Is it possible to cut slabs of fully dry air dry clay?
Fast answer: I have no idea.
But some thoughts that pop up:
“Slab” sounds thick. How thick a slab are you talking? I would have to guess the laser couldn’t make it too far in. I bet you could etch it pretty well.
Knowing your materials is super important as some things, when lasered, like to kill you or your Forge or both. Clay itself I don’t think causes any issue (it’s just wet rock, right? said the computer programmer) but I’d want to be sure there wasn’t anything tricky mixed in there.
“Air Dry” as opposed to kiln dry, I guess you mean? That would make me wonder if there could be some little wet pockets just below the surface and, when they are super heated by a laser, could they react … energetically? With shrapnel?
I’m very curious about the answers you get from someone who knows anything about clay.
Also: welcome to the community! It’s a fun place.
What type of clay? Earthen or polymer?
I have been wanting to try engraving green clay ever since I bought the Glowforge. Might want to roll facial tissue top and bottom to hold the material together. At 800 degrees or so dry mud becomes ceramic and if wet the dry mud becomes wet mud and washes away, ceramic will stay ceramic for millions of years. this is very different than engraving rocks as afterwards they just stay being rocks.
I am not sure the ceramic will stay ceramic without shattering but I have plans for a thousand designs if it did survive,
If you do try it please let us all know how it went.
No idea about safe laserability but, paper clay might also be worth considering. It’s an air dry clay that is primarily cellulose. So, it might laser well.
Well I ask because polymer clay is often pvc which you shouldn’t ever cut/engrave. It’ll damage your machine.