We're planning a beer tasting party to improve our knowledge of beer flavors. So what better way to get started, than with a nice new set of tasting glasses, each etched for approximately 3 oz pours and numbered 1 to 10.
I whipped up these glasses at TechShop SF over the course of 2 2-hour sessions plus a few hours at home to mock up the design. If you don't enjoy beer, I'm sure you could adapt these instructions to some fun cocktail or party glasses.
Step 1: Materials & Equipment
- Lasercutter with Rotary Attachment (Epilog Helix 60-Watt Laser Cutter or anything that can etch clear glass)
- Computer with Adobe Illustrator
- Glasses to Etch (You can get the best bulk prices from restaurant and kitchen websites)
- Nonpermanent marker
Step 2: Measure Your Glass
First get the general measurement of your glass. You'll need the height and the circumference.
The circumference can be easily obtained by wrapping a string around the glass and measuring the length. If your glasses have an uneven side, you'll need to take a few circumference measurements so you can properly mock it up in Illustrator. My glasses are straight-sided, so I only needed one.
Step 3: Measure Your Pour
Next you need to measure your pour. Since I have a box of 5.5 oz glasses, I opted for a 3 oz pour which leaves plenty of room for foam while still offering enough beer to get a good taste.
Set your sample glass on a flat surface and pour 3 oz. of water into it. Once the water line has settled, carefully mark the outside of the glass with a non-permanent marker.
Measure from the base of the glass to the mark you've made. You'll use this to mark your pour in the next step.
Step 4: Design Your Glass
Once you have your measurements, it’s time to move into Illustrator. Create a new document that is the exact size of your glass as if you were to roll it flat. The width of your document is the height of your glass and the document height is the circumference. The left-hand side will be the open top of the glass, so create your design with that in mind.
First use your pour measurement and the built in ruler to mark the pour line near the bottom of your file. A straight line is the easiest and most classic pour line. Adjust the width of the line as desired.
Next add in numbers or whatever other design you want approximately 1/3 of the way from the top of the file. Turn it on its side so everything is pointing the same way.
At this point, you should print out your design and wrap it around your sample glass until you're happy with the way your design will look. I balanced the numbers opposite to the pour line, but you can do whatever you wish. Just remember that the length of your file will actually wrap around the glass, so if you put two elements at opposite ends of the file, they will be touching on the etched glass.
Once you're satisfied, save your file and head to TechShop (or other maker space with a lasercutter).
Step 5: Etch the Glasses
Set up the rotary attachment for the lasercutting machine you have access to and prepare your first glass for cutting.
Open your file in Illustrator and prep it to print. On the Epilog Helix 60-Watt lasercutters at TechShop SF, I used the following settings:
- Speed: 55
- Power: 90
- Raster Setting: Jasper
Test and tweak as needed and then laser cut your taster glasses. If making several sets, it's faster to cut matching glasses together (all the ‘1s’ for example) rather than changing the print file each time.
Step 6: Wash & Sip
Now that the etching is complete, run your glasses through a dishwasher or hand wash them to clean up the glass shards. The cut edges of the design may be a bit rough, but this will wear away with time.
Begin your education on beer in style.