New to Lasers

Hello everyone, my name is Jesse Stark and I purchased a Glowforge in May of this year. I wanted to create this topic because there have been some discussions across the forums about new people working with lasers with tips here and there, but for someone like me who has never used a laser cutter/printer before I thought it would be really cool to compile some knowledge into one place.

So if anyone would like to share their knowledge or tricks of the trade that would be very much appreciated and very cool of you! I look forward to seeing what everyone has to teach us!


Hi, Jesse!

Two tips I’ve got. I’m also a laser n00b (or whatever the lingo internet kids are using today is.)

Learn to use a vector drawing program if you would like to come up with your own designs is number one. I’m using Inkscape because it’s free and Linux compatible. Adobe Illustrator is probably the most popular pay one. Corel Draw comes up a lot, too.

Second, use the search function here on this forum. There’s been so much that has helped me feel more ready, even though I know there will be plenty more to learn once my laser shows up. Hang out, post stuff, read stuff, make friends. Also, you can collect the things that you like by linking them here. Hit the chain next to the heart and you’ll get a link to add on this topic.

You’ve got a couple of months to do some learning and get some designs drawn. Be sure to share as you go!


Also, just checked out your Etsy site. Here’s my go at a foam weapon:

…and share on Show and Tell.


Thanks for the info! I’ve seen a lot of talk as well about Inkscape, so I’ll have to download it tonight and start messing around with it. I have Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, I just haven’t used Illustrator in a long time. It wouldn’t hurt to have two vector programs I suppose.


Wow! I like it! Did you use EVA Foam as well?


I use EVA quite a bit for cosplay and other things. It’s awesome to cut on a laser. Saves me and my friends a lot of time


That was one of my ideas as well! I figured it would be a lot faster to make the prop items I need and to have them cut out before detailing.

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Buried somewhere in the forums is this:

Feel free to pursue and add to it.


Yes EVA cuts like a dream. Nice straight lines and clean edges. So awesome. I can only do 12*9 right now so I’m looking forward to the glowforge for like double the bed space

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yea, me too. I plan to keep some of my basic, “foundational” patterns in the glowforge so I can just put and a piece of foam and hit print.

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Thanks. Yup. Eva. The handle is from the pet store. It’s a dog chew toy that’s just a piece of an antler. Carved out some space inside the foam for wire hanger to sturdy up the blade and give me something to attach it to the handle with. Drilled some holes in the end of the antler and glued the ends of the hanger inside of the antler. Then, sprayed it with some metallic spray paint that said it worked well on plastic.

Looks like you already know quite a bit about working with the stuff, though. I think I ended up looking at a ton of YouTube videos after coming across this post in the forum and it gave me enough learnin’ to give it a go. Evil Ted and Punished Props.


There are also several tutorials sprinkled through the forum already, and most of them should have the tutorial keyword on them. You can find them by keyword using the advanced search option under the search icon.


At my work, one of my regular customers has a CO2 laser as well, but his is a 60W powered laser. I ask him a few questions every now and then and last time he was in I asked him, “What should a first time laser owner/user know? And is there any tips and tricks I should know before I use my laser?” One of his answers was to have a lot of practice with a certain material before you use it. For instance, one of his customers wanted two very expensive knives to be etched for going away presents. Seeing as how he only had two of them and they were very expensive in the first place, he denied the project. I wouldn’t say the moral of this story is to give up before you screw it up, but the thought never crossed my mind about taking a possible customers own property and possibly destroying it.

I just thought I would post this here as a heads up to everyone, I hadn’t really thought of this possibility before so I wanted to hand out this hopefully useful knowledge lol :slight_smile:


That’s a great point. One way around this is, when possible, to require a certain amount of extra material for first-time products. When I was a calligrapher and working on wedding-envelope jobs, it was industry standard to require 15% more envelopes than were actually needed for the guest list, because it was absolutely certain that the calligrapher would screw up a certain number of them, and figuring out how ink would work on the specific paper provided was always a crapshoot.


That is a good practice, and I’m probably going to apply that to my work curriculum! T :smiley:


Never take custody of a customer’s personal item if your insurance can’t cover replacing it.