Trick for Lifting Up and Placing Tiny Cut Pieces Without Jumbling Them



Seeing lots of talk about doing Glowforge marquetry and papercutting, I thought I’d share a little trick for picking up teeny cut pieces off the honeycomb, especially ones that you want to stay in a particular arrangement (such as unconnected letters or images with multiple parts that you want to glue directly to another surface).

Tape of various kinds is useful (especially blue painter’s tape), but it’s easy to bump things and have them
get jumbled when you can’t see through the tape, and for the tape to be too sticky. To prevent having to tweezer your little parts up or back into place, put mesh drywall tape over your tiny pieces while they’re still on the honeycomb, and smooth down the tape as firmly as needed. You’ll still be able to see your little bits through the tape and then pick them all up in one go. For larger pieces, you can put several layers together–the mesh is open enough that you’ll still be able to see through it.

If you’re gluing them down with something like spray glue, you can just flip the whole taped section over and spray the back, then press only the cut pieces down on your base. The pieces will be stickier than the tape, so the tape will peal off–without leaving marks in the cut pieces or base.

This is the stuff–it’s cheap and available at most hardware stores:

Here’s a demo from someone else using the technique:


Excellent trick, it is posts like this that make forums such a wonderful resource.
Thanks for taking the time to write it up!


Yes! I completely agree with @jkopel ! This is such a good trick and i dont know if I would have come up with it on my own! so thank you for sharing!


I would have never thought of mesh drywall tape- thank you so much for sharing!!


I was just looking a big leftover roll of mesh drywall tape, wondering why I hadn’t buried it in storage. Now I know!


Thanks for the fantastic tip. I can’t wait to get my glowforge. Does anyone have a tip on how to keep small pieces from falling into the honey comb? IE: cut out dots on i’s etc.


Could you use a fine wire mesh under your workpiece, sort of like a tray? I don’t know much about lasers, but from my few readings it sounds like the laser wouldn’t cut it, and the heat would still be able to dissipate downwards.


That makes perfect sense. Thank you. Your right, everything I have read indicates that the metal may become etched, but should remain pretty much intact. Thanks for the tip buddy.


This makes me realize that I have no idea about the size of the honeycomb. @aeva or @kevinmcvey would it be possible to get a photo of a ruler sitting on the grid?



Aaand you are awesome!


Using drywall tape is clever, and vastly less brutish than my usual “make a glove out of blue painters tape” trick. :smile:


@aeva who let that metric ruler across the border into the US. I thought you guys had laws against base ten measuring systems. Too French or something :stuck_out_tongue:

And @HalifaxJoel. It’s an idea, I hope someone with more laser experience pops up and says if it’s a good one. Thought the 1/4 inch / 6mm mesh in there already seems pretty small.


Another possibility is to use Glad Press N Seal; you might already have some in your kitchen. Works for paper pieces anyway.


By the way, if you LOSE tiny pieces on the floor after Forging them (which will definitely happen at some point), put a piece of pantyhose over the tip of your vacuum cleaner hose with a rubber band. Vacuum around the area of your Forge and your little pieces will end up stuck on face of the pantyhose.


Like that one @morganstanfield. Also helpful around the shop for small screws I always manage to lose. Thought I might get some odd looks from co workers for having panty hose…


Heh–got to break down those gender roles, bud. BTW, I learned this trick from jewelers–when they lose a 1/2 carat diamond or a chunk of gold on their floor, they don’t wait around for the dog to eat it.


millimeters… !?


I design exclusively in millimeters while the mechanical folk prefer to stick with inches. It causes some tension within the office especially when I ask them to repeat a measurement in ‘real’ units.


:grinning: I am a strong believer that one should have a strong grasp of both measurement systems (even though the metric system is so much more straightforward than the imperial - duodecimal - system.) I feel like a traitor to my american blood :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: