Mission lamp and other projects

I experimented with drafting up a project this evening. It was a fun exercise to try to maximize use of the print bed we have on the Glowforge as well as try to minimize scrap. My goal was to create something that could be entirely (minus the electrical) cut on the laser. I would likely use a thicker slab of hardwood for the base and some mica or stained glass for the diffusers in the final version, but for this exercise I thought it would be fun to see what could be done as hands off as possible.

As I have zero laser cutting experience, this project did raise a few questions. Can you utilize the edge of the material you are cutting from as a finished edge, assuming it was pre-cut to size well (12”x20” sheets)? With a laser kerf being so small, do you have to account for that when designing for plywood/MDF? Is it okay to have two parts to be cut out sharing an edge or do you have to provide a gap between each part? This might be a Glowforge specific question, can you design to utilize the full limits of 12”x20”?

I am open to suggestions and constructive criticism. I would love to nail down the process so I can be designing while I wait for the unit to ship.

For anyone curious, I designed the 2D and 3D in AutoCAD and then rendered in 3D Studio Max. I am a graphic artist by trade and work in the Civil Engineering field creating 3D site animations. These are the tools I use daily. I am also well versed in the Adobe CC suite, but figured CADD was the better choice for accuracy of design for a project like this.

I have included some links to my experiment:

Layout PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzD-A4kqSQYWWmtVV0h5TzQ5aFE/view?usp=sharing
Exploded View PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzD-A4kqSQYWa1UtX0lBUklrTmc/view?usp=sharing


That is pretty cool, it looks like a building itself all lit up.

I am not a fan of the little wooden legs at the bottom though. I just see even slight mishandling and one snapping.
Plus you will see the cord hanging out.

Maybe remove them altogether or make a facade that goes around the “front” areas that would both hide the cord going out the back and strengthen the little wood pillars. You could engrave them to even look like a building, with doors and people passing by. :smile:

I cannot speak to the edge of material specifically on the GF. But in general terms, what would be the possible reason you cannot? Do you just not want to have the cut from the saw that made the board in the first place as a visible edge, and you want the laser to have kissed everything? If so, then it relies on precisely how they define the cutting area, but they should have defined it by what the laser itself can travel across, so in that case you can indeed cut along the edge to “sear” it.

If you are press fitting parts, then you need to account for the Kerf, no matter how small. If you are using 1/4’ or thicker with tabbed connections, the kerf is mildly important for stability. Otherwise, it is pretty ignorable.

You can have two parts share an edge, but it is best that in cases where this happens you design it as a single part with a seam. In your program it looks like a single line, but the laser gets told to cut that spot twice, which can cause for discoloration (or in cases where you are trying to engrave instead of cut, added depth).

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Thanks for the feedback! Sounds like no matter what, some experimentation will be required to really nail down my workflow.

The one thing I would still like an official response to (if it is even known at this point) is if the laser travel limits are an exact 12"x20"?

I believe so, but haven’t tested to be certain.

Thanks Dan. I am amazed how quickly you get to everyone’s questions…

I have modeled a few more of my ideas and rendered a video.


I am excited to incorporate RGB led strips and electroluminescent wire into what I make on the GF to give them a bit more life! I also love the living hinge idea and see lots of potential. I even like the aesthetic of the cuts and the various patterns I have seen for different flex characteristics.


This is awesome. Simply awesome.

I have still been designing in my free time towards the day the Glowforge arrives. We recently purchased new couches and now find ourselves in need of an end table. I figure this would be a really fun project to try my hand at some laser cut inlay and have started to lay it out. We have quite an eclectic style in our home but a heavy lean towards Mission/Amish and Southwest (we have lived in New Mexico for 14 years now). I am planning on walnut, red oak, maple and a burled of some type, along with some crushed turquoise inlay.

I can’t take credit for the lizard, it was borrowed from a tribal art tattoo and the boarder is very much like something in one of our area rugs.


Almost exactly 2 years ago I designed this lamp. I had fabricated a smaller version a few months back: Lumosforge is here! We were really happy with how it turned out (perfect size for our camper). It took some time but I am excited to see the full size version come to life and turn out so well.


Oh it’s gorgeous! It fits the decor perfectly! Please tell me we will see this design in the Design catalog some day.


Wow!!! I hope you start a new post in Made on a Glowforge so that everyone can appreciate that amazingness!!!


Hi great lamp! Would you be willing to share your mission lamp plans so I may print them on my Glowforge? I’m a notice and need files of great things to get me going and fell great about my exp purchase. Thx!

I share your enthusiasm for this great lamp design. Note, however asking people to share their designs is discouraged by the forum rules:


If someone shares a print that they’ve made, please respect their sharing and do not ask for the source design or artwork. Designs take work and have value, and when you ask someone to give you that value for free, you undermine their work.


Apologies; I guess I’m misunderstanding part of the purpose of this site and product. I’m happy to purchase designs.

Thanks for the schooling.

Curtis Dikes

There are a lot of designs being freely shared here. The Free Laser Designs category is a good place to look for those:


People can also point you at other resources (free and paid), particularly if you are looking for something specific.

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