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Quick and Easy Paper Removal from Acrylic

  Have you ever found yourself in this position? You arrive home to see your classic flat Ponoko package on your door step. You tear into the package and examine your hard work. Everything is perfect... Except it is covered in paper. This might not be an issue if you just had a simple design cut, but what if your design involved a lot of small components or a highly detailed vector etching? Removing the paper can be a chore that sucks all the excitement out of receiving your order. Small cuts from a razor knife, broken fingernails and raw fingertips are not how I want to spend my evening. Well there is an easier way.

   Acrylic is an interesting material. It can be weakened by simple cleaning supplies such as Windex. Alcohol is just as bad. However some chemicals do not harm the acrylic. Kerosene is one of them. Strong enough to dissolve the glue but also safe to use on acrylic. A gallon of Kerosene costs around $10 and should last for a lot of laser cutting. So how do we use kerosene to remove the paper?

Step 1:

Prepare a container in a well ventilated area. Fill it with the Kerosene and add the parts the need paper removal. Now comes the fun part. Go back to designing or just relax and watch a movie. 2 hours later your parts should be ready.

Step 2:
   Take the parts out of the kerosene and you will soon realize that the paper just slides off. Wipe off the paper and rinse the parts in some water to remove the left over kerosene. If glue reside remains then another few minutes in the kerosene will take care of that.

Step 3: Clean up! Wipe down your parts and leave them to dry. Some parts might need a little extra cleaning to remove any left over kerosene residue. Poor your kerosene back in the bottle and store it in safe place till your next order comes in.

Removing paper from your next order will be as easy as doing the dishes. I recently cleaned over 200 delicate parts and for the first time my finger tips are not raw from pulling all that paper off.

Some other chemicals that I found to be safe for use on acrylic:
Simple Green
Super Clean degreaser
Vinegar
WD-40
Brake Fluid

Not all of these chemicals worked to remove the glue but several worked to various degrees for removing paint and other coatings from acrylic. Now you can stop pealing off all that paper and get back to designing you next masterpiece.

 

Jonathan Bowen

CorSec Engineering

www.corseceng.com

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