How to Use Your Glowforge Without the Crumb Tray
Other types include fine paper, art paper, construction paper, and mat board. When laser cutting and engraving paper, it is important to monitor the process closely as it can catch fire easily with the wrong settings. Cost Saving Applications As mentioned in the chart above, there are many different things you can do with a laser and some paper.
With a little creative thinking, you can actually use paper to save a lot of money on packaging materials. Basic earring cards can add up quickly. Custom earring cards are even more costly. This breaks down to about 13 cents per card. This breaks down to about 0. If you are interested in more information on how to make earring cards, check out this tutorial.
Boxes Another way to save money by laser cutting paper is by making small boxes. This can be useful for those who sell jewelry or other small items.
A simple box with a lid can be constructed out of 2 pieces of laser cut cardstock. A small mailer box can be made from 1 piece. This is usually much cheaper than buying them premade. The list could go on for quite some time if you compare the costs of invitations, greeting cards, price tags, business cards, and much more.
Settings to Cut, Score, and Engrave Paper With a Laser As with any material you plan on processing with a laser, finding the right settings or settings analysis as I like to call it is essential to achieving the desired outcome. Because most paper products are so thin, they usually only require a fraction of the input settings when compared to harder and thicker materials.
Oversights can result in burn marks, complete burn through, or fires! CNC laser cutter engravers vary in features, software, and wattage.
This means settings found on the internet may not work for your laser, although they can potentially give you a good starting point to find yours. Finding the Right Settings In order to find the appropriate settings for cutting, scoring, and engraving paper with a laser, a few tests should be done.
The process can be done in many ways and should be redone for any change in the paper type, especially for thickness and weight. It can feel like a tedious process but the process will improve your knowledge, skills, and help you save time with future projects. Below, you will find some basic steps on how I found desirable settings using my Glowforge. Keep in mind that although these instructions are made for the Glowforge software, the concepts can be applied to other laser software.
Laser Engrave Paper Step 1: Create a test matrix. This is a simple set of squares or boxes with different shades of fills. For Glowforge users, each shade of fill within the square is recognized as a separate function by the software allowing you to change the settings for each individual square. Here is an example of a test matrix. The numeric order of operation is shown below. Step 2: Save your test matrix in an SVG format so it can be used in future projects. Some projects may require the entire matrix, others may only require a few squares.
Having more squares gives you the opportunity to evaluate the effect of various power adjustments in one pass. Increasing the power beyond an upper threshold will result in total destruction of the cardstock. In other words, there will be less settings to test so the settings analysis process will require less squares. For the cardstock engraving test, I only used the first 5 boxes in the top 2 rows.
Step 3: Select the uncertified material tab in top left and enter your material thickness. The cardstock I am using is about 0. Step 4: Starting at the top, enter your engrave settings using the manual tab. This is where some internet research for basic ballpark settings could help.
I started with Speed: and Power: 25 for box 1. The focus height was left at 0. I dropped the power by 5 for each column to the right so my preprint settings looked like this: After starting the laser engraving paper test, I almost immediately aborted because the power was set too high. As a result, the laser was burning all the way through the paper during the box 1 engraving. I decreased the power only, so my new settings were: These settings ended up being too weak.
At this point, I left the power settings but adjusted the LPI to and The results were slightly better but it was obvious more power was needed. I continued to change the settings until I found some that worked. Here are a few of my results: I found the best results when setting the Power: and LPI: or I ended up leaving the Speed at but you could continue testing if you wanted to adjust it.
Glowforge has a great article on working with the manual mode. It discusses potential effects that result from changing various parameter settings. Step 5: Continue multiple laser engrave paper tests until you are satisfied with your results. Make sure you record your settings so you can easily recall them for future projects. Laser Cut Paper Settings analysis for cutting and scoring are a breeze compared to engraving in my opinion.
Step 1: Use 5 boxes in a row from the test matrix. Change the fill to stroke color only. Size the boxes to 1 x 1 inch. Step 2: Plug in some initial test settings. Here is what I used: Step 3: Assess your results.
Boxes 1 and 2 did not cut all the way through. Boxes 3 and 4 did cut through but required some tear out by hand. Box 5 cut all the way through without issues. Step 4: Make changes and rerun the test if needed. Record your results for future use.
Laser Score Paper For scoring, I used two different test files to evaluate the settings. One is a simple rectangle containing 5 different colored parallel lines, evenly spaced. The other is 5 different colored spiral lines. I used the rectangle file to test the folding ability of the score line settings and the spirals to evaluate the score line settings for curvatures. Step 1: Enter your initial settings for the straight lines in the rectangle. Make sure you also add settings to cut the rectangle out.
Use the same settings for the spiral lines. Here is what my test files look like: Step 2: Run the test and evaluate the results. At power 5 and 10, the paper would not bend. Power 15 bent with a fair amount of force. Power 20 and 25 made the best fold but power 25 thinned the paper too much. Results from setting the power to 20 for the spiral lines also seemed to be the best.
Anything less resulted with a faded appearance. Anything more resulted with areas of burn. Step 3: Same as before, rinse and repeat if needed. After you find what you like, record your final settings. Tips for Using Paper to Laser Engrave, Cut, and Score Now that you should be able to find some settings of your own, here are a few tips to consider: Use magnets or honeycomb pins to hold the paper in place.
Use a spreadsheet like Google Sheets to keep a running log of all your final settings from any type of material. Over time, this will become a valuable asset. Evaluate the back of the paper during the tests as well. Sometimes burn marks can only be seen on the back.
Never leave your laser unattended during operation, especially when processing paper. It can easily catch on fire. There are multiple ways to find laser settings. Do not feel obligated to use the methods above. Hopefully, this article will guide you through the process of using paper to laser engrave, cut, and score. If you would like to see any other tutorials or have any questions, shoot us an email at answer jackforge.
Happy laser crafting!
Tutorial: How to Create and Save Custom Glowforge Settings
Leave a reply My friend asked me the other day if I had my word of the year picked out yet. I honestly had not even though about it because I had been so busy, but last night as I was waiting for the ball to drop on tv, I contemplated and made a list of words that I could use.
There are lots and well, I tried to pick one but several spoke to me. Here is what I did….. I also ended up engraving the rest of the words onto a round cutout. And then I added to the back. I guess that makes Dedication my word of the year this year. The good thing is that I can be dedicated to all of the other words! I can be dedicated to Determination and Motivation. I can be dedicated to being present with my family and putting away the phone or iPad.
I can be dedicated to worshipping and growing my faith. I can be dedicated to Happiness and being courageous, to hope and love and being passionate.
I can be dedicated to be confident and committed and having patience. I can be dedicated to appreciating more and having a happy heart and being grateful! I did realize after making this list that I forgot some words. A big one I forgot is fitness! Just for kicks today, I made this little Happy New Year piece. But to be honest, I was just trying out some settings on the Glowforge for Walnut Hardwood! On to the Glowforge. I decided to make a business decision in November to purchase the Glowforge Pro.
I still love my Inventables X-Carve, but man the Glowforge is amazing and can do so much! The younger Berry boys were super excited, with the older one thinking of business ideas for himself. I have made lots of lots of items on the Glowforge in the month that I have had it.
I mean, LOTS! I have spent hours and hours upstairs yes, we put it upstairs! I put a gift card to my favorite coffee shop in it and then added it to a coffee mug filled with chocolates! She loved it! Most of my hours at the Glowforge have been making ornaments! I had so much fun personalizing them!
I found some of the files on Etsy, and I have created some of my own, but I will be creating more of my own files in the New Year! The next three photos are collages of ornaments that I made! Some were gifts and some were orders! I am very thankful for all of the orders that I have received and look forward to future orders!
In the new year, I will be putting together a new online shop, blogging more and creating on the Glowforge and the X-Carve too! I hope everyone has a Happy New Year filled with great health and happiness! Until next time…….
Glowforge Functions and Settings
Glowforge Basic Power and Speed Settings
It's not until you outline the stroke that you'll be able to maintain the varying widths that were assigned to the design. Score and Typefaces If you have a project with a lot of text, the engrave time can get overwhelming, and converting to Score instead of Engrave is often the approach people take to cut down on time.
More about Single Line in a moment It's up to you if the scored look will work for your project instead of engraved. I find that I would usually rather have the longer laser time with a true engrave, but I do use score when possible to save a bit of time. Single line fonts are a special typeface that instead of creating filled or outlined shapes, they are actually fonts that are made with a single line, so the Score function is able to make the complete letter with just one pass.
The two Single Line fonts above are both from Dear Agathawhich can be purchased here. If you use this typeface, be sure to set it to a stroke not fill and convert to outlines to turn it into shaped lines instead of editable text. Other fun single line fonts are CallinePinsetter and Mugsy Sketch. Power actually controls the strength of the laser beam; think of a light that's on a dimmer switch.
How to Cut, Score, and Engrave Paper With a Laser
You can turn it up or down. Speed is how quickly the laser head moves, so when you're engraving, it's the actual left to right speed of the print head.
When these things combine, that's where you can tweak settings for your specific project. Mixing power levels of engraves can be a great way to create depth and interest to your design. The discount will be reflected at checkout after you add machine to your cart.
Inventables Community Forum
Please don't hesitate to email me or ping me on Instagram if you have any questions! I love my Glowforge and love sharing about it with people! While the Glowforge has some minor downsides, including a wifi only connection and minimal design controls on its web interface, the quality of output is phenomenal in its detail. These sheets wood, acrylic, veneer are available in different styles, cut sizes, and thicknesses. They include a mask that helps to avoid getting a burn on the surface of the material.
Peel off the mask, peel off the burn. While the results are terrific, the ongoing costs associated with proofgrade materials can be prohibitive. One inexpensive and reasonable solution to replace proofgrade materials is to use birch plywood, available in bulk from Amazon. However, what you gain in cost, you lose in quality.
How to Make Wood Earrings with Glowforge
The birch plywood surface can be uneven, and the boards themselves are often warped. There is an added challenge to the current set up, which is alignment, or misalignment.
It also makes it harder to predict what the result will look like. This misalignment happens regardless of what material you have placed in the bed. SOLUTIONS In working through a current project for a colleague, I discovered through the Glowforge Community boards that instead of proofgrade materials, you could purchase near equivalent wood sheets online from Home Depotat a much lower cost, in some cases a fifth of the price. The choices range from Maple to Walnut, to Red Oak, all materials for which the Glowforge app already provides cut and engrave settings.