Our acrylic sheet products come paper and plastic masked- why the difference? For some acrylic sheets the plastic masking is easier on the manufacturers. Because many of our specialty acrylic sheets are so unique, we prefer to leave the clear plastic in case our earring or sign makers need to arrange their files based on the look of the acrylic.
We do offer the upgrade option to paper mask these. We use an industrial sign supply paper masking and run through our cold press machine to make sure there is a smooth adhesion!
If you'd rather skip that, there are other options available. Painters tape makes a great masking for wood and acrylic sheets, and is something many people keep on hand! Long term and overall it is probably not as cost effective, but if you aren't sure if you'd like to add paper masking to your acrylic sheets yet, or just dipping your toes in, or maybe realize you need paper masking but don't have paper masking, its a great stand in!
You'll also hear a lot of people talk about the dish soap method and the paper towel method. They're both pretty simple.
For the dish soap method you'll remove the plastic masking and apply a thin layer of dish soap to your acrylic sheet. You can use your hand to smooth it on, or a paintbrush or dish sponge. Dish soap is a natural flame retardant and it will help with flashback and char. Once you're done lasering throw your acrylic in the sink and give it a good rinse!
The paper towel method is to simply put a damp (not soaking wet!) paper towel underneath your acrylic- between the bed and the acrylic. I've had really good success with this method on mirrors as well.
Lately, with the addition of our thunder laser and the added air options, I don't generally need any of these, just raise the acrylic off the bed with some scraps on the edges and center and cut. While the Glowforge is a great machine, an industrial laser like Thunder can make a world of difference!