Engraved "cultured" sea glass


Don’t have anything to show that’s nearly as cool as some of the other work I’ve seen here, but here’s the first output from my Glowforge. Around the time I ordered it, we were at a friend’s house at the beach, and our boys were searching for sea glass. I thought it would be cool to try to laser etch some, but I realized how long it would take to collect the raw material. So I told my friend that I might try using a rock tumbler and some beach sand to make my own sea glass. He and his sons protested that it couldn’t be called sea glass, so we settled on “cultured” sea glass - like cultured pearls. (Actually, I settled on that. They were having none of it). Anyway, I broke some bottles and tumbled the pieces, but then weeks turned to months turned to years, and I forgot about them until about 9:00 on the night that my Glowforge finally arrived…


You could also go with “Lab Created” sea glass but cultured is good as well.


The whole thing was really a joke, but I looked into it, and it turns out that there’s a lot of controversy among collectors of real sea glass concerning “manufactured” product. It’s a subculture I would never have known to exist, and it’s kind of fascinating.


I think that is completely cool! (And I might have to pick up a rock tumbler, cause I love sea glass…even “cultured”.) :grinning:


Always see a lot of glass like this when i dive, never had a use for it until now.
Great idea, thanks for the test


And I still have not tried any sort of rock or glass–thanks for the inspiration!


Amazing! What were your settings? How long did the process take? Thank you for sharing!!


I bought a double rock tumbler fro Harbor Freight & it works great. I have made fake sea glass and it comes out real nice. I guess if you plan to use man made sea glass & intend to use it in jewelry for sale you will need ti mention that it is man made. I will definitely try engraving with my GF.


@tennessee_reid: It was my first night with the Glowforge, so I wasn’t very sophisticated in optimizing my settings. As I recall, I cranked the power to max and had the speed around 350. LPI was set to 340. On the first piece I tried, I used two passes, and the piece developed a thermal stress fracture. The green piece that you see in the photo was done in one pass, and I think it took around 5-6 minutes. I’m sure the settings could use tweaking. I’ve also seen reference to putting a thin film of dish soap on glass when engraving, so I might try that as well. Good luck!


@rmaker1952: You’re right. I recommend that anyone selling it point out that it’s not “real” sea glass.


If you don’t end up using, collect it anyways to sell as supplies, there’s a hugh demand for authentic sea glass with jewelry makers


Thanks for the idea!
Over here in Oz most people have access to a beach and thus it is plentiful and easy to find, but i did a quick search and the prices for it are higher than what i imagined!

I might have to take another dive bag with me on my sorties now!
One for sea glass and one for the general crap people carelessly throw into the ocean :cry:


Most try to find it on the beaches which is why it’s hard to find. So hopefully it’s lucrative for you! If I could I would collect just for myself


@bdm, if you do go into the sea glass business, keep me in mind. I’d like to have some from Australia!


Gotta watch out for Australian Sea Glass, like everything over here it will try and kill you when it senses your guard is down!


Ha! I’ve heard it’s a tough row to hoe down there. Be careful!


What a cool first project, even if it is “cultured” sea glass. Keep up the great work!


Thanks, @dan. And thank you, too, for all you’ve done to get this product into our hands. It’s quite an act of imagination and perseverance, and you have been gracious throughout all of the setbacks and slings and arrows. You’ve also managed to nurture a pretty unique user community along the way. I’ve been involved in other crowd funded projects that did not end well. Glowforge should serve as a model.


I have a friend that really is into sea glass. He does woodworking mostly, but incorporates the sea glass from time to time. They are constantly going to the shores of Puget Sound to collect it.


I’m currently building a harp, and want to use a piece of sea glass as the harp’s “eye.” I have some that I found in Ireland. Probably won’t be putting that in the Glowforge!