"engraving" paper? (And some tube life info)


As someone who’s never actually used a laser is it possible to use a laser to etch a graphic on paper or cardboard? If that makes sense. Haha!


Yes. The guy who led the project to build my laser just recently laser engraved his resume on plain printer paper. The prospective employer was impressed :slight_smile:


I’m right beside you lacking hands-on experience, but from what I gather, with the right settings it would be.
Seems to me, it would be possible to “toast” levels of shading for a 3D effect.
I expect to deplete a portion of my tube life just experimenting!


Ohhhhhh… aaaaaa… Fancy. Okay, good to know! Thank you! I’m excited to try it out!!

I guess there’s no way to really mask paper to get crispy lines eh? Haha!!


I kinda just want to buy 10 extra tubes just so I can go at it all day everyday? Haha


365 * 24 = 8,760

So, tubes typically rate at 20,000 hour lifespans. You have a good 2 years of non-stop use before you need to worry about the tube.

Granted, these are custom tubes and endurance testing hasn’t been completed and yada yada, but the worst I have seen for lifespan on any tube is still 10,000 hours.


OH WOW! I had read that 2 year lifespan and thought it was like 2 years of average use. This is such a relief! :slight_smile: Thank you!


Careful… people might begin to think that the GF isn’t going to be released for another two years, awaiting tube testing… :stuck_out_tongue:


from the glowforge front page:


Lol, how did I miss that? Hahah!


Etched on 30wt then cut. I etched it at low power and speed to get a clean image. 9% power 7.5% speed


Haha!! DAY MADE!!! Thank you Haha!


Excellent. Thank you “Laser Lady”!


Love it (and the idea of lasering the resume–hot)! If you ever did turn out to need to mask paper, @JeremyNielsen, hit me up, because I’m sure I could come up with a solution. There are some repositionable adhesives that would probably allow you to do the job just fine. Offhand, I’d probably start by kludging. :slight_smile: I have a couple of those 2’x2.5’ wall-use Post-It pads, and I’d cut the sticky top off a page, cut up the sticky part, and stick it on the paper I was preserving. Might be too sticky, might work just fine.


Oh great, now everybody is going to be 'forging documents left and right! :wink:




You, @morganstanfield are simply a wealth of knowledge. Haha! Thank you! :slight_smile:


These are incredibly optimistic values. Are you talking about continuous use of occasional use. (not that it matters)

10,000 hours is 20 hours a week, 50 weeks a year for 10 years. I’ve been laser cutting for 5 years now and I get through a tube a year.
1000 hours is a good lifespan for a glass CO2 tube, that is a much more realistic expectation for any tube.


If I may ask, what is the power of the tube you use, and its replacement cost?
Since the forge has a custom tube I would expect it to cost a bit more than an industry standard.


I have a 30 wt tube that I use pretty much use 5 days a week for at least 6-8 hours a day. It is now 16 years old and still works perfectly. Its a ULS tube.