Stencils

Hello! I am very new to this community but excited to learn from you all. I would like to make stencils using the Glowforge in my school’s STEAM lab. These would be for student use, and they would be tracing around the shape templates/stencils. What is the best material for this? Thank you!

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If they need to be very crisp and exact I’d lean towards extruded acrylic - since they’d be able to see through what they’re tracing over. You want to use cast acrylic if you’re engraving for a look, but for straight cutting extruded is cheaper and does just fine.

If they’d only be a guideline (like for a sign), you might find Polypropylene to be cheaper in the long run (but YMMV depending on what’s available in your area)

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Welcome to the forum.

You can use all sorts of things for stencils - it depends on how durable you need them to be, how intricate, how old the students are, etc., etc., etc. You can use cardboard, cardstock, mdf, acrylic, or chipboard. Peersonally, I use this stuff: Lucent by Rowmark®

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Mylar. It’s got a lot of things going for it, durable and thin.

https://community.glowforge.com/search?q=mylar%20stencil

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Thanks! Most likely, they would send me designs to cut. I made them myself with old folders this year, but the Glowforge would be way easier. They’d want logos, sneaker outlines, phone outlines, etc. simple stuff

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For one off one use, you can’t beat med or low tack masking. You need a roll around anyway so…

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I’ve used a thicker mylar for my stencils. It works great, you can see through it, and it comes in different sizes.

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I use Rowmark Lucent material for stencils.

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Seconding polypropylene - durable, flexible, cuts very easily, easy to clean. If you don’t need big sheets you can repurpose polypro report covers/folders very inexpensively. Manila folders will also cut just fine if you want to stick with those :slight_smile:

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Mylar, Acrylic, Lucent, all might be a bit too expensive for student projects, depends on your particular circumstances… Cardstock works fine for low-volume stencils, I’ve used cereal boxes in a pinch. Oilboard is a nice step up in quality for a pretty reasonable price and holds up well for medium-duty.

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Good to know! I have to figure out settings for that sort of thing.

in a school setting it’s worth asking around to see if there may be any boxes of old overhead transparency acetate sheets laying around somewhere. probably long since trashed, but if you can find a pile…!

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