Tips for Cutting Fabric?

Hi! My mom is wanting to try to cut fabric with the GF, and I don’t really even know where to start! Anyone have tips? I assume I should add heat n’ bond. What settings would you recommend using? Any issue with certain types of fabric that I should know about? Thanks in advance!

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I’m going to move this over to the “Beyond the Manual” section for you so the community can answer your questions without breaking any forum rules. :slight_smile:

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Okay, sorry! I’m new. :slight_smile:

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https://community.glowforge.com/search?q=fabric%20settings

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First things first you’re going to want to either buy a Seklema style mat, or make a homemade version. It will make sure the cut pieces of fabric don’t fly away and start fires.

The same rules apply to fabric as anything else in the laser - NO VINYL.

Beyond that you can do a quick test with a lighter to see what will happen when you cut it. Silk will form an ash line that’s easy to brush off. Anything with polyester will form a hard black line that won’t come off. Etc.

As far as settings, the answer will always be test, but to get you started searching on here for “[material] settings” will likely get you some advice. For example: https://community.glowforge.com/search?q=silk%20settings

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Settings: you will just have to trail-and-error on your own. Thin silk will have diff neeeds than quilting cotton or heavy denim. I have been both ‘successful’ and ‘woefully wrong’ (almost started a fire…do not take your eyes off it while cutting…and get laser glasses).

Other than that, start figuring out how you will put un-cut tabs on the cloth so the cut edges don’t fly around; sort of like perforations. They don’t need to be big, but you need enough of them so free edges don’t flap their way back into the burn spot and start a fire.

Plan on one layer at a time. ONE LAYER AT A TIME, no matter what that little voice in your head says. [ask me how I know]

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Synthetics are nice because the laser will seal the edges. Engraving on velvet is stunningly beautiful. Denim also engraves nicely, but too much power and the engraved areas will start to fray after wearing. Wool will cut and engrave nicely, but it will smell terrible in your room for days. Overall, woven fabrics are a better choice than knits.

I actually first learned about laser cutting as the graduate teaching assistant in the design lab of my textiles school. I’ve been meaning to post about some of my past experiments. Excited to see what you do!

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WOW! You all have been so incredibly helpful!!! Thank you so much.

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Please post your work; we love seeing ideas come to life.

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I will! It’ll be a little while before I do it because I need to do some planning/designing. But I’ll post when I have something!

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