Angled cuts via engraving

I had an idea and wondered if anyone has ever seen angled miter joint type cuts created on a flat material using the laser to engrave the cut.

This would allow someone to essentially print all the parts of a low poly papercraft type model out of wood and carefully piece/glue them together at the correct angles.

Obviously the laser would have to be extremely well calibrated to the substrate being cut to allow for this accuracy in depth and engraving to create/simulate the “miter cut”.

This would certainly require some software ingenuity but I think it is in the realm of possibility. Thoughts?

(visual reference borrowed from Papertrophy’s Etsy page)


I have seen some pretty cool things done with jointry but as the Glowforge can only do a max thickness of 1.5 inches it would have to be a very small thing.

I would not want to create a solid object using this method, but rather a hollow object pieced together from individually printed pieces on say 1/8" or 1/4" wood.

I don’t know if, or how much, the Glowforge can cut an angle. Interesting idea though.

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I’ve been thinking/wondering about the same thing. I want to join two pieces of plywood at 60 degree angles using finger/box joints. It would take a bit of math on my part, but if they get the gradient engraving feature working well, then it could work by just adding a 100% black to white gradient across just the part of the material where I need the miter. Obviously something like the picture above would be a lot trickier, but doable, I think.

Of course speed would end up being a factor. It might end up being faster in my case to just cut right angles and sand down the excess, and live with the gabs on the inside of the finger joints.

It would certainly open up some exciting options, though.

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This might be a better visual example displaying what I would want to achieve–except with flush joints between the individual panels.


Well, it wouldn’t be as cool as the laser but you could always cut then sand the angle in.


I asked if there were plans for future upgrade for tilting the z-axis and other stuff. The answer was “No removable bottom, rotary axis, or tilting z to announce yet.” It should be possible for them to provide tilting z as an upgrade: lets hope they do when they get production figured out.

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If my trig is right given the .25" max cut depth, and 1.5" maximum focus area. Assuming you could prop things up you could get a max piece length of under 2.5" on a 60 degree angle really just not a lot to work with.

I think he more realistically is asking for a gradient based cut, gradually increasing the power from 0-max % need for that material that way artificially cutting the material at an angle. They hope to have 3d engraving working soon and I would expect this to be possible but do not know how accurate/smooth the finish will be


Yes, that’s exactly what I was going for. Very well worded.


The max depth of the bed, if you take out the honeycomb, is 1.5 inches. So propping something thin up to get an angle would be possible that way.

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Assuming all your angles are matched to standard router V bits, cut your pieces then add the bevel on a router table. Will save you a lot of time and produce more consistent results.


I suppose a reasonable halfway house would be to cut the material to the outline with the Glowforge and to engrave the inner line to use as a sanding/planing mark. that way you would have a very accurate cut and a marked line to be able to trim each piece to accurate angles with your favourite sander, planer etc.

I love that Rhino! I am trying to persuade Mrs The Wife to allow me to build an F1 car at about the size :wink:


YES! - This is a perfect example of how we should think of Glowforge as ONE of our tools - not THE only tool.


That is very well, if you happen to have a shop with multiple tools. I would love one but GF is going to be my primary tool and I will have very limited access to other tools, I would love a router or CNC mill :smiley:, maybe in time.


What I have been thinking about is the Roubo Bookstand . The GF can do lots of the cutting and especially the ornaments. Still some chisel work and the final slice with a veneer saw.

Dan mentioned a workaround that may work , but won’t know how to make one until the unit arrives.
"Although I must recommend against it for safety reasons, opening the lower door in front and overriding the safety interlocks by placing magnets against the sensors would not void your warranty.

The slot in the back, however, doesn’t have a corresponding door."

A sled to hold the piece at the correct angle for chamfering could be built, but it probably wouldn’t be effective for anything greater than 1/8" thick material, given the 1/4" max cut depth. You could slide the assembly into the front side of the GF if the laser can get close enough to the front edge of the cabinet to do a “trim” of the piece. I would definitely recommend getting the correct laser safety glasses before trying it though!

Find your local Fab Lab or makerspace. They should have a variety of tools that you can use affordably. They may even have a GF!

I have tried laser cut mitre joints before. I put the wood in at a slight angle to create the joint. You can only cut in straight lines this way or you lose the focal point (I guess with the glowforge it would refocus a little bit)

I considered doing it with engraving but engraving is very slow and time consuming so unless the glowforge makes some serious steps towards 3D engraving it’s not going to be very practical. We can all hope though.

I used it to make a series of polyhedra (because my jig was good for cutting one specific angle)