When I first got the glowforge I hoped to be able to use it on canvas that I’d painted to make collage effects. Unfortunately, burning heavy metal pigments is apparently frowned upon, so I’ve been experimenting with switching the process around.
This is a portrait of John Coltrane. Cut the parts, painted them and glued them atop a background that was also cut.
I’m still learning the best way from preventing the fans from disturbing the material during the cut. Magnets help, but I’ve also found using masking tape to secure the edges so air doesn’t get under the piece helps.
Another trick I’ve learned on things like the background that are made of hundreds of pieces that would fall apart on their own it to cut them on a piece of draftboard, then when they’re done cutting use overlapping swaths of masking tape to hold all the pieces in place. You can then remove them all at once. After that you can take individual pieces off and paint them before returning them to the proper spot. When you’re done glue the canvas side down to a support. Let it dry and remove safely remove the tape. (Obviously the front side is the part facing the tape)
Those look great! (If you’re going to be cutting a lot of fabrics, paper or other lightweight materials - look into using either a Seklema mat or make your own for use in the laser. It holds the fabric or paper down until you remove it - similar to digital cutter cutting mats.)
I’m brand new and trying to cut canvas circles. Can you tell me some good settings for non-standard materials? It’s a cotton duck canvas. I’ve got one pass cued up but it says it will take 13 minutes which seems waaaaay too long (I’ve done this on other lasers, took 4 minutes for an entire sheet of circles.) I’m a bit worried if I hit print it will do something awful.
If you are cutting something that takes 15 minutes to process, i assume it’s fairly detailed, correct?
You absolutely need to have that canvas stuck down on something that will keep the little bits from flying around in the machine…they can catch fire and wind up in your exhaust fan and that can mess it up. Make sure you are using a Seklema mat or you can create your own with some repositionable spray adhesive on a sheet of scrap plywood. But make sure you secure that canvas, including the little cutouts.
Yes it can create a real problem. Anything lightweight enough to blow around in the air assist has to be secured.
Thank you so much for answering! This first test was just a plain, 2 inch circle, no design. I’ve done this successfully on other laser cutters, so I was assuming it would work on the glowforge. I will definitely get a Seklema mat for detailed designs, and the homemade one sounds great too.
Yes, it was set to engrave, but the “cut” setting is grayed out, won’t let me cut for this. The error message says it’s unable to cut for this. I’ve checked with the help desk. It may be that it’s too thin? The help desk mentioned it might be a bug in the software, unable to read the thin material. I’m curious though, because I’ve seen people cut paper here. Perhaps they’re using the mat?
Thank you! I have tons of magnets, fantastic idea. Which thickness did you use for canvas? I keep getting messages that say it needs to be less than .5 with the tray in and 1.5 - 2 with tray in. I put in .1 - rather randomly, but it’s just canvas. I’ve tried different widths.