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Removing protective paper
Removing protective paper

What's the easiest way to do it?

Dayma Otene avatar
Written by Dayma Otene
Updated over a week ago

If you've recently received laser cut parts in the mail, you will have noticed a paper covering the materials.  

This is used to protect the material from scratches and burn marks when being cut.

Some materials such as black and white acrylic will have paper on both sides as that's how it comes from the manufacturer and some will just have it applied to the back as that's where the harsh burning can occur. Occasionally plastic film rather than paper masking will be used also.

Here is an example of what the paper can look like (it also comes in white which can look quite similar to the material before being peeled off).

This paper masking layer will need to be peeled off to reveal your final finished parts.

Some cleaning products can scratch or weaken materials such as acrylic, so we'd recommend gentle products such as soapy water over most cleaning sprays.

Here are a couple of videos that offer some tips for removing the paper masking off acrylic.

Helpful feedback we've had from customers: 

Chris Aykroid said:

I have found that starting the paper by pulling a little off on an edge and , depending on the size, using a round object like a dowel or pencil, (for smaller projects), all the way up to a cardboard core, (for larger projects), and simply roll it off...without the use of any solvents at all.

Chris Aykroid-The Orion Group

Jonathan Bowen from CorSec Engineering said:

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.

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
Brake Fluid

David Barak said: 

I found a reliable way to do this, although it still takes a slight bit of fingernail work to get the paper off - not nearly as difficult as untreated paper though.

You'll need a couple of exotic ingredients:

Heated "universal" solvent (hot tap water)

Emulsifier (liquid dish detergent)

Let your parts soak overnight. The paper swells a bit which allows you to get a much better "bite" on the paper when you pick at it. In fact, the detergent may not be needed now that I think about it, the water alone may be enough.

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