Tip for laser cutting complex designs // use glass

I had a thought the other day, just did an experiment and was delighted with the results.

I have been considering laser cutting some very complex designs out of card stock and was concerned about how to secure the card stock. Even taping or securing the edges would be problematic as interior cuts of the piece could (and usually would) free up enough card material to curl or blow into subsequent cuts.

The fix?.. just lay a piece of glass over the card stock.

I suspect that I’m not the first to try this, but I haven’t found anyone else reporting on it. It works great! I did clean the glass thoroughly first with degreasing solution. Also, if you plan on multiple cuts, you need to clean the glass each time, as carbon will be deposited on the glass on the bottom from the cut card stock.

But it works. I’m pretty excited about it because it will eliminate errors on complex cuts.

I should point out that I used 3/16" glass. Given that the focal length of the laser is about 26mm (1") and the laser shroud is over 1/2", there’s not a whole lot of clearance. But it works! :slight_smile:


I’m going to try this too.

It does take more power/passes to do the same cut.
I also found one interesting side effect was on cutting with multiple passes on black poster board I was trying to cut for a puzzle, the flashback deeply carved the puzzle pattern in the glass. So it ended up looking really cool, but was only good for a single use. I still need to try playing with this result to see how it would work to actually etch glass.


First, I can’t wait to see all the Standard Ortur YouTubers claim this was their idea and pump out quick videos… or put their name on it like “Donny’s Hack” or “The Freddy Method” something :slight_smile:

I tried something like this with a small piece of glass on top of paper, to hold it down as you did. I noticed it would etch the glass a tiny bit, a good result on the paper, not so much for the glass. I assume it was the heat/material contained/reflected. I guess I could keep trying things to make the result better if I was actually trying to etch the glass, but the point being that the glass was “ruined” at least as far as doing anything else with it. The etch wasn’t much but when the glass gets any pits in it, I can’t really rely on using it again as it might distort the beam.

Did that not happen to you?

I placed a half piece of glass over some cardstock (65lb) and cut both through and outside the glass in the same job. I did this because I only had a small piece of glass (about 4x10), and my job was about 8x8 (I have an A350). I also thought it was an interesting experiment to see what happened at the “boundaries.”

The cut was effective through and outside the glass. At the boundary, the cardstock wasn’t cut all the way through, but this was somewhat expected, as the “edge” of the glass disperesed the laser beam.

I don’t frankly remember where I got the glass. It was probably “Home Depot” and was probably a higher quality glass than what you would get for a picture frame.

Also,for your last question, the laser did not etch the glass, as far as I can tell (the “benefit” of a 1.6W laser?). The process DID deposit carbon on the glass, but some degreaser and elbow grease cleaned it up. I did two different runs with the same glass…

Is it possible that your glass was
a) lower quality; AND/OR
b) had some “color” to it (which might respond to the laser); AND/OR
c) had some surface contaminants or tinting?


P.S. [Edit added] - My experiments were on very light (pink) cardstock. It’s possible that the “flashback” may possible have higher potential for etching if the target stock is darker.

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