Soap cutting

I will receive my Glowforge on Tuesday and am concerned about the learning curve. My first project with my junior high class will involve cutting 1/4 thick soap. Any suggestions??

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This is the support category. Support will not comment on non Proofgrade materials. Might want this moved to Beyond the Manual.

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Where would I find “beyond the manual”?

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I moved it for you.

Have no idea whether the unit will cut soap.

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#beyond-the-manual is one of the categories here in the forums.

I have no idea about soap, but incase it liquifies, I would suggest taking the tray out and useing a sacrificial bowl and shim the soap up to good height from inside of the bowl incase it liquifies instead of vaporize

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That’s some solid advice. We should start a betting pool about what will happen :). I’m curious for sure.

Hopefully not this.

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Challenge accepted.

This would be maybe the best outcome. Selectively puffed soap, totally cool.

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Ok. So here’s what I found with this soap. It was available and a convenient thickness.

Start with cutting at 1/4” depth:
It hit the 1/4” mark with 100 pews and 100 zooms. Less than that didn’t seem to do the job, but it would have been better to have a soap that was only 1/4”.

I also tried scoring and engraving at various pews and zooms. What I found is that a light touch marks the soap nicely, especially with scoring. Engraving doesn’t give desired depth detail.

I scored the swirl at 1 pews and 500 zooms.


Too light.

About right. I think this was 20 pews at 1000 zooms.

More aggressive pews and slower zooms caused the soap to melt and become unattractive.

The ingredients of a particular soap will make a huge difference. Perhaps cheap soap would work best. Not sure what noxious chemicals might be released by soap. My Glowforge Pro Hiakari hasn’t smelled this good in a while though.

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Props for beating me to it.

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Thank you all for your interest and advice. I intend to use glycerin soap that I will melt and pour into 1/4” sheets. I’ll let you know what happens

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I have some glycerin soap. Want me to give that a try?

I have some glycerin soap. Want me to give that a try? I’ve got a 2 hour job running right now, but I could do it a bit later.

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Yeah! I intend to melt it in a microwave and pour it into a form onto parchment paper at 1/4 inch. My form will fit into the Glowforge so that as I cut the soap, I won’t have any melted soap left in the machine. The parchment paper will hopefully allow me to remove the soap shapes without them sticking to the mold. I don’t know if they will immediately stick back together to the remaining soap.

I’d suspect multiple passes at fast speeds is the way to go, give the surrounding material time to cool between passes.

Maybe refrigerate/freeze the soap first? This is an interesting experiment!

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I would suggest that you think instead of using the :glowforge: to make a soap press instead of directly cutting the soap. If you have a strong negative mold of the shape you want and line it with something like Saran wrap and apply a lot of pressure the soap will flow into the shape of the mold and the Saran wrap will allow you to remove it easily. That way you can make lots of soap bars very easily and fast.

A decent pully extractor could supply emmense pressure if you can’t just use a lever or similar means of pressure.

An interesting thought. I fear that, as this is a class project and time constraints have to be considered, if the machine can’t cut the soap, the project will take longer than we have.

Thank you for the idea. I do intend to experiment with freezing versus refrigerating. Multiple passes had not occurred to me. I look forward to this type of problem solving with my Glowforge.