How to Laser Engrave on Glass with xTool D1 Pro
Imagine yourself drinking with an engraved drinking 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 engrave/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 Glass?
The short answer is YES.
We have seen CO2 lasers engraving and etching glass, and it is pretty easy to do with it. But when it comes to diode laser machines, the first question arises whether a diode laser can etch glass or not.
Can a Diode Laser Engrave Glass?
In simple words, a diode laser is not powerful enough to etch glass alone. If you put a glass under a diode laser machine for engraving, you won’t see the results you need because it cannot generate the heat needed to engrave the glass.
But if you apply tempera paint or a cold galvanizing compound on the surface, it is possible to engrave the glass using a diode laser engraver machine. The paint or compound sticks to the surface of the glass; there is no space left for the heat to escape.
Due to this, when the laser beams are applied, heat is created and trapped. It increases temperature rapidly, and finally, the required temperature to etch glass is reached.
We will be using xTool D1 Pro, the best laser engraving machine for glass, in this guide to etch the glass. It is also a diode laser machine, and it can engrave a glass with the help of tempera paint or a cold galvanizing compound.
Things You Need for Glass Engraving with xTool D1 Pro
Obviously, we need a diode laser machine, and in our case, we are using xTool D1 Pro 10 Watt version. Other than that, we need a few other things.
1) Tempera Paint or Cold Galvanizing Compound
We have already discussed the importance of these two things. You can buy any tempera paint, but it is better to have a spray paint gun to uniformly coat the surface.
You can also use a foam brush, but the coat will not be as uniform as you want. However, it can still do the job, and you can go for it. But make sure to make the coating as uniform as possible; there shouldn’t be any area left uncovered.
The cold galvanizing compound is available in spray bottles, and it is better for those who do not have a spray gun. It can be applied evenly and offer excellent results.
2) Lacquer Thinner
Lacquer thinner is needed to remove the paint or cold galvanizing compound after etching.
Once you apply a little bit of thinner over the surface of the glass, the paint or flakes start to come out. Without applying pressure on the glass, the paint or compound is removed with perfection.
3) Denatured Alcohol
Before applying paint and cold galvanizing spray, 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.
4) 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.
5) Rotary Attachment
Drinking glasses are cylindrical, and for engraving cylindrical objects, 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.
Setting up the Glass Laser Engraver
Setting up xTool D1 Pro is relatively easy. You need to set it up like your regular engraving task.
Follow this assembly and first-use guide of xTool D1 Pro.
Safety Measurements for Glass Laser Engraving
Before etching glass using a laser, make sure the area is well-ventilated. The fumes that come out due to the paint and cold galvanizing compound are potent and harmful. Whenever you are using the machine, install a few fans and open the windows. If there is an exhaust fan or ventilation system, turn it on.
Secondly, 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: Spray Cold Galvanizing Compound to the Glass Surface.
It is time to use the tempera paint or cold galvanizing compound. You need to avoid spraying inside the glass. For that, you can either cover the glass using duct tape or put the glass upside down.
Now, apply a thin and uniform coat. If the coat is not uniform, the etching will not be perfect; some areas will be etched more while some will be etched less. It is better to apply the coat in a ventilated area.
Step 3: Set up the Power and Speed Setting on the Software.
After applying the coat, let the glass dry. When it is completely dry, take the measurements (the width and length) and place it over the rotary attachment. Upload the design to the software.
On the software, you can adjust the size of the image according to the measurements of the object. Choose the Coated Metal material in the settings.
Laser engraving glass settings
Then, set the power to 100% and speed to 70 mm/s. The settings here are suggested based on our testing and most likely intended for the best etching results.
Step 4: Adjust the Laser Focus
Adjust the placement of the module. You will see the crosshair on the object. Now, adjust the focus of the laser. Set the position of the laser in the middle, and don’t forget to turn on Cylinder Working. Click on Start to begin engraving.
Step 5: Wipe off the cold galvanizing compound to show the engraved image.
After the engraving process is completed, you need to wipe off all the cold galvanizing compuond to get a clean drink glass with a beautifully etched image on it.
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 a coating of paint or galvanizing compound to carry out the process.
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 other 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.