Origami with the Glowforge

This. Is. Amazing! I love the slightly matt finish designs. Just a subtle difference in the light between surfaces.

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There is also Flexinol and similar shape memory alloys. Check out Jie Qi’s work:



Wow, cool looking finished pieces. I tried origami once…Key word being ‘tried’.

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on his website, Robert Lang has designs in “crease pattern”, that are nicely compatible with the glowforge. He also uses laser cutting/scoring for his designs sometimes. Then the folding part is the trickiest, I guess my 20 years of experience in origami helped!

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that would be great, not sure if it is possible though… I think I’ll try engraving, I was just too impatient to try!

except the glowforge doesn’t accept dashed lines yet! I think engraving is the way to go for now, and avoid thin papers…

yes that’s definitely another solution I could try, thanks!

I’m still finding the right ones, and it depends on the type of paper, I have very different types. But for scoring, the lowest power and highest speed is the way to go, but even then you end up with small holes sometimes. For cutting, maybe 20-50 for the power and high speed seems to work most of the time, just avoid multiple passes: if the paper is already cut, it will fly, potentially in front of the laser! (that happened…) Also magnets are necessary to hold the paper.

You can convert dashes to tiny vectors in inkscape.

Make a line with a dashed style. Select line.

Extensions -> modify path -> convert to dashes

Voila, tiny little dash vectors.

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my paper is usually thinner than cardstock, but thanks for the tip, I will try soon. For the dashes/dots, the glowforge is not compatible with that yet, hopefully soon!

Thanks for the tip, that’s very useful!

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Beautiful work! Wow.

One bit of warning - check your materials. I bought some various cardstock from Michaels and found that one of the metallic looking ones actually tested positive for chlorine when I gave it the copper wire & flame test.

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You can use an adhesive mat to keep the bits of paper in place to avoid having any of it interfere with the cutting. The Seklema mats from Johnson Plastics are really nice for that but, expensive. Spray-on repositionable adhesive and a piece of scrap wood can also work well. Lots of detailed suggestions about this if you search the forum.

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I have successfully scored plain printer paper, too but, not for anything very complicated.

For the dotted or dashed lines, I think that has more to do with getting your SVG file set up correctly. Details depend on what software you are using (q.v., @evansd2 's response about Inkscape).

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Wicked cool

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Wonderful stuff! Scoring lines for origami was one of my first thoughts when I ordered the Glowforge as well, though I’ve been thinking thin metals. I love that you jumped right in with Lang’s work (46 years folding, and I still have a tough time with some of his insects)! Very adventurous!

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Thanks! Let me know how it goes with metals, I would be interested to see the result!

One of my hobbies is Pepakura. I’ve played with cutting and scoring 110# cardstock and I can get it to work pretty well, but I haven’t yet assembled anything. Sadly, it will probably be May before I get to any real projects, but I’ll post when I get something done.

Hey @origamaniac - I’m also a tessellation folder (www.ericgjerde.com) and I’ve been using my glowforge for a number of tessellation projects. Happy to connect with you via email to discuss some of the pros/cons, and talk settings in greater detail.

The overburn problem has only been “solved” right now by using engraves vs. scoring, but obviously that takes FOREVER so it’s not ideal. For our particular needs most of the usual workarounds are kind of problematic. the best results I’ve had thus far have been to convert intersections into slightly curved lines so that the laser doesn’t stop - as well as having edge lines “lead in” to the work so there’s not pesky cuts on the edges of the pieces.

anyway happy to find another origami person using the glowforge!