Unfortunately the sticker material doesn’t come with backing, it is on a roll.
I do have non-stick paper backing for other kinds of stickers, like vinyl sheet. And I thought about using that, but I have not been able to engrave this sticker material in such a way that a piece of paper behind it won’t get torched. And, the backing has to hold together or the little islands in the engraved design will blow away.
But, there’s no reason not to try that with a metal backing, maybe it’ll work better than I am imagining. I can just sacrifice some sticker vinyl for the backing.
If you’re really nailing the backing with the laser the glass will be affected and eventually spall. A simple steel sheet from Home Depot is cheap, magnetic, and will shrug off the laser with no effect.
Thin plastics generally don’t require much energy to cut, so I’d expect a glass sheet to shrug it off. But adhesives generally stick great to glass and if I understand the OP’s goal, that’d be a problem.
They do make laserable material with adhesive backings for just this purpose. No intermediate transfer step required. I have a few rolls in different colors.
Yeah bare steel and glass will hold on to the material I want to transfer too tightly. The sticker material is actually a glass etching mask and it sticks to glass like crazy.
In normal use, you put the mask on and engrave away the unwanted parts, like with that Laser Foil. Then, you sandblast. But that way you are limited to items that fit into the machine, and that have a flat surface.
I’m working on this transfer process because I want the benefits of a highly detailed mask (with no weeding) on larger and curved items, like beer mugs.
Original thread with lazermask settings:
Followup thread where I started the transfer method:
It’s a promising technique but a more forgiving backing board would make it much much better.
Here’s a sample pic of what I am trying to accomplish. This is a large wine glass and it is masked with LazerMask engraved on my HDPE slab. Even if this glass fit in the Glowforge the curvature would make engraving this large design into the LazerMask impossible.
I used medium-tack paper transfer tape to move the design over to the glass. It worked sorta OK, but the little triangle in the capital “A” could not be picked up by the paper until I un-stuck it from the HDPE with the point of a craft knife. It was pretty fussy.
If the transfer technique can be perfected, allowing smaller bits to be picked up easily, it would make much more intricate designs possible. This would be far superior to a vinyl sticker mask made on a drag knife cutter, which not only has limited resolution, but weeding vinyl sucks.
(You may notice some wrinkles in the mask. This design is big enough that I was pushing my luck with the compound curvature of the wine glass… But LazerMask is flexible enough that it worked out. If a wrinkle touched the edge of a letter I could still smooth it down. That’s another way it is superior to vinyl stickers.)
I cut Delrin all the time. 3mm sheet cuts great. I have some 1.5mm (which is probably more like what you want if you need to bend it around a curved surface) but it wasn’t as easy to cut. Got too melty too easily. I gave it a few shots and shelved it for later.
If I recall, it produces Formaldehyde when it burns. Good ventilation is important.
I have been looking at all the various things I have here, not for laser, just in-general. One that I wonder about is the cheap plastic/poly binders you get - someone here posted about cutting and/or engraving on them, and I believe it worked out. With the low power settings needed to cut thru your masking, that may not mark the surface of the plastic-like material.
I am sure they vary, but I am guessing polypropylene. I have some nice sheets but they can not be used on the GF in the thickness I have, but thin sheets can be cut according to some. Think overhead transparency material, but the binders are thicker.
Ah. I don’t think it’ll work very well. The plastic’s melting point isn’t very high. Even low laser power will probably remove some material. And having watched my cutter cutting Delrin, what I’ve seen is that it liquifies much faster than it burns off, so after the cut is complete you can see “streaks” where liquid plastic has been pushed and then resolidified, in lines running forward and away from the cut, because of the breeze created by the air assist fan.
It cuts, but it leaves a melty edge. That’s okay for some uses but I use it more for creating faux-bearings where I glue them to some other material and then the material slides more easily than if it were raw wood.