Framed Megatron word-art

Sean Ing’s crisp and humorous word art is fun and exciting for my 7YO boy and also the inspiration for GF day#11 creation.


The vignette effect would have extended the engrave time, so using PixelMator’s colour curve editor I flattened the original 600x800 image. I wanted texture in the bottom of the letters so combined it using with a repeating circuit pattern at about 20% blend.

I shouldn’t have bothered, because the grain of the wood itself accounted for 50% of the burn depth variation, and looked creepy and fantastic.

The image was etched at max burn / speed into an old Taekwando breaking board (think “Hai-Yah, karate chop!”) wood scrap.


I originally had a cut outline with a small offset around the pattern but opened the GF lid to cancel that off after the etch was done.

Using I added a rounded cornered trapesium frame and through holes for bolts, and after cutting these through the wood (too hot, see below), I replayed them on a scrap 0.116" clear acrylic to protect the surface from children’s fingers, also to strengthen the probably compromised wood.

I used for all the vector and bitmap processing apart from fixing the original

2" steel stand-offs pushed through the holes in the two layers made it free-standing, plus matching connectors at the top. Shopping details in the replies.

For good measure I added a faded-off penrose tiling pattern to the bottom of the acrylic. I wanted to add a window frost effect all around, as if megatron was looking through ice at you and melting it, but it was 2am and I was tired:

The cut holes through wood were accidentally doubled up and slightly misplaced so set embers burning a bit, creating a sort of smoking bullet-hole effect that luckily was in keeping with the esthetic. the whole cut should have been about 1/2" higher compared to the engrave but I got away with it:

Lessons learned:

  1. don’t remove the acrylic backing tape until you check the holes fit the screws. I haven’t leaned how to translated real world dimensions into my designs so I winged it and they were too small. overcutting larger holes worked, but the flashback spalled the acetate once it wasn’t protected by the tape.

  2. if you add texture or patterns to a wood engrave, it’s gonna have to be in your face, not subtle, at least for this material. The natural grain wins.

  3. I need to work out sensible settings for my (non proofgrade) acrylic scrap, right now I keep running the same cut until it goes all the way through. That works until GF gets stuck “scanning your material” which it does every 5 or so cuts, at which point I have to start again and align by eye (I got very very lucky on this)…

  1. For multi-cut operations I’m going to see GF app hang on me. I need to be ready for that, perhaps by using absolute positioning in my designs : the GF app throws away scaling and positioning if I have to reset/refresh it when it hangs. Aligning by camera/eye is a crapshoot.
  1. screenshots of the settings sidebar might be a decent way to keep a log of good settings.

  2. does a decent job once you work out how to get svg exporting (use artboards, and click bottom of right tool drawer), but I still find it renders bitmaps (flatten to bitmap) at too low of a resolution for my taste.


This is stunning. I love the little bit of grittiness that comes into it from the smoke staining around the engraves. It’s a good reminder that what I’d often consider an imperfection can sometimes be exactly the right thing for a design.

Could you give me any pointers for the standoffs and pegs that you used to hold it together? I love they way those look.


I’m lucky enough to have an acrylic supplies shop in walking distance.

The stand offs are $4 each and are gorgeous steel spikes:

The matching connectors for the top are $2.50

They would work best for 1/4" material, but I ‘counter sunk’ the connector holes with a craft knife so the thread would bite my 3/8" design. the spikes were fine.

I could have skipped the top connectors and their holes entirely in this design, since the spikes held the whole together well.


I need to get some of those for my leatherware. :crazy_face:

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Have you tried the workaround for the locked up app where you load a small job in another tab?

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I love the way the cut fought back and left burn and smoke marks too. My wood scrap cuts have a lasting and pleasant smell as well as a look and feel.

While it’s fun to emulate pristine production techniques I feel some chaotic organic effects intruding into the design helps me love a piece and remind me of the birth pains.

When it is ‘scanning’, watch the ‘Cancel’ button when you start it. If it greys out the op is hung.
If you open another browser tab to the UI, load a simple file (quick to process), like a cut line and let it process until the glowforge button is blinking ready. Cancel that job and go back to the original tab that was hung scanning and it will have cleared, then you can scan it again without closing the browser and losing the position of your file on the material. :sunglasses:

It has been noted that if you initiate a new operation too quickly after one completes it will hang the scan op.