T shirt experiments

I’ve been noodling around with Glowganberry and did some T-shirt experiments to see how they would cut. Just an average white T on its way to the recycling bin, thickness 0.05.

Ignore the text actually on the shirt- From the second line of text down:
Speed 1000 power 1 LPI 225 gives a very pale engrave Speed 1000 power 5 darkened it a little.
Speed 100 power 5 was way too slow and burnt the edges so I stopped the run.

Speed 500 power 1 didn’t cut through all the way
Speed 500 power 50 cut cleanly, slightly toasted the edges
Speed 500 power 25 didn’t cut cleanly through
Speed 500 power 40 almost cut clean but not quite
Speed 500 power Full (Basic) set it ablaze, you can see where it smoldered out in the lowest line of text.
Resuming at the very top was Speed 500 power 75, too much burn on the outside edges.

Then I tried out some basic fonts, no attempts at stenciling them or saving the counters, just to see what type would work best. I think the rounded blocky letters are going to be the best for T-shirts.

Last, I tested out the butterfly shape (I adapted it on Inkscape for cutting from artwork I found online, not my own). The smaller holes did well with speed 500 power 50 power but the larger ones needed power 75, probably because in my smaller tests the laser didn’t quite get up to speed. You can also see how the cut edges flopped over in the fan breeze because I didn’t use a sticky mat. I will definitely be doing that in the future.

The final project is a cutout T layered over a contrast navy, with the butterfly cutout.

YMMV. Show us your T shirts!


Oh that’s nice, thanks for sharing the results of your testing! :grinning:


Interesting… I ordered one of the Seklema® mats - will have to try that.

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Very cool!

I’m glad you are layering this t-shirt with another. Those cutouts look like they might fall in critical coverage areas! :laughing:


Thank you for taking the time to set up parameters.

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Great job on the testing! Thank you for sharing your results.

Great description.

I wonder if cutting a t-shirt should be more like paper.

With paper, I found that cutting really just needs engrave at a higher power. Using the cutting laser just burns paper, but engraving at a higher power and/or slightly slower speed is just enough to nicely burn away the paper without charring or discoloration.


Seriously good info and the butterfly design looks brilliant!

@PlGHEADED, can you elaborate on what a Seklema mat is? I get that it’s sticky, but how does it survive the laser beam - is it strictly for low-power settings?

It’s “self-healing” like a cutting mat is for xacto knives.
From one web site’s description…
"The Seklema TableMat is a multi-purpose “tack-down” mat engineered for laser and computerized engraving machines, flat bed plotter/cutters, routers or any applications that require a non-clamp set-up method.

A usable two-sided design doubles the product life! Expect up to years of productive use with proper care and daily cleaning."
A bit pricey but will let ya know if it seems worth it !

@PlGHEADED, any updates on the Seklema TableMat?

I received it… haven’t used it yet… 2 50 hr weeks keeping me busy at work… will hopefully get to it maybe this coming up weekend try a project with cardstock or fabric… will keep updated when I do

If it’s a thicker t-shirt, or a thin hoodie, I’ve had success with 200/18, which will toast the edges a little, but cuts well.

Thanks for sharing your settings for cutting cotton knit!