There’s been a lot of talk 'round here lately about glass etching, particularly since the Frankenforge made its debut.
As cool as that is, abrasive and chemical etching are still handy techniques because most folks won’t modify their machine to swallow a whole bottle. And some irregular surfaces won’t work well with direct laser etching even if you can get the item into the machine.
Abrasive and chemical etching require a masking material to be applied to the glass. But glass isn’t the only thing we might want an intricate mask for. You might have a painting project.
So, it seems to me that a super useful general purpose laser technique would be cutting an intricate mask out of some adhesive-backed material, including the use of engraving to eliminate masking material completely, then picking up the pattern with transfer tape for application to another object.
People with vinyl cutters already do this, of course.
But we don’t want to cut vinyl, right? Craft vinyl isn’t laser safe.
But worse, can you imagine weeding a pattern like this even if the laser cut it? No thanks.
How can we adapt this technique to use all the capabilities of a laser cutter and eliminate weeding?
The right materials may already be out there.
The masking material would need to be something that could be engraved away completely, with an adhesive that was strong enough to let little pieces stick around, but weak enough to be removed from the work object later. Heavy paper masking tape might work. Or maybe laser-safe sticker vinyl.
But, the mask would need to be stuck to some kind of carrier inside the machine. I am not sure you can engrave away a vinyl or paper sticker and leave the carrier behind it whole… and that is important so parts of the design didn’t get disconnected. (When I get some laser-safe sticker material I will see if I can do this; if so, great. But I am not hopeful. Anyone ever see foil-backed sticker material?)
You might be able to stick the masking material to something more laser-resistant, like a Seklema mat, then pick up the completed design with transfer tape.
Any of that make sense? Any materials ideas?
In other words… how do you do this with a laser, not a drag knife cutter?