Is it safe to cut PCB circuitboard in a glowforge?

In our makerspace we are doing a project that is just taking apart a tv, and I was wondering if we could use the circuit boards in the glowforge safely? I have a lot of ideas for stuff to cut out, but I’m worried about the conductivity. Does anyone have any experience with any of these?

You won’t be able to make it through the copper clad boards, the copper is impervious to your laser (and reflective, its arguable that it might damage your machine. Copper is a nono.)

If it’s a fiberglass board type, nope, the glass in the board won’t cut.

If it’s a paper-based phenolic board, without copper cladding, maybe, but why? maybe to cut consistent shapes?

Other people have talked about this:

If it were me and I was going to make custom pcbs, I’d be looking at the mask-and-etch technique, which the glowforge can help with.


Oh, also, if you want to cut cool shapes – to make like PCB jewelry for example – and you want really accurate cuts, you could probably make a pretty good router/dremel jig to do it. You could also possibly cut out shapes from a piece of tape/sticker to then stick to your PCB to be cut manually using a scroll or bandsaw.

In short, I think the best bet here is to think of how the GF can assist you in cutting the board, not rely on it for any meaningful cutting.


Volume PCBA manufacturing for smaller boards is usually done in a “panel” of many boards, which are then sawn apart at the end of the manufacturing operation. With an actual saw. That’s still the best way to cut FR4 or similar substrate.

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