Tag Archives: glass

Laser Fractured Glass

WARNING: DO NOT apply vector art to glass. you can explode glass by hitting it with vector art.

These trials were done with the smallest amount of heat to see just how badly glass reacts to laser vector art. These pictures should help convince you of just how bad it is even at the lowest levels.

What’s the finest thinnest line you can mark onto a glass using a 45 watt CO2 laser?

I didn’t know either.

Common practice with glass is to mark it with raster art to “etch” it. That gives a pretty clean line. But in a lot of materials, a vector line done with very cool settings can give an even cleaner line. But vector work can be hotter so you gotta start much cooler and be concerned even moreso about cracking or exploding the glass.

So I tried. my first several attempts didn’t mark the glass at all or else were just enough to burn off the finger print oil. Good – at least I had room to work.

The vector lines came out looking terrible, like I’d tried to lay down a bead of glue with an unsteady hand. I’d never seen glass look like that so I salivated to enlist my closeup lens.

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A closeup of glass affected by vector and raster artwork. Left to right: etched “m”, two very close vector lines, two more very close vector lines, good looking raster line, followed by three different vector lines.

Above and below, you can see the vector lines with more irregular markings. They look like strings of jewels, or maybe glass that’s fractured sideways into a drip shape. The raster seems a lot more regular and dense.

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Closeup of the “m” raster

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above, closeup of the vectors.

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For scale, the whole bottle

And after all that, the raster line retained its regal position of making the best line in glass.

In case you’ve ever wanted to know, the Epilog will interpret any vector outline thinner than 0.5 pt as vector. 0.5 point is the smallest thickness that can be treated as raster. And I know some of you are going to ask what’s the difference between a hairline specified vector and, say, one specified at .3? probably nothing.

Laser Scored vs Hand Scored Glass

WARNING: DO NOT apply vector art to glass. you can explode glass by hitting it with vector art.

These trials were done with the smallest amount of heat to see just how badly glass reacts to laser vector art. These pictures should help convince you of just how bad it is even at the lowest levels.

Trials performed by another member who had the laser cutter well under her belt and ventured into stained glass.

FYI, the Epilog Laser site recommends etching glass to score it for stained glass work.

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Glass, laser etched, then broken along the etched line

 

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Manually etched (no laser), then broken along the etched line

 

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Manually scored but not yet broken

 

Etching Paper Towel Patterns into Glass

One member etched a glass using the dishsoap and wet newsprint trick. But given a lack of newsprint, he used a class evaluation sheet that just happened to include a printed line. He discovered that the printing on the paper impacted the laser etch into the glass.

This is on my list of things to experiment with – print an image onto regular 20 lb bond paper with the average office laser ink printer. Then etch a solid filled rectangle encompassing the printed paper area onto glass. Since glass typically doesn’t show variations in color or gray scale well, this might be a good way to transfer an image onto glass.

Beat me to this and I’ll gladly post pics of your work with whatever attribution you want. Go! Do it! You know you want to!

Another member didn’t have any newsprint and decided to try paper towel, which transferred that particular texture into the laser etch in the Alison glass below. The design is clear enough that I can tell this is not my paper towel!

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Glass with and without Dish Soap

Below are several samples of artwork showing the difference between standard glass etching and the dishsoap and newsprint technique.

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Upper text etched normally; lower text etched with dishsoap and newsprint treatment.

This was just a quick and small example and it doesn’t show the usual occurrence of getting an etch that looks like it has fingerprints on it or uneven etching. If you’re getting that, this dishsoap treatment is almost guaranteed to get rid of it.

Below is a string of special characters – the top row was etched normally, the bottom using the dishsoap method.

Several of these characters show the clarity that this dishsoap method offers. Look at that “i” information symbol!

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Below is a part of thumbprint art – the left was etched normally, the right using the dishsoap method.

I swear I’m not photo-shopping anything. Nice, eh?.

glass dishsoap

Ok, so what is this method? Just take straight dishsoap (undiluted) and rub it with your finger across the area of glass you’re going to etch. Cut a piece of newsprint or blank newsprint paper big enough to cover the area you’re going to etch. Dip this into water, let it finish dripping, then place over the area to be etched. Use the same glass parameters as usual and etch.

Notes: glass is clear glass sitting on black felt. Light source is from the left.