Cutting Paper Advice?

Take a piece of plywood and spray it with repositionable adhesive. Under heavy use a Seklema mat may be cheaper in the long run, IDK, but I know how budgets work and the plywood sprayed with a tacky spray will be better in a spreadsheet.

While they are still very useful, they are not as necessary as they once were. Click on the gear icon and use the Set Focus feature.


As this is being used in a school environment, while you must watch the laser teach the kids not to stare at the bright white flame where laser meets material. It probably won’t do any permanent damage, but after oohing and aahing a couple times don’t stare at that part.

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Can you explain what you mean by tabs? Do you mean like what letter stencils have for say the inside of the O? The inside is attached with lines so it is not an empty circle?

Essentially, yes, but much smaller, so they are easily punched out. I’ll mock up a quick example, one sec.

Of course when you are using a mat or the plywood with the paper, your thickness is the thickness of both together. The set focus will make that a lot easier.

There are lots of ways to do this, this is just one very simple example.

You have a “donut” shape you want to cut out, a circle in a circle. On the left, I make a very narrow rectangular path (0.01" ought to do it, but you may be able to go even thinner)

Overlay them.

Path->difference, now you have two “halves” of the original donut.

Now we want to remove the vertical line segments. Start by selecting the nodes surrounding your vertical segments, and then click the “delete segment between two non-endpoint nodes” button (highlighted blue upper left-ish)

End result:

End result closeup:

Repeat for the horizontal direction if you want more stability:

Now when you cut it, it’s ready to punch out of the surrounding paper.

You can use this method lots of ways, but putting custom breaks in the path is what it all boils down to. You’ll want to get dead solid on your path manipulating techniques, editing nodes and path booleans are core skills to working with precise stuff on the glowforge.


You know what, I should have done cut path, it’s a lot simpler. Ignore difference, use cut path and just delete the resulting tiny segments. Like I said, there are many ways to do this.


Wow thanks!

I wouldn’t rule out vector cutting paper. It can work very well, depending on stock, settings and, what you are trying to do. It’s much faster than engraving in most cases.

Most of the pop up cards I am making on my Glowforge lately are vector cut.

Some of these have changed slightly over time. My advice.

  1. Use engrave instead of cut so it won’t just burn holes.
    If you’re just cutting big shapes, you don’t want to do this. This is helpful if you’re cutting out intricate designs with a lot of small bits. I still don’t use it because I use a Seklema mat and have had no issues.

  2. We need to use a caliper to figure out the papers width. Done, It is 0.09.
    Use set focus and don’t worry about this.

There’s good advice for everything else already. I don’t love tabs, but it depends what you’re making. Tabs impact the clean edges on the paper and you can’t just sand it away like you can with wood. But if this doesn’t matter to you, it’s one way to prevent tiny fly-away bits.

I mask my paper with a medium masking tape (Called vinyl transfer tape, but it’s not vinyl). Once again, this matters only if you care about the surface of the material.

The settings will depend on the weight of the paper. You can search the forum for those and then experiment a bit!

Good luck and have fun.

0.09 what? You always need to specify a unit…

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In inches it would be veneer thicknesses or 2,3 mm while in millimeters it would be writing paper. Other units are improbable. context should provide the rest.

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I’d also believe 0,009”, so it might be measured in typos.


The measurement is 0.009. I double checked and wrote it wrong.
Thank you.


I suspected because I do the same thing pretty regularly. Easy to miss a zero when you type it.

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Scientific notation FTW… 9e-3


“paper thin”… works for me!


I just did a project in 65lb cardstock and wish I had read this first. Maybe the Krylon adhesive or the tshirt treatment would have saved me a lot of trouble - I used a LocTite repositionable adhesive and it seemed like I had to get the amount of drying time perfect to get the paper to stick without getting irretrievably stuck. Too much drying and it would blow off during cutting; too little and the thin parts would break before releasing. I had about 30 sheets to cut for the project so I resprayed every other sheet or so, and I think build up started to be a problem toward the end.

However I do think I may have come upon a better choice for the base - the local home store had 13"x13" ceramic tiles with a matte surface on clearance for .49 each. Nice and flat, no chance of warping! Then again, maybe the porosity of the plywood/mdf helps to get the tack just right.

If you use a Seklema mat to secure the paper, does the laser cutting through the paper degrade the surface of the mat?

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Eventually I’m sure it would, but they’re designed to last a long time…and they’re designed to use specifically with the types of things we are cutting…like paper. I have one, too. They are also useable on both sides, which extends their use considerably.


Yes but, not as quickly as a lot of people fear.