Cardstock Settings

Well I’ve done a lot with cardstock, and having done so, I have found some optimal settings. Obviously this is only the case with the specific type of cardstock I’ve been using, found here:

Fantastic stuff, if you’re able to find double thick cardstock, buy it! It’s about .017" measured by my calipers. The settings I’ve been using for engraving is:
Speed 675
Power 2
While for cutting I use:
Speed 500
Power 65

The engrave settings should work with most cardstock, it’s not really engraving so much as it’s burning the paper a little. It’s also important to note that these are optimal settings under the assumption that the optics of the machine are clean. If the engrave doesn’t turn out as good as you’d hoped, a second pass with the same settings help.

Here’s an example

The cuts are perfect for this thickness of paper, it leaves it slightly connected to the sheet, but it’s easily popped out, it also doesn’t leave any burn marks on the back which is a huge plus :slight_smile:

Update: I’ve noticed this still is being referred to now and again, so just wanted to add a couple of things. I didn’t mention it, but I use magnets to hold the paper down, just small flat disc ones. When engraving the paper, if the focus height is off, whether because the measurements are not precise, or because the paper isn’t completely flat, the engrave may not turn out as crisp.

The settings are most optimal when all of the lenses are clean (which is the case for any material :wink:), so just double check to make sure that you have a clean machine before dismissing the settings. It may be the difference of not cutting through and adding more power, then one day cleaning the machine, and using the same high power. Paper is obviously flammable, so use any of these settings, or tweaked settings, at your own risk.

Just be conscientious, and safe when working with new materials :grin:


pretty sure i have a small stack of that at work. time to play.


Thank you for this. I have yet to do much at all with paper, but hope to eventually. I’ll add this to my collection of settings.


I’ll add scoring settings for folding: 350/4/1x. Just enough to make folding really accurate and easy.

You can get cover stock (130-150lb weight) cardstock in … well, cover size. 11x17.

I recommend getting the bigger sheets, they’re almost perfect full sheet GF size. Everything I see on amazon is like 80 bucks for a 150 pack… I got mine at a local art store (Sam Flax ATL), you can buy them by the sheet, they come in tons of colors.

My masks were made from this sort of cardstock.


Living in Hawaii makes things rather inconvenient to find :frowning: I’ll have to look more closely next time I’m on the other side of the island, especially now that I know what I like. I had requested samples from those guys I ordered from so I knew at least this stuff would work. Thanks for those score settings, I’ll have to try them out sometime!

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Also, depending on the cardstock and the base color, you can sometimes get different effects depending on how much power you use for engraving. I find that 1000/1 or so can bleach instead of charring, so that you can get two or three effective colors.


Being a paper lover it is beyond me that I haven’t placed any in the Glowmeister! Appreciate your post!


Me too. I just ordered some 130# from Amazon to try out. Hoping it will further inspire me.


Who did those awesome cardstock leaves? I can’t find it now, but they engraved the veins of the leaves, it was a really cool effect.


Thanks for sharing! I’m going to be doing some Christmas cards on the Glowforge this year, and these settings will help a bunch!


I have used metallic (not foiled) cardstock, and used 1000/30 - 40 (I think it was) to get the etching that I wanted per the colors used (removed the top metallic finish, exposed the core stock).

And tested the setting for cutting until I was happy (forget what they were–I am :cat: impaired at the moment (full stretch out down my legs) and my notebook is upstairs.

So test a bit as may very due to manufacturer as well as by colors/finish for the look you want to get.


I ran a whole series of test squares on my cardstock, and there are still some combinations I didn’t get to. (One of the box stores sells stock with a different color on each side, and you can sorta kinda expose the second color with the right amount of etch.)

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I’ve played around with chipboard, which is similar, in an attempt to make some very detailed objects - example from a random pinterest pic.

One thing I’ve struggled with when using paper-based products is heat buildup and subsequent flashing/flaring so that fine detail is lost. I’ve played with many different settings in an attempt to work my way towards a reliable set but just when I think I’ve got it, I’ll try a more ambitious design and it loses detail in key areas again.

Obviously nobody is going to be able to share settings for the materials I am using, but wondering if anyone has ever come across a “flowchart” of how to inch up on the best results when dealing with combustable materials?


Thanks for the settings

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The problem here, in my experience, is that the curvier your design gets and the sharper the corners, the more the GF head slows down negotiating that path. So the speeds you get are not the speeds you set. And you can slow down and drop the power, but that only carries you so far. (Although I guess if you separated the design into curvy and non-curvy parts that might help).

The thing I’ve found to work sometimes is to convert to raster and engrave. You get a consistent speed that way, and detailed areas have time to cool down before the next pass. I think you lose on detail, and you usually lose on speed, but I haven’t done extensive testing.


I’ve also tried really intricate designs and had the paper be eaten by the tiny flames. I haven’t tried anything like that in a while, but when I do, I’ll be sure to post some more settings if I find a golden ratio :+1:t3: