Vacuum/Paper Tray

Yet another paper tray design… This one holds an 8 1/2 x 11" piece of paper, preventing the cut paper from being blown around by the Glowforge fans. This paper tray is intended to replace the existing Glowforge Crumb Tray, sitting directly on the bottom of the Glowforge bottom surface; the height of the metal mesh is exactly the height of the Glowforge Crumb Tray. As such, there is no bottom on the box.


I apologize to anyone who is might want to duplicate this design. All of the non-wood components were random parts that I had lying around my basement. This included the following (w/ sources as I could find them):

  • 3x 1/8" wood sheets
  • 1x Stainless Steel metal mesh
  • 1x 12v Lipo battery ← Could be replaced with an A23, or 8AA batteries
  • 2x 50mm 12v fans
  • 1x Rocker switch ← find your own switch and change the cutout on the pattern.
  • 20x M3 screws, 16mm length
  • 20x M3 nuts
  • 1x small strip to metal

The metal mesh is squashed between two wooden border pieces, forming what looks like a picture frame with a mesh. Tightening the screws that hold the two wooden borders together seems to have made the metal mesh fairly rigid. The wire mesh “picture frame” is then glued to the vacuum tray, thus forming the top surface of the tray.

A last minute correction to the design included the addition of the four square braces on the inside corners of the box to improve the strength of the frame.

I also recommend placing a strip of metal underneath the battery to prevent the laser from accidentally cutting the battery (at least that seemed important to me because I used a Lipo battery.

Vacuum Plate

Sorry, I can’t upload more pictures… The website says I’m a “new user” and can only upload three pictures. Maybe I’ll post more pictures when I’m older :slight_smile:


I like the trick of no bottom, that’s a slick way to get some vertical height.

I looked up your fans, as they’re the real wildcard here:

In particular the static pressure rating of roughly 0.0039 PSI seems really low for smaller parts. I get that these were the parts you had lying around, they’re totally worth a short. I’ll be curious to see if you find them strong enough to keep parts from flying off.

For more on static pressure:

If you do find that your vacuum isn’t quite keeping pieces where you want them, I do like my air assist fan reducers…


Thank you for the excellent feedback! The fans I’m using seem to work well, though I imagine your option would have been better.

This design is definitely intended to be used with a full 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. If you use a smaller paper size then the box would probably not produce vacuum pressure.


Sort of… I think the big advantage to higher static pressure rating is that you can cut smaller pieces and they’ll have greater downforce to stay put. If you’re cutting a piece out of paper and it only has 1 square inch of area then you’re only getting 0.0039 lbs of downforce. Burlier fans can bump that up to .03, maybe 0.04, it’s still not a great deal of force. This is all so experimental that it’s not even clear how much force is enough.

If your works well for you, then it’s perfect, you know? That metal strip under the battery was a great idea.


You could make various sized “frames” that you would place in the tray to take up the space around smaller pieces of material. That would increase the suction as the entire bed would always be covered.


I agree with @evansd2, omitting the bottom was a great idea!

My variation uses a frame that is flush at the front and back, allowing for paper sizes larger than the mesh. I wanted the option of using the passthrough, but of course haven’t needed it.

Nice work!


Thank you! That’s a great idea.


I had this same idea at first. Now, I just slap pieces of paper in the margins. Custom frames turned out to be much less useful than I originally thought.


What type of material were you using ?
What are the thicknesses ?

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This is 1/8" Birch Plywood from Woodpeckers.

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Good point. I guess that’s all you really need. I tend to overthink things sometimes!


I overthink, therefore I overam.

Yeah somewhere I have these fancy BB cutouts to be used with different sizes of paper… just turned out to be unnecessary.


Very nice!!!

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This is amazing! If ever I go down the cutting paper rabbit hole, I will need to build this. Bookmarking this thread for all the suggestions others added as well.


Nicely done!