How would you make a teeny, tiny optical stencil? (AKA gobo)

I may be getting a DJ-style moving head spotlight. It allows you to pick different light patterns by means of a wheel with little tiny stencils. These stencils are replaceable and it would be a lot of fun to make my own instead of buying them.

The stencils are about 1.6 mm thick, 18 mm diameter, with a live area of 13 mm.

While they are metal, I don’t think they need to be metal. You can get replacements made from glass with color printing on them. I suspect even acrylic would work… after all the gobo holder here is plastic, and it doesn’t melt despite having a 25W LED shining on it.

I was thinking about painting a glass disc and blasting paint away.

Can you think of another way to cut a small, sharp image on a tiny disc with your Glowforge?


What about cutting wood veneer and attaching that to the glass or acrylic? It’s easy to cut intricate details. GF sells veneer, but it’s readily available from plenty of sources.


Companies like JPPlus and Trotec sell very thin engravable plastics in various colors. Trotec also sells extremely thin acrylics. But they get melty/sticky when hit with heat, so I suppose you need to test to make sure they don’t warp when you are cutting very small designs.

Beware that these might be metal because they can get very hot when in use.

Oh, I just read 25W LED… maybe that doesn’t get that hot… my experience with these has been with big stage lights, in which I burned myself several times trying to adjust these little metal discs until I learned my lesson and always wore gloves.


Yeah I will definitely check the temperature before I try anything! 25W may still be hot enough to compromise some handy materials.

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