Awards for Educational Excellence

Monday night my Wife says “I’ll be back in a little while.” I say “Okay. Where ya goin’?” She says “I’m just going to buy the teachers end of school gifts. Bottles of wine I’m thinking.” I say “You’re going to… buy gifts?” She says “Well we should have thought about making things over the weekend but I didn’t think about it and last day of school is tomorrow. Do you really think you can whip something up tonight?” I say “Well, how many teachers?” She says “Five. Katie’s got 2 and Andy’s got 3.” I say “Yes.”

So I talk to the kids about it. Katie says “Can’t we just buy gifts like normal people? Making things is so personal!” Andy says “But we’re not normal people. We have a laser.” Katie says “Then you guys can design whatever you want and it’ll be fine with me.” So Andy and I have a quick conversation about making “an award” for them and come up with the wording for it. And this is how they turned out:

That’s :proofgrade: Thick Glass Acrylic fixed to :proofgrade: Thick Walnut Plywood. The base was also Thick Walnut Plywood with a slot engraved for the award to rest in. The award is fixed to the base with a little glue. I must say, that’s the first time I’d used the Glass Acrylic. It really is as awesome as I expected it to be. Looks just like glass only you can use it in your :glowforge: and cut it and engrave it as acrylic and doesn’t have the unnecessary weight of glass.

You may notice the logo up top. I asked Andy if he wanted any sort of design somewhere on the award… a book, a picture of a school or something. He says “I want you to design me a logo. If you were going to design me a logo, what would it look like.” I said “Andy… I’m not a designer. I’m not a graphical artist.” But he insists. So, in a minute or two I whipped up an Andy A… logo. To my surprise, he loved it and said we absolutely had to use it. So we did.

You may also notice the white discoloration around the upper-right standoff. Well, that’s because it’s not really a standoff. Did you know they don’t sell those things anywhere? We went to Michael’s, Home Depot, Lowes, and A. C. Moore. Nada. So we’re screwed, right? Andy asks “Can’t we just make them?” And I explain how they work and everything and say “No. We’d need to make screw threads and… well… wait… what if we didn’t make actual standoffs. What if we just made acrylic ‘spacers’ instead and glued them on and we’d cover up the glue with the spacers?” So that’s what we did. They all turned out great, except my Wife got a little generous with the glue on a couple of them and that was it… there was no getting it off no matter how we tried. So I still think the makeshift standoff concept is sound. Just need to be careful when using it.

Bottom line? The teachers were blown… away! The principal said “This is without a doubt one of the top 3 gifts I’ve gotten in my entire career.”


I like the “A”…ya done good! :grinning:


Thanks for the whole story – what a treat!


Nice work Tom! I like your Son’s thinking.

Would a “normal” person pay $2000 to a start-up and wait 2 years for their prize? :no_mouth:
You did “just” buy something. Something that enables you to bang out a personalized gift that stands well above a mass produced trinket.
Well Done Sir. :sunglasses:


I’m guessing these are what kept you up the other night when the GF stopped playing nice. Great job getting them done - there was no way the teachers wouldn’t like these!


Good guess. Yes. This whole project (5 awards) could have been engraved, cut, and assembled in ~1 hour if my 'forge didn’t bail on me right before making the bases. Luckily, when I woke up Tuesday morning (after getting ~3.5 hours sleep) it powered up perfectly and I engraved and cut all of the bases in mere minutes.


Fun story! His logo is totally awesome! A very nice thank you for their teachers! Seriously … these are important people, they deserve it! Very kind of you.


Great story. Great work.

Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe I guess about glass.

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Wonderful awards! I love the story that goes with them, and so glad they were so well received. I’m already starting to get the eyeroll when I trot out a newly lasered gift for some family members. We just have to expand our horizons!


Yeah what’s with that anyway? What… If you spend time making something perfect for somebody, it’s not as good as if you spent money on something less personal?


I’ve scrubbed some glue seepage with toothpaste. It didn’t ALL come off, but it smoother and shined it a little bit, so it wasn’t quite as bad. Probably some acrylic polishing compound would work better, but I haven’t gotten around to getting any of that yet.

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Great job…and write up. “Off the shelf” doesn’t compare to custom and personalized. Especially when it’s from the heart. :sunglasses:

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Great story, well done. It looks reaaly nice. Do you mind to share the setting that you used to get this result.

They appear to have simply used Glowforge material, so they most likely just used Glowforge default settings for that material.

If not, they could not be discussed in this forum section, only Beyond the Manual. It’s in the terms of signing up here.

If you would like information on operation beyond what is covered by the manual, you may discuss it in the “Beyond the Manual” section, and only in that section. Note that that section of the forum may contain information that is incorrect and may violate your warranty, damage your Glowforge, and cause injury or death. That is the only place for discussion of topics like:

  • Manual settings for materials
  • Modifying your Glowforge unit
  • Third party add-ons