I run a contract printing shop and bought the GlowForge to use as a laser die-cutter. After many months of “tinkering” I am now using the machine for production (albeit very slowly… we really need a REPEAT button!!)
Here are two jobs we did on the GlowForge:
Job #1: “Dirty Work” Campaign (self-promo)
I wanted to send a mailout to all of the area quick copy shops to let them know what our capabilities are, and that we could “do the dirty work” for them. I created a piece using 14PT coated stock that would act as a backboard for a small bottle of hand santizer. When I realized I had more to say then would fit on a normal card, I expanded to a folded card… which would require a window for the hand sanitizer.
Using the GlowForge I cut a rectangular window in the top fold; then I got creative and decided to cut around our logo on the corner of the card. I cut them two at a time, so the time “under the knife” really wasn’t that bad (just the time wasted having to re-load the job every time). I used magnets to hold the registration, and as you can see from this picture it was spot on throughout the entire run.
Here is a picture of the finished project.
Job #2: Custom Third-Cut Tabs
I had a customer who needed a tab set for a half-sized booklet; our normal supplier couldn’t get them done in time, let alone they were to be full-color/full-bleed. So I got brave and decided to do them on the GlowForge.
First I created test pieces and zeroed in the template on the GlowForge, then used finished stock that had the template overprinted on it. Once I was satisfied with the registration, I proceeded with the job.
As you can see by the next picture, the registration is well within tolerance across the entire run. By combining all three tabs on a single sheet I kept the setup time to a minimum.
What I learned:
- Settings are important, and vary not only by paper stock but also with what is printed on the stock. It is best to caliper-measure a final printed piece. On the first job I used 2-pass 35 strength on 14PT C2S UV coated 1 side; the second was 2-pass 30 strength on 12PT C2S UV coated both sides.
- Laser strength should be just strong enough to barely cut through using 2 passes; this keeps the paper from burning and/or the UV coating from melting. (Think of it more as a “kiss cut”.)
- An air filter IS A MUST; any kind of colored or coated paper is going to give off fumes you really don’t want to be breathing.