Engraving glass?


Hey everybody!

What’s the general feeling about engraving glass? Will it destroy my 'forge? I made to small circle tests, on deep engrave and they turned out beautifully (or, definitely engraved!)

What say you?



Engraving glass is a standard practice. Not always successful because glass can crack with too much thermal stress, but not at all a problem for the laser itself.

A topic question best asked in “Everything Else” or “Beyond the Manual”. “Made on a Glowforge” is to show completed projects, made on a Glowforge.



I say go for it… It’s helpful to place a damp paper towel or a light coating of dishwashing soap on top of the glass, since you’re essentially pulverizing bits of the surface instead of burning, but I works great. Here’s a link to some early attempts I made with really cheap glass items:



Thank you, Rpegg.

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You could also create a stencil and use acid etching or sandblasting after that. Particularly useful if the glass is curved or can’t otherwise fit properly in the GF.

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I’ve done glass in other lasers with good results, did a couple of square olive oil and vinegar bottles. Used standard masking tape on the side to be engraved to help dissipate the heat and it came out really nice.



I just tried some glass (for the first time). I ran it at 5 different power levels, all at 1000 zooms. I found the more power the better the resolution. However all power levels on this particular glass resulted in just a dull gray. I was, of course, hoping for the acrylic effect of a nice bright white.

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Yes, glass is different in that regard, its never quite as white as it would be on cast acrylic.

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Yeah. I’ve got some bright white paint coming in… I think tomorrow. So I’ll see if I can paint it while it’s masked and see what I come up with.



Even if your glass fits into the GF, weeding masks is no fun. I want to try these products…





My best practice for glass is to cut a stencil, as @chris.majewski suggested, on a vinyl cutter, not the laser as this requires laser compatible vinyl. I’ve always sandblasted my work, just have not had time to try the acid etch method. I’ve seen sever people laser etch glass with mixed results.

While it’s great having the laser as a new tool, I have to remind myself that just because I have a hammer (or in this case a laser) not everything is a nail (or a good material to work with on the laser).



@GrooveStranger I find weeding relaxing, it’s like forced meditation (if the cuts are good). But I also liked to watch my disk “defrag” when it used to be little squares moving around changing colour, I may just be weird.

Looking forward to your results if you do use that lasertape.



LOL, you are like me then on the disk defrag; it is very satisfying and certainly not productive use of time.



I thought I was the only one like that…



Not sure that I would do it.

GF features it on their homepage…

Wouldn’t these jars be too tall to pass under the laser?



You take out the tray and lie them on their sides. :wink:



Does the bottom of the GF have material that prevents the laser from bouncing back up through the glass?

Is taking the crumb tray out allowed (safety / warranty)?




Presumably, if you are lasering on something, the laser beam stops when it hits that material. (And glass is like a brick wall to a CO2 laser, the beam does not go through it, it barely scratches it.)

But if you are going to run the laser beam over the edge of the material, you do want to put something down on the bottom of the metal bed to keep from reflecting that beam back up into the lens. I just use a sheet of plywood and work that into the calculations for height on whatever I’m lasering. You could also use paper - it probably won’t catch at that distance. Or papertape. :slightly_smiling_face:



The jars are deceptively small. Under 2" on a side.



I did some glass tiles yesterday. I was quite pleased with the results. I bet some dye/paints/stain dropped in the “engraved” part would make reading a bit easier.