Can the glowforge etch a gemstone?

qa

#1

I’m expecting my glowforge in december and a lot of my customer’s are already asking what I can do with it. But I’m stumped on this one.
Specifically, I was asked if the Glowforge can etch in Goldstone. Which technically is glass apparently, and not a natural stone.
But I also want to try natural quartz and amethyst myself.

Anyone know if this is possible?


#2

This forum has a really useful search function.



#3

One of those doesn’t have an answer because it’s asking about quartz glass and etching inside of it. The other just contains links to more topics. Not sure you looked at the topics you directed me to. And you could stand to be a little more polite. This forum is not arranged like any other forum I’ve ever used and this is obviously my first time using it. I did look for other similar topics and only found one.


#4

I’m pretty sure @smcgathyfay did not mean to come across rude. She’s one of the most helpful people on here in my experience.

If I recall previous discussions the answer is probably not but we’ll have to wait till someone can put it in a laser and find out.


#5

It seems none of the other threads got much of an answer or were asking about very different stones. And googling was extremely unhelpful as well. Has no one stuck rocks in their lasers yet? I’m very disappointed in the world.


#6

Well @dan did etch a rock. but a gemstone is a different sort of mineral? I’m afraid I’m out of my depth here. But I think most gemstones were thought to be variants similar to glass and not allow the laser to penetrate, or like the minerals used in the windows protecting the laser tube and mirrors and just allow the laser to pass through.


#7

@Conquer3D Welcome to the community!
Please remember that we are all just trying to figure out answers to the same questions, but some of us have been reading these questions over and over for months.

CO2 lasers like the Glowforge can etch glass, at least to some degree.
If “Goldstone” is just colored or filled glass you should be able to do something to it, although you may or may not get results that are visually appealing. Your results will vary based upon the actual properties of the glass in question. Is it borosilicate? Soda lime? Fused silica? You are propbably going to have to experiment and see.

Personally I intend to try it when I get my own Glowforge, but I think there are better ways in the long run.


Other minerals will vary by composition. Quarts in all its forms is SiO2, and may also be etchable depending upon the power a Glowforge is able to produce. We will have to wait and see. Other stones are much different and hopefully you are willing to sacrifice a few so you can answer these questions for the rest of us! :slight_smile:

Sometimes you may find that a general search of the internet at large is better then restricting yourself to this forum. At its heart a Glowforge is just a CO2 laser.


#8

If I recall correctly, the metallic sheen in goldstone comes from adding copper to glass. I would think the glass part can be etched, but I’m not sure the copper will laser well without a higher power laser.


#9

My curiosity got the best of me.

I think I have some cabs of that stuff but never knew what it was.
Since the copper is internal to the glass, and the glass itself is opaque to the infrared laser, I bet it will “etch” without reflection.


#10

I was going to order some just to see if they would etch (don’t see why they wouldn’t) but my go-to place for quick delivery stuff doesn’t have any cabochons with prime shipping.