[Request] General Laser Cutting techniques and design tricks

Apologies if this is the wrong category for this, but it seemed to fit best here.

I’m looking for links to more general “tips and tricks” kinds of things about laser cutting and designing plans. Stuff like different joinery that can be used to hold pieces together without glue or hardware, the principles behind plans like the glowforge sample tealight holder that use tension combined with joints to hold itself together, things similar to kerf bending, etc.

Basically, what do the people that make the coolest and most elegant laser cut designs know that the average Joe wouldn’t?

Edit: Maybe also things that lasers make a lot easier or that could be integrated into cutting plans. I’m thinking of Ikea style fasteners and such that have their perfect places cut away in the material ahead of time and just snap in for quick and easy assembly with minimal tools.


There are loads of tips and tricks scattered through the forum posts. Search for @jacobturner’s posts and read through them. He has offered a tremendous amount of clear and helpful advice. There are others who have posted a great deal of help too. Hard to gather them into one place really, although we had a pretty good discussion about an eventual how to book, manual, wiki, best practices. I decided there is so much to learn just reading through all the posts, doing searches, and following the links. I did go ahead and sign up for Pinterest since it does a great job of organizing my ideas, how tos etc and what I have stumbled upon. I’ve been posting a build process for a wooden match bin dispenser that raises a lot of these issues. Living hinges will be explored next. Also the idea of joinery is something that I have to address. I have been assuming that I would glue parts together. As others have looked at the design, they are assuming that it will be self-locking and not need glue or mechanical fasteners. Advantages and disadvantages to different methods and materials is something that I also would like to learn about. I’ve gone through a whole lot of instructibles and youtube videos and have picked up a great deal. I think that since I am going to be waiting a few more months for my Glowforge, I may just get to that Glowforge Wiki sooner than I think.


Yeah, I’ve seen some scattered around, but was hoping to make a more condensed place for people to put this kind of information. I think you’re correct, a wiki is really needed for this type of thing. I’ve started using pinterest to try and track good stuff I find as well, but even that ends up in a really messy bag of tips and tricks, actual designs that I’d like to try, and commercial products that are more just “inspirational”.

I hear you. Will give it some more thought as to the platform. I’ve curated a wiki before and have the Google Cloud infrastructure to get get it out there for everyone. Yes, there is definitely no one stop shopping place for info on best practices.

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This is unfortunately one place that working in advance of owning the Forge is tricky. Because most of what you will learn you will learn as you go. Minor refinements. And so the people who do know “all the things” have no idea what the special sauce is that they know and most people don’t.

At the time you learn it is the best time to write up a guide. So I am thrilled that @marmak3261 has shown such interest in helping to form documentation. I have been trying to spend more time setting up such things, but since it is on the fringe of what counts as “my job” I don’t grant too much time to this side of things.

Sadly rather useless to your initial question right now. But I promise once some forges are out there that a huge sense of community collaboration will sprout (so long as we can avoid the negative attitude people tainting the water, and people continue to want to improve as a group rather than clamp down and be “proprietary” with their designs). There are already quite a few tight knit laser design communities out there which I have stumbled across (mostly with finding posts about the GlowForge, and them bemoaning our eventual influx into their community as clueless noobs).


Had the same thought a week ago as I noticed links to resources and learning were scattered all throughout these forums… Rather than having to navigate outside of this community I thought this would be the best place for this… How about a new category to post all the resource links into

I am a member of lots of different forums, and this is a pretty common issue with all of them. Forums are not really good for setting up canonical resources, although “sticky” posts are usually pressed into service that way. The problem is that people come and go, and they rarely take the time to read sticky posts let alone scroll through all the old posts to see if their problem has been solved already (and usually it has).

Personally I just use the search. That way I am pretty sure I will find all the things, even those posted by people who ignore the stickies.

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I have personally been bookmarking useful comments as i have been reading the forum. It helps condense the posst that I need, then i just scroll through my collection till i find the one I’m looking for.


I do that, too. Bookmark them into a folder especially for Glowforge. It’s getting mighty full!

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Sub folders!

–To Build


I had no idea I could do this until just now, still don’t know how but knowing I can is 75%, thanx

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To be clear: I am talking about sub-folders for bookmarks through your browser, not the Disqus bookmark post feature. No way to folder those which I have discovered yet.


Thanks for the clarification, I’ll just drop them into Evernote then.

I found this Instructable that helps explain a few things. I’m curious about how the Glowforge will handle layers. That will be sweet. Also it explains defocusing and shows the difference in a vector cut with precise focus and defocus. Has a good explanation of vector/bitmap.
Also: take time to read through all the comments and find more helpful links. Some are requests for help but many are good tips and advice.