I have a roll of 12" and just lay my material on it so that it fits, then lay an equal amount right over the top of it…sandwiching the material inside. Trim it off with some scissors, then run a brayer over it. I’ve wasted next to nothing. Works just great.
The 12" masking the OP and others are referencing is something called vinyl transfer paper. It’s not vinyl, it’s a paper based product commonly used by people making vinyl decals & lettering that allows the vinyl to be adhered to a surface like a glass door & the paper masking removed. It’s a low to medium tack adhesive and removes easily. It’s commonly found in 6 or 12 inch by 100 yard rolls.
It should unroll fairly easily and apply to something like plywood without a lot of fuss like tearing and sticking to other stuff. It gains its adhesion by using a roller (printer’s brayer) or plastic card to squeegee it onto the material surface. It needs the pressure to activate the adhesion to be more than minimal tack
Masking tape like that from the big box stores found in 4" rolls (like painters tape) is a higher tack adhesive - even the blue or green medium tack varieties (run far away from the light cream colored masking tape - that’s a high tack).
The problem with narrow rolls like 4" is you’re going to either have the slightest and even imperceptible gap between rows or overlaps between rows. The gaps will cause more power to be delivered resulting in a very thin line of darker engraving. Overlaps will result in less power getting through the overlap line and thus a line of lighter engraving or possibly a mis-cut.
Transfer paper is the thing to use.
BTW, I only mask the top surface. For the bottom I use either newsprint or white copy paper on the honeycomb bed as a sacrificial layer. It’s quicker than masking and just as effective in preventing flashback.
Additionally, buying the 12” rolls will cost significantly less per sq in than buying traditional masking tapes.
Here’s a link of what you’re looking for. I’ve purchased this one in the past.
This is by far the BEST answer ever! - it should be made into a Wiki Post!!!
It’s almost as if someone already did this, check #2:
Definitely read #2, you’re paying too much longterm.
Thanks @evansd2 , I haven’t used them but ~$40 for 100 ‘yards’ versus the one i bought for 100 ‘feet’ is way a better buy!!
I have developed a technique of applying the masking that works for me.
I leave paper or tape or something completely along the loose edge so that it doesn’t grab the roll and become impossible to get loose next time.
I unroll 6" - 8" or so of masking and lay that on my board - hopefully straight
Then unroll and smooth down with my hand in couple of inch segments.
Once I finish the board and it is straight, I cut it off, leaving paper or something on the roll edge.
Then roll with a brayer (a roller on a handle). The brayer is more helpful than you would first imagine
Since I don’t use my glowforge all day every day and I have a small space to work in, this works for me.
great tip, thanks.
I don’t use a dispenser and never had that problem. It unrolls very smoothly.
I guess my thumbs, are all thumbs, I keep ripping / folding / mangling / get on my shirt / my hair EVERYWHERE but on the wood!!!
Haha, now I need to see a video of that lol.
I know you got a lot of great answers down here, but I’m still thrown off by your original post. Did you buy a pro? My max material size is 12x20. I don’t have a pro. I use 12 inch for everything.
I use this, as recommended on the forum:
I’ve tried a few different types, including one that claimed to be medium-high tack. They were not as good as this stuff. When they are out of 12-inch (which happens sometimes), I do buy the 10-inch stuff, but I always prefer 12-inches.
Because of what I do, I go through about 2 rolls of this stuff monthly. Each roll is about 55 dollars after shipping and tax.
I did buy a pro but I got the max material size from the tech specs section of the FAQ.
Hmm, I guess I could fit something larger in there, I only cut 12x20 it’s what most of the material I buy comes in.
I plan to buy larger sheets and cut them down. I don’t have my GF yet so I’m only going off of what I’m reading online while waiting on it to arrive.
i’ve put 15x20 sheets in, the extra space can run to the back. i haven’t tried 18, but that would be pretty tight i would think.
If you have a pro then there is no max length only width which is 19.5 per the GF specs:
- 19.5” by 11” (Glowforge Basic and Plus)
- 19.5” by ∞ (Glowforge Pro)
- Maximum material height: 2″ (50mm)
You may be using old stock 12". It’s pretty durable stuff when fresh.
I’ve never had a tearing issue and I don’t use a dispenser.
Something about using multiple small strips is one must be very careful lining them up to avoid gaps or overlaps as these will affect engraves.