Laser Etched Drinking Glasses




Introduction: Laser Etched Drinking Glasses

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

A while ago I laser etched my face onto a set of drinking glasses in hopes of weirding out my new roommates. They didn't seem to notice. Or, at least, if they did notice, they never said anything. Any which way, it never sparked the conversation I was hoping for (i.e. "Why do you have your face on all your glasses?"). Regardless... these glasses make a fine addition to any home.

The nice thing about etching glass with a 75 Watt IR laser cutter is the precision and detail. I am able to get highly accurate images onto a round surface without much fuss. I highly recommend pulling your awesome Epilog laser cutter out of the closet and doing the same.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

An awesome Epilog Laser Cutter
A rotary attachment
Dish soap
Glass cups
A container with water
Blue painters tape
A pencil
A digital image of your face

Step 2: Attach the Rotary Attachment

Turn on the laser cutter. Drop the bed to the bottom and remove the honey comb panel.

Turn off the laser cutter. Align the pegs of the rotary attachment into the pegs in the bottom of the laser cutter. Plug in the ribbon cable into the socket on the side of the laser cutter.

Turn the laser cutter back on.

Step 3: Testing

Cover your glass with blue painter's tape. Place it onto the rotary attachment with the larger side of the glass closer to the cut head and use the dial to adjust the glasses height until it lays level.

Raster cut the tape with the following settings:
DPI: 300
Speed: 100
Power: 10

You can use the cut file attached below to get started. Keep in mind this file is of my face. You will need to make one of your face.

Figure out your measurements for your own cup and plan accordingly when making your image file.

Step 4: Make the File

Open a picture of your face in Photoshop.

Use the lasso tool to outline your face.

Once you close the outline, copy your face and paste it into a new document.

Now, apply the stamp filter to it such that it is a black outline with a white fill. You should now be all set.

Step 5: Soap the Glass

Apply a small amount of dish soap to the surface of the glass, being particularly careful not to get the soap on either end of the cup. If you get soap on the ends, the wheels on the rotary attachment won't grip and your glass will just spin in place, causing the etching to fail.

Step 6: Coat the Glass

Cut out a small piece of paper towel. Soak it in water and the wring it out and then carefully reshape it so that it is flat.

Place this paper towel around your glass. Smooth it out to get out any bubbles, but be careful to keep this off the edges of the glass as well, as it will interfere with its rotation.

Also, be careful not to let the paper towel overlap itself as this may alter the results of the etching.

Step 7: Place the Glass

Place the glass in the rotary cutter with the larger edge closest the cut head. The glass will spin clockwise, so position it as such. In other words, put it in there so that the right edge of the paper towel is about at the 1 o-clock position if its spinning clockwise.

Step 8: Etch the Glass!

Etch the glass with the following settings:

DPI: 600
Speed: 100
Power: 80

Step 9: Clean It Up

Wash off the glass in the faucet with running water.

You may want to consider scrubbing the etching with a little steel wool to get rid of any possible sharp edges.



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    37 Discussions

    What is the lowest Wattage that you can engrave glass with? I have seen some videos with sprays and such, changing the color of the glass, then just rinsing said spray off. But I never see anyone comment on the Laser Wattage.

    2 replies

    It depends on the glass you are using , the cheaper the glass the usually but if you have a 30 watt laser at 100% power with like 80% speed you should get a nice frost. If you have any questions ask me on instagram @LazerMiami

    Cool! off to engrave a big mug with Thor's hammer! thanks for the tips! :)

    Oh now thats cool. If i had the etcher, i would probably try and keep going further until they said something, starting with a hand or sometihng simple, my face, moving up to eventually an etched scrotum on on their mug haha

    Surely if you want to weird out your housemates, you should be etching "DANGER - Biohazard" or "WARNING - stack no more than 3 cups to avoid assembling a critical mass".

    Best on weird-colour glass.

    If you open that picture up in paint and click invert colors, it looks like a regular face, so yeah, its a negative etching.  ;)

    i used to have a D!@khead room mate that had a label printer...he would label anything he bought as his...and somethings that he didn't buy...but decided were his by default.....if you touched any of that stuff he'd get all pissy....little did he know that when he was at work...we would go in his room and pee in his air conditioner

    2 replies

    it was EXTREMELY comical when winter rolled around and he turned the heater on for the first time

    Since when the laser cutter cuts images out they tend to look like a negative why don't you reverse the color in the image so for example it makes your hair dark and your face white, your eyes would then look dark etc. Could you try this for me so I could see the effect?

    2 replies

    I have done that myself.  There are commands in Corel 12 and later versions for reversing the picture.  It gives you a more recognizeable picture.

    I'm imagine that nearly everything at Instructables HQ has your face embezzled on to it. Hehe, Great work!

    1 reply

    wow....i would think teaching someone how to make/build there own laser cutter is what people would expect to be on this site.....not so much how to use one.....I must say after reading though it looks like a handy things to have ...but as earlier said, who has an extra one laying around in there closet....

    1 reply

    We already have one of those.

    We have plenty of other projects on how to use various tools. It's not my fault this one that I happen to have in my closet is very expensive.