Need Help Making Stencils

Hi Glowforge Community,
I am a new Glowforge owner, and I was about to cut vinyl paper to make a stencil for a shirt design, and when I couldn’t find the right material to start the cut, I searched in the forum and saw that vinyl paper off-gas chlorine… Wow, really dodged a bullet! Now I am at a loss, because this is what I wanted to use this machine for. Has anyone else encountered this same dilemma?

Use mylar. Lots of existing discussion on stencils here if you use the search feature.

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What “vinyl paper” is it? Some things call themselves vinyl but aren’t PVC, which is the material you need to dodge. In no way am I saying this is safe yet, but if you mention specifically which product it is we might be able to find out for sure.

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If cutting vinyl for shirt stencils or silk screening is the only goal a Glowforge is not the best tool for the job. Vinyl cutting machines that use knives instead of lasers can be found at 1/10 the price and don’t have the chemical issues of burning vinyl.

The laser is much better for cutting thicker material very accurately and can engrave for a 3D result that the vinyl cutters cannot, but if that is not what you want to do then you have a hammer to apply screws.

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Lots of variables: design size, design complexity, repeatability, # of colors, ink application method, etc etc.

  • For a simple single use design freezer paper would be fine for spray or gentle squeegee.
  • Mylar/Duralar is great for a short run using a squeegee.
  • HTV (heat transfer vinyl, no actual pvc in it) can be ironed onto a traditional screen printing screen and run several hundred impressions if you know what your doing.
  • HTV can also just be your tshirt design, avoiding the stencil altogether.
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Perfect! I will search for for mylar. Thank you for the suggestion!

Amazing suggestions! From the sound of it either Mylar/Duralar or HTV could work for what I am looking to do. Thanks for your help!

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I could also see myself using Lucent as well. I could use this for more durable stencils. Thanks for the suggestion!

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I made large icon and letter stencils to label some chemical tanks using thin (about 2 mm) styrene sheet. It cuts clean and have stood up to a lot of labeling.

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Would you be willing to share settings for this material?

I have not made intricate designs from this material so I haven’t done extensive testing. I have had good luck cutting (pro) full power 500 speed.

@kea, For a 2 mm styrene sheet I used 200 speed/95 power/1 pass to cut.

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