Can you mask paper?

@Dan, anyone tried using the stick on masking to mask paper, so the fumes don’t resettle on paper? Does the self-adhesive masking come back off of paper?


you often don’t need masking on thin paper since a low setting and the fan are generally enough to prevent discoloration. i’m not sure about materials that gf contracts to produce but you could for sure put some masking on yourself; just need to be careful removing it. i personally probably wouldn’t bother unless it was at least as thick as cardstock.


I recall reading somewhere here that they won’t be recommending anything thinner than lightweight cardstock. I forget the reason why… blowing away… fire. Something that makes it so it won’t yield desired result.

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yeah, paper like copy paper will be thin enough that it could be blown away and theoretically cause a fire. but there are also legitimate uses for it, so if you’re careful you can use it fine.


I don’t think it will need masking, but I need to run a few more tests to make sure.

So far, paper is really dry, unlike woods which have a lot of resins in them, and you burn through it really fast…so the paper doesn’t get a lot of gunk build-up on it. That gunky residue from woods and leather is what seems to stink.

The light ash from the paper gets blown away pretty fast by the air assist.

And you can cut through really light paper if you tape it down on all four sides to the grid. (I did that with the Origami paper.)

I haven’t done a lot of paper experimenting yet, (just a couple of accidents), but that’s coming up pretty soon. I had another idea I wanted to test.


The copier paper I’ve run discolors at the edges on min power max speed.


What power/speed are you using? (I’ve only cut through paper accidentally at this point, so l could use some starting points.)

There is a paper masking tape available by the roll which could be used if needed, it’s really low tack, but the stuff is pricey for paper use.

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Are you using the defaults or over-riding manually?


Not sure I understand. There are no proofgrade/default settings for paper. 1%,197ipm is the min power, max speed the glowforge will go when cutting.

Video here:


Yeah, but it engraves at 335. Just use the engrave setting to cut through the paper.


I’m heading out the door but I can give it a try when I get back. The papers I tried (watercolor paper, .02") and card stock (.008") did a pretty good job from the front (esp the watercolor paper) but both were discolored on the back.

I have some paper masking I can try, to mask the back.


You could I guess, that’ll turn that 2 minute cut into a 30+ min engrave. Not sure how clean the edges will be though. Still might be too much power.

Dan said new power settings will be out soon, so maybe that’ll belay the need for running it as an engrave. I’m hoping faster speeds too. Running a vector cut as an engrave is weird.

Luckily I have another laser that’ll run fast enough to do copy paper & foam. Its pretty crazy the power difference between the two on the low end. I can dial the k40 waaaaay down to barely enough power to even heat up the surface of the foam. thats partly due to speed though.

Heres to hoping the new power settings will broaden our capabilities


I know. The poor blue beast takes a lot of grief but it can do some stuff awfully well :slight_smile:


Yeah, longer processing time is the trade-off. :disappointed:

I’ll bet the 197 hard limit can be reset down the road though, and like dan said a while back, they haven’t even given us the lowest settings yet to play with.

(Downside to being a pre-releaser. You wind up having to relearn the rules a few times.)


I’d also imagine that thin, light paper would more easily get sucked up by the airflow and most of the way into the filter. If that happens in enough quantity, it could result in a blocked filter, creating a safety concern that both reduces the air pressure and lets fumes build up in the hopper.


True, but I know Dan stated somewhere that if the exhaust is blocked, the unit will simply not function.


can install some screening in the unit to catch paper pieces lol

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It’ll supposedly shut off if it acts as designed, yes, but until it’s actually tripped you have ‘reduced functionality’.

I can use a shopvac to suck up a pile of sand, but should I? Or should I use a shovel and tidy up with the shopvac after?

I would love to see the results of your paper experiments if you have time to post!