I am wondering if anyone here has any experience with pad printing. The reason I am asking is could you use the Glowforge to etch or engrave the printing plates for shorter runs? I don’t know a ton about pad printing, but this is what wiki has about the plates:
Image plates are used to contain the desired artwork “image” etched in its surface. Their function is to hold ink in this etched cavity, allowing the pad to pick up this ink as a film in the shape of the artwork, which is then transferred to the substrate.
There are two main types of printing plate materials: photopolymer and steel. Photopolymer plates are the most popular, as they are easy to use. These are typically used in short to medium production runs. Steel plates come in two forms: thin steel for medium to long runs, and thick steel for very long runs. Both steel plate types are generally processed by the plate supplier as it involves the use of specialized equipment.
Seems like this would work for the GF and maybe a way to make some other cool items.