Hi All! I am expecting my glow forge in this Thursday and I was really hoping to create a customized cake plate for a wedding. I was wondering if anyone has any tips / tricks or advice for engraving onto a ceramic plate. I see that it works on ceramic tile so I assume the plate will be no different.
Welcome and yes there can be a problem depending on what you are trying. I bought a batch of nice very low Aluminium plates expecting I could custom engrave them. unfortunately while the center of the plate was fine the outer parts were just high enough to barely catch the head fan and were thus unusable.
If you have a plate that every part is under a half inch tall then it will work just like any tile though you may want to make sure any inking etc of the design is food safe.
Getting some 4 inch tiles to practice on first would be a good idea too
Make sure use use calipers to get an accurate height of the flat part of the plate onto which you plan to engrave; the rim of a plate is often higher than the middle.
One thing you may want to do is turn the plate over and do a small practice engrave on the bottom. Just something simple like a small circle to ensure you have the power and speed settings acceptable for the plate. (Note: the height will probably be different than when the plate is right side up.)
I think practicing on ceramic tile is a good idea, but with the potential difference between the tile and plate, I would want to do a trial test on the actual material, so as a precaution I would count on needing two plates. I would do a design for myself as the test, and if the test runs well, worst case is you will have a decorative plate of your own.
Over the two years we waited for our machines I saved a ton of cardboard for testing, but I learned it is best to test on the intended material, and ended up tossing the massive cardboard collection in the recycle bin.
Cardboard is useful for jigs!
As you explore the spectrum of materials available to you, it won’t be long before your experience will give you a “feel” for what you can expect from your glowforge with any given material.
The journey of exploration was like a treasure hunt for me.
Enjoy the adventure, and be sure to share your triumphs with us!
One thing you do want to read if the plate is thicker than 1/2" at it’s tallest point is these writeups on how to engrave without the crumb tray in place. For taller objects, you have to take the tray out and prop the surface of the object up into the correct engraving range.
If it is much thicker than a half inch it would not help as without the Crumb tray my Aluminium trays would have to be below the crumb tray level to clear the blower.
What would be a solution would be to make a stencil and take both to a ceramic shop and there are many materials that you could stencil with and fire at a very low cone 22 that would fire them in permanently. But if the highest point is more than 1/2 inch above the face that could be a problem.