scratch-resistant than polycarbonate.


  1. Brittleness: Acrylic is more brittle than polycarbonate and can crack or shatter under high impact.
  2. Heat Resistance: Lower heat resistance compared to polycarbonate, making it unsuitable for high-temperature applications.
  3. UV Resistance: Although some types of acrylic have UV protection, it generally has less UV resistance compared to polycarbonate.


  • Polycarbonate: Ideal for applications requiring high impact resistance and durability, such as safety shields, protective gear, and structural components.
  • Acrylic: Best for applications where optical clarity and clean laser cutting are essential, such as signage, display cases, and decorative items.

Contact RSP, Inc. for fast, high-volume production of your specialized laser etching and cutting needs.

Request a Quote

If you are like any of our customers, you think about your product 24/7. You dream of how it will change the market or maybe you’re creating a brand new market. But when it comes to executing the product, you’ve realized you need some help. And that’s where we come in.

Fill out the information below so we can get a good understanding of what you may need from us. We will respond as quickly as possible to your request, however, please allow at least 24 business hours.

Looking for immediate assistance? Call our sales professionals directly based on the timezone that works best for you. English speakers are available at all locations.

USA: +1-866-329-1804 - UTC-6: Central Standard Time

China: +86-0755-8366-3414 - UTC +8: China Standard Time

    Desired Product/Service (Check all that apply)

    Attach 2D/3D rendering if available. (20MB limit | zip files for faster upload) File Types: gif, png, jpg, pdf, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, odt, zip, stp, igs

    All fields with * are required