Personalized Wood Pens

Beautiful egg! Nice work.

Regarding pens: I am simply looking to etch a name into the side. No plans on going around the pen.

Probably not feasible without another axis anyway. Would be nice though!

As long as the engraving stays in the middle third of the pen (the short way), you should be fine. Great suggestion about using image recognition to track pen rotation too.


Shall I send you some pens to try? :smile:

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This is one of the main reasons I purchased my Glowforge. I also turn wood and acrylic pens, and when I saw that the system has optical recognition, I figured I could fabricate a small rotary non-mechanized jig. So you simply put the pen in the jig and engrave a portion, then turn it slightly, let the system recognize that you in essence, moved the material, and let it continue etching some more.

In theory, shouldn’t this work the same way as feeding a piece of material into the passthrough? The machine sees a small portion of what it just cut, and picks up where it left off. The machine should detect where you left off as long as you have some of the design showing still on your pen, just on a smaller scale. Will the camera be able to detect where you left off on such a small object, or will you have to use the high res scan? Is that even possible, or is the only optical recognition source the camera on the lid?

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Yup, just some software to put in the feature request hopper.


Maybe a piece of hardware/software like this?


I saw that thread @bwente and I like it. I think Glowforge should use it’s own proprietary addon hardware using Bluetooth. I would pay a premium for that. I really don’t want to research and get into Arduino to make one. But maybe you could put some finishing on your product and sell it to Dan so he can implement it? Hint hint. I mean, why reinvent the wheel? It would be just like DOS… But that’s a different subject. I would love a working rotary attachment but I wouldn’t mind advancing the cylindrical object a step at a time either.

I was thinking to use the glowforge to cut a rotary jig that can be turned by hand for this purpose. I’d a 360 degree etching on glass one day!

I don’t think a glass will ever work on this. The beam can only focus on objects up to 1.5 inches tall. That’s why @bwente made his design so flat I’m assuming.

Maybe he means a glass rod :stuck_out_tongue:, don’t know why you would want to, unless it was a glass pipe turned into a pen! Hint hint

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Check it:

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That is a cool idea @JeremyNielsen, but one of the advantages of the laser cutter is that we don’t need to work as hard at material holding. Gravity should be enough since there are no lateral forces to counteract. This would be perfect if you wanted to use a cnc router to engrave a pen!

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True, true! I just thought it was interesting. :slight_smile:

sooo… this has me thinking about making customized test-tubes and pipets for my scientist girlfriend.
(Just for desk-top ornaments, not for actually science-ing with.)

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Test tubes are on my list as well! I’ve seen some folks using them as spice jars, and it would be pretty easy to make a plywood spice rack for them with the Glowforge, too.

Test-tube jello shots are great for post science-ing. The person post science-ing, not the test-tube, because that would be bad.


Once you turn your pen, you can engrave on it (the same as you could wood burn something into it). The only thing is that you would have to engrave BEFORE doing your finish coat (so just after you are done the sanding step).

Once you complete the engraving, put the pieces back on the mandrel of the lathe, and use a very high grit final sand (I would go 800+). This is to remove any sharp edges and residual scorching from the area around the engraving.

Once this is done, blow out the etched pattern with a compressor (or a can of compressed air), then you can finish the pen as normal.

I would caution you on some of the high wax content woods and acrylics; they can burn/melt and ruin the pen piece. If you stay with common woods you should be fine.

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What common woods are you referring to when you say “If you stay with common woods you should be fine.” ?

I am referring to the less waxy woods, Ebony for example is a wonderful wood, but it has a high wax content and tends to burn, not engrave.


Came across this! I’m sure you can make your own but its interesting: