Clock Dials pattern material?

I am trying to research the best material to use to attempt to get the patterns on watch/clock dials.

This is an example. I am very new to this, but I am not sure what would work, or if it is even possible.
Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated.



1 Like

i’m not exactly sure what you’re looking to do here. but if it helps at all, the dial texture like that on a watch is called a Guilloche.


That helps! I am learning these things. So I am looking to use the laser to make the Guilloche. I like that word…Guilloche…

The French terms are always so much nicer… in plain english, it’s “machine turning”. High end work includes enameling over top (Faberge is the best examples of this type of work).

Though GF can’t work with metals to get this pattern, but you should be able to replicate the designs (reasonably so) on the materials we can use safely (for ourselves & the GF).

What material do you think would work best with Glowforge to make the design?

I’d first try it on maple ply–not a fan of extensive etching on mdf (very messy), but is a a cheaper option to test it out. And acrylic would likely produce a really cool effect–especially edge lit, and may show the 3D engraving option off better!

There are other threads about using metals–you have to coat with something like Cermark (which is not cheap). Anodized aluminum may be a great option for this, too (but I’d first test/perfect the pattern on wood or acrylic).

Great thoughts. I will try the acrylic. I am expecting my machine in the next two weeks.

Thanks so much,


As everyone else above has said, Guilloche or the Rose Engine is a specific type of lathe for cutting designs into metal dials.

As a watch tech myself, here is what I plan on experimenting with when my Pro and Filter arrive:
Mother Of Pearl
Anodized aluminum
wood of different types and thicknesses.

Now… for watch faces you can get special plates to add a THIN dial material onto it. The plate has the dial feet already arranged for a specific watch movement. I would also be careful of the thickness of the dial overall to give enough clearance for the hands to sweep correctly.

If you are going for a clock, there is a LOT more tolerance for thickness of materials, and clock movements range from “Hobby” to professional in quality and cost. It just depends on what you are looking for and what you are willing to spend.

I would be glad to help answer any questions on horology that I can.

1 Like

Thanks for those thoughts. We will have to keep in touch about what we find that works.
You mentioned the “Filter”. What is that?
I am super excited to see how the Mother Of Pearl turns out.
I was planning on layering acrylic/aluminum/ and Flexibass materials to add depth and effects.
I am also super pumped to learn all these new words…Horology.


FYI The link that displays when you click on your icon does not load. I was hoping to view some of your design work.

BlockquoteYou mentioned the “Filter”. What is that?

It’s the air filter that goes under the Glowforge. As far as Mother Of Pearl (MOP) goes, it is… sensitive… you will burn and ruin more MOP than you get right… the settings have to be very specific. I don’t know what the setting are yet, since I’m still waiting.

Sorry… I’m reworking my website and havn’t finished anything. Hopefully I’ll get something going soon on that.

1 Like

I think that if you are new to all this that you start to study Gimp and Inkscape and see what patterns you can manage. A hard line pattern in Inkscape could be smoothed in Gimp before going back to Inkscape to be engraved in the Glowforge.

The image you will want will be in black to white grey-scale that black will be deep and white will be high and the various grays in-between. Done on a black Acrylic it would have what you are looking for,

As for the Mother-of-pearl there are many Acrylics that might be a better material as they look a lot like the shell and would be much more amenable to the Glowforge.

Unless you already are skilled in Inkscape and Gimp, I would be working there to build that skill before you need to have it already with a Glowforge waiting for your work output. :upside_down_face:

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.