Recommended laser-safe paper adhesive?

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#1

I’m planning to cut some very large designs in cardstock. Not wide, but longer than one sheet will facilitate.

Traditionally, this would mean splitting my design into page-sized chunks, cutting those, and then taping the edges together to create one continuous surface. But with the fancy pro model Glowforge, I should be able to tape the materials together before I cut anything, which I think will be a cleaner and faster process.

What tape or glue would you recommend for such a venture? Are there paper adhesives I should definitely avoid? Am I paranoid to even ask that?


#2

I know that masking tape (the blue tape everyone uses for painting) is pretty common and im pretty positive is safe for laser cutting.

Not the easiest application for you since you are doing large areas. BUT they have pretty wide tape and it should peel nicely.


#3

To clarify, you’re looking for a paper adhesive that will conjoin pieces of card stock edge to edge? Will they need to be permanent conjoined or just temporarily?

I think @nick07lee answered the question as it relates to a masking material.


#4

How big are the designs? It may be worth it to buy rolls of paper or extra long sheets to avoid the seams altogether. I mean, if you have the pro, seems a shame not to take advantage of the seamless cutting!

If you need the sturdiness of a thicker card stock and can’t find it in longer paper or rolls, you might want to try sandwiching several layers of the design together. I do this all the time when I need a thicker card stock I don’t have. So, cut out 3 (or however many) complete shapes, and then glue them all together. No seams and the desired thickness. For that, I really recommend good rubber cement for paper. I like the best-test brand (“white rubber paper cement”). It never causes rippling - even on very thin tissue paper - and dries clear. It’s never white at any point, don’t understand the name. Plus, you can rub off any excess dry glue and it removes completely cleanly. They even sell adhesive/glue ‘pick up’ erasers, but fingers work perfectly well. You need to rub/burnish the pieces you’re gluing together to make the glue permanent, so I’d recommend also picking up a bone folder. Except get a plastic ‘bone folder’. The bone ones create a shiny burnish that you probably don’t want all over the finished product :blush:


#5

It does need to be permanently conjoined. Masking tape might not be the worst thing; I need to double check my dimensions, but I should be able to get a roll wide enough to cover the surface in one strip.

Design is of variable length, but fixed width. If you imagine that I wanted to laser engrave a store’s receipts for some reason, that’s a pretty good visual metaphor.

A roll of paper would indeed be ideal, but for 100lb cardstock, that might not be in the cards. (They won’t have that in stock; it’s just not how they roll.) Still, you’re right. I should research that more.


#6

I’ve use the “sandwiching several layers” technique with plywood to make large pieces on a small laser-cutter bed (12" x 24").

I’ll cut multiple layers, making sure each layer overlaps the other layer somewhere, and then glue them all together after they’ve all been cut.

This window screen was made using that technique:

It has 2 layers of plywood. It’s about 9’ long by 3’ tall. I cut about 30 pieces of 24"x12" plywood to get the pieces I need.

I explain the process, and you can see more pictures at http://polarbrainfreezethecut.blogspot.ca/2015/01/window-screen.html

You could probably do something similar with card stock. Whether you glue it together before or after “lasering” is up to you.


#7

You are absolutely right. Im sorry I miss read. I would still recommend masking tape. For a temporary fixture. Gluing paper edge to edge would be pretty tricky though.


#8

That is cool!
Would it have made it easier to build in “keys” for alignment, or would that be overkill?


#9

I’ve used keys for alignment in other projects, but for this one, it was pretty straight forward.

I just lined up the edges pieces against a couple straight piece of wood clamped at 90 degrees. Once the edges were done, I did the inside pieces.


#10

and no actual bones are used for the vegetarian conscious lol


#11

how long will the longest edge be? you can buy press sheets of a large variety of card stock in sizes as large as 40". Common sizes include:
19 x 25
24 x 29
23 x 35
24 x 36
23 x 35
25 x 38
28 x 40

now, there are web presses that print on roll feed paper, but i’m not sure what the heaviest weight they will print on would be. you could check with a local printer that has a web press and see if they’ll sell you some of their house stock if it’s heavy enough. if it’s heavy enough and they will sell you some, you could get a single, continuous sheet in the size you need without having to tape it up.