How to Laser Engrave Glass with xTool D1 Pro
Imagine yourself drinking with an engraved glass having a customized design of your choice, and enjoying your leisure time alone or with friends.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have such customized glasses at your home to make the time more enjoyable?
If you have a laser engraver, it is beneficial to understand how to laser engrave and etch glass. You can not only make your own collection but can make them for others and turn engraved glasses into a business.
In this article, we will teach you how you can laser engrave a drinking glass. You can follow the same method on any type of glass or just a plain glass sheet.
In This Article
- Can you Laser Engrave Glass?
- Things You Need for Glass Engraving with xTool D1 Pro
- Setting up the Glass Laser Engraver
- Safety Measurements for Glass Laser Engraving
- 5 Steps to Engrave Glass Using xTool D1 Pro
- Final Words
Can You Laser Engrave and Etch Glass?
The short answer is YES.
Laser enthusiasts and machine owners would love to know whether they can engrave or etch glass using lasers or not. There is no doubt that you can do that, but it is a must to follow the proper method.
Can a Diode Laser Engrave Glass?
A CO2 laser engraver can easily engrave glass and various other materials that a diode laser engraver cannot engrave directly. These lasers work well on glasses and offer optimal results without the use of marking paper, paint, or any compound. It is possible because the wavelength of a CO2 laser is in the infrared region and above 10,000nm. It can be absorbed by the glass and various clear materials.
When it comes to laser engraving glass using a diode laser, it is not possible to do it directly. The wavelength of the blue diode laser is 450-455nm, which passes through the glass. Since it is not absorbed by the material, the etching or engraving does not occur.
However, you can still engrave or etch glass using a diode laser. You need to use laser marking paper. When this paper is applied to the glass, it absorbs laser beams, which helps in glass laser engraving or etching. Later, the paper can easily be removed from the surface, and you get exceptional engraving results without any hassle.
We will be using xTool D1 Pro, the best laser engraving machine for glass, to etch the glass. It is also a diode laser engraving machine, and it can engrave a glass with the help of laser marking paper.
Things You Need for Glass Laser Engraving with xTool D1 Pro
We need a diode laser engraver, and in our case, we are using xTool D1 Pro 20-Watt version. Other than that, we need a few other things.
1) Laser Marking Paper
We have already discussed the importance of laser marking paper. You can buy it from xTool.
2) Denatured Alcohol
Before applying the paper, the glass should be clean.
The glass might appear clean, but there could be fingerprints or small dust particles that can affect the engraving. Therefore, it is better to apply denatured alcohol to the surface and clean it.
3) A Few Drinking Glasses
Buy a few drinking glasses because you might end up wasting a few of them at the start.
A few trials are needed before getting the perfect result. You can buy cheap glasses for the trial, and once you understand the settings and nitty-gritty, you can opt for the standard glass.
4) Rotary Attachment
Drinking glasses are cylindrical, and for cylinder engraving, you need a rotary attachment.
A regular cylindrical drinking glass is easy to engrave as it can be used on any type of rotary attachment. But for wine glasses and drinking glasses with irregular cylinder shape, you need special rotary attachments.
xTool has solved this issue of rotary attachment by introducing the world’s first 4-in-1 rotary attachment, RA2 Pro, that is suitable for 90% daily cylindrical engraving scenarios. Whether the glass is regular or irregular, the attachment is suitable for all.
Risers are needed to increase the height of xTool D1 Pro to fit different engraving or etching scenarios. When the height is increased, there is ample space for the rotary attachment and the glass. If you didn’t buy risers with the machine, buy them separately.
Safety Measurements for Glass Laser Engraving
Before laser etching glass, don't forget to wear safety goggles. When the laser hits the glass, the beams reflect and refract in various directions. It is better to put the glass on until the glass is completely etched. You might have got safety glasses with xTool D1, so you can put them on.
5 Steps to Engrave Glass Using xTool D1 Pro
After setting up xTool D1 Pro, you are ready to engrave the glass. Follow the steps below carefully to get amazing results.
Note: We are using the 10W diode module on xTool D1 Pro. If you are using the 20W module, then adjust the power accordingly.
Step 1: Clean the Engraving Surface of the Glass Using Denatured Alcohol
The first step is related to the cleaning of drinking glasses. Wipe them off with a dry cloth and remove any dust. For removing fingerprints, grease, oil, and other sticky residues, use denatured alcohol.
Apply alcohol on a piece of cloth and clean the glasses. During the process, avoid touching the etching surface with your bare fingers as it will leave the fingerprints.
Step 2: Prepare and Apply the Laser Marking Paper
It is time to use the laser marking paper. You need to cut the required size of the paper using scissors. Now, soak the paper in water for five minutes. After five minutes, you will see that the backing of the marking paper has been separated. Throw away the white backing paper.
Now, apply the marking paper on the glass. Handle it with care because it can tear with little force. Spread the marking paper evenly on the glass using rubber or your fingers. Make sure there is no air left under the paper.
Use a hairdryer to dry out the paper on the glass. It will hardly take a minute.
Step 3: Set up the Power and Speed Setting on the Software.
Connect the rotary attachment to the laser machine and turn it on. Take the dimensions of the glass and place it on the attachment.
Upload the design to the software. You can adjust the size of the image according to the measurements of the object.
Laser engraving glass settings
Set the power to 50% and speed to 100 mm/s. The power and speed settings here are suggested based on our testing and are most likely intended for the best etching results. However, you can also adjust it after trials.
Step 4: Adjust the Laser Focus
It is necessary to adjust the focus of the laser. Put its lever down and let it touch the glass. Now, put the lever back in its place.
Adjust the placement of the module. You will see the crosshair on the object. Click on the Process button on the software. Click on Framing. Press the button on the machine and frame the image as you like.
Finally, click Start and press the button on the machine.
Step 5: Remove the Marking Paper
After the engraving process is completed, you need to wipe the marking paper left on the glass. Put the glass in water for a few minutes, and then remove the paper from the glass.
Note: You might waste a few glasses before you finnally get the result you want. Don't get frustrated halfway.
Engraving glass using a diode laser is a bit different from engraving other common materials, such as wood. It requires laser marking paper.
Secondly, you need a rotary attachment to rotate the glass.
We have discussed the required materials and the step-by-step procedure. You can follow the same steps for plain glass sheets or any shape of the glass.
xTool D1 Pro enables you to make a wide range of objects and engrave and cut different materials. It is an ideal machine for hobbyists, DIY lovers, professionals, and artists to express their creativity. In addition, it can also be used to start a small laser engraving and cutting business.