Cutting a stack of cardstock

Follow up question: fastest way to put out a glowforge fire–just in case



sprayer full of water and a rag for something you catch in time.

beyond that, a halotron fire extinguisher to save your house.

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With your tears.



Please let us know how it works out and, what you do, if you try cutting stacks.

I have been cutting my kirigami stuff in single layers. Though, I do gang as many as possible onto each sheet.

I know some of the industrial paper cutting services (e.g., Lasercraft) have some method (using industrial laser equipment) for cutting stacks.

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I don’t ndr stand why everyone is worried about stacked paper and fire. Have you actually tried burning a book. It’s harder than you think…

Results of early testing, reported directly to Glowforge. (And yes, it was tested.)

The Glowforge team puts the warnings out there for a reason, not because they like typing things up, and not because they want to crimp anyone’s fun. If they tell you it’s dangerous, it’s because it’s dangerous. There have been several instances now of people who have either ignored the warnings, or didn’t bother to read them in the first place, resulting in melted machines.

Don’t be surprised if your luck runs out one day with the paper stacking. I hope you don’t take your eyes off of it for a second when you do it.

You run a pretty high risk of setting a fire trying to do that.

Here’s what will happen…the very strong air assist is going to catch and blow out the top layers of teeny tiny cutout bits, which are not secured to each other, and blow them all over the machine, into the path of the beam where they will become flying flaming bits that wind up in the exhaust fan, and into the layers where they will let air in between the layers to feed the fire.

Get a Seklema mat, and cut them one at a time. You have to anchor paper down, all of it. :slightly_smiling_face:


In a fire, yeah. But with a laser beam? That’s kind of a whole different thing. :wink:


The problem is that you end up at odds with what you’re trying to accomplish. Cutting paper is a fairly delicate process that can quickly go from great results to junk results. The more paper you stack, the more power is required. At the least, you’re going to need a sacrificial top layer and probably a sacrificial bottom layer.

Depending on your card stock, you might not experience consistent results depending on how thick it is. Wood and acrylic do a good job of reflecting the beam inside the cutting path. I’m not so sure about paper (yes, I’m aware of what paper is made from)? Any minute gap in the paper assembly will probably serve to let the beam spread immediately.

If it were me, I would experiment with it, but I would keep an eagle eye on it and be prepared for it to go bad. If it were very thick stuff, like 10mil, I would do no more than 2 sheets. I’d also figure out settings that were fast and lower power (not FULL power!), and do it in 2 passes, at least.


If you have decent-sized stock to start with, you should be able to do 10-30 at a time, which is not that bad.

The other thing I would do for a job like this is convert the cut to an engrave (just of the dark lines that make up your edges) That way the head moves at constant speed and you don’t get overburning in the tight corners. You still cut through, just one raster line at a time. (And with really complicated vectors I’ve found that the time can be comparable.)

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I don’t know about the fire, but your book burning just gave me an entirely new idea!!! :slight_smile:

Depending on the stack thickness and how fine the details, seems to me focus could be an issue because the beam diverges below point of focus

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Just engraved a vintage book of poems (to be used as a prop in photo shoots—or perhaps it becomes a cool gift idea as well)
A little issue with the book cloth wanting to pop off the book board – not quite sure how I will adjust for that, but very happy with the result overall

---- thanks for the inspiration @geek2nurse


It seems the accepted wisdom is that it is not best practice to cut stacked paper.

There have not been multiple documented examples of people testing this out with different parameters. My guess is that you could find a way to do it with certain conditions, most important, as folks have said, is making sure there are not gaps between layers that the air assist can riffle through and cause a flare up.

Try it with small stacks that are tight and watch carefully. Note what design parameters affect the outcome. So cutting a straight line X might give a different result than a Y axis cut. Cutting tight radii might make a difference.

And we might need to move this to Beyond the Manual.


FWIW, i think you just need to find the engrave level that doesn’t make it through the fabric. the areas that pop off are very small and there’s no way to have enough adhesive behind that to hold it on. or else you’ll need to use some sort of a coating over all of it, and i don’t think you’ll like that effect as much.

it looks pretty cool, though.


If you use a much lower power, you’ll get just bleaching of the fabric and it’ll stay put very nicely.

This one was a little too light, but you get the idea.

ETA: Every book is different, lots of cover-to-cover variation, and some with better adhesive than others. You may have better (or worse) luck just by using a different book.


Orrrrr I could just use my UV printer instead :joy::rofl:

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welp - that settles that…not really worth the risk

but I do want to add that construction paper is far different than cardstock. What I would be using would have a finish and much heavier weight.

I would totally use construction paper to start a bonfire.



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