View Full Version : Engraving crystal... Wet newspaper or not?

Zeev Goldin
01-22-2008, 9:02 PM
Hello Creekers I have heard from somebody that it is better to laser engrave crystal wit wet newspaper in order to avoid little crush of the crystal on the edge of the engraving. Is it true? Should I wet the side of the newspaper that is facing the crystal? or the side that faces the laser beam? or both?


Zeev Goldin

Stephen Beckham
01-22-2008, 9:39 PM

You'll get both answers here as this has come up quite often. I guess I'm the first to chime in with:

I didn't like newspaper - it can leave ink in some spots when the laser hits it and it's too hard to get the water to soak in so it sticks to the glass/crystal.

I didn't like dish soap - just didn't seem to cut it for me

I like paper towels, but if you get a roll that is quilted, the quilting will come out in solid areas.

My favorite is the brown paper towel rolls from the men's room that doesn't work well at drying your hands. It seems to be thicker and hold the water longer. If you're burning more than 8 minutes - you better check to make sure it hasn't dried out. If you pause for too long before you starte etching again - you can get a line where you paused.

My 2 cents... :o

Thomas Edwards
01-22-2008, 9:43 PM
I always use a wet mask on crystal. I etch wine glasses for a local winery. I cut the masks out using the laser machine and then dip the paper masks into a glass cleaner solution. The mask is totally wet when I apply it to the glass, I just use my fingers and smooth it out onto the glass. Make sure there are no air bubbles or wrinkles. When I finish with the logo and remove the remainder of the mask the image on the glass is clear and shard free.

George Elston
01-22-2008, 11:34 PM
Are we talking LEAD CRYSTAL here? I just turned down a job (BIG JOB), because I always thought that a laser would NOT etch good lead crystal.

Bill Cunningham
01-23-2008, 12:03 AM
The quality of the etch, depends on the quality of the crystal.. (the lower quality the better) The better quality the crystal, the better the chance of it shattering in your machine.. Better crystal has a higher lead content, lead expands at a different rate than glass.. You may get a nice etch, you may not.. I usually avoid it, because of the expense of the scrap creation. If a customer 'really' has to have it, I tell them if it shatters in the laser, not only will they have a scrap glass, but depending on the severity of the shatter, it may cost them 20 bucks for the clean up.. (did I mention I don't want to do this stuff in the laser :rolleyes:) I just bought a sand blast cabinet, so once I get everything all set up, I would do crystal with that.. Much safer.. The cheaper the glass the better it etches..

Frank Corker
01-23-2008, 1:02 AM
Well, I had heard about the lead crystal issue but I have to be honest, the laser has lasered everything perfectly for me without issues. I usually use the white paper that is used by shops for wrapping glassware, you know the thin stuff that is almost like tracing paper, but it's quite porous. I pour on neat washing up liquid first and then let the paper soak in on top. I almost always engrave the wording at 1200dpi and I've never had any issues with heat. That's my personal beliefs and whilst they continue to work, I'm not changing them, images are different and they are usually done at 300dpi.

Gerd Spatz
01-23-2008, 4:17 AM
A good choice (for me) are kimwipes from kimberley clark.
We often used it to clean optics and other stuff from our laboratory ...

* out of a box ready to use
* very thin
* wet -> very transparent
* wet -> more stable than "normal" paper

I use a wet brush applying the paper.

Thomas Edwards
01-23-2008, 9:24 AM

The glasses that I run for the winery are not lead crystal. The winery supplies the glasses. Must be a cheaper crystal glass. My process works great for me. I have ran approximately 350 glasses for the winery and only one glass has broken due to the laser. Upon closer look we found a flaw in the glass at the spot of the logo. My deal with the winery is if there is breakage in the glasses I don't pay for them since they supply the glasses.

Brian Robison
01-23-2008, 9:29 AM
Aprox how much do you charge per glass?

Ryan Sprole
01-23-2008, 11:28 AM
the laser has lasered everything perfectly for me without issues.

the force is strong in you laser jedi

wet white typing paper. flat serfaces are best. B&W vector art. yea it can be done.

Zeev Goldin
01-23-2008, 1:55 PM
Thank you all for the advises so from what I understand i have to wet the paper on two sides the one that facing the crystal and the side thats facing the laser?

Ricky Gore
01-23-2008, 10:46 PM
While I haven't done a lot of glass, I have had good results with news paper. Although, I can see how the white paper or mens room paper might be better. I've done several mugs, and I just cut a strip of paper that covers the area I want to engrave, but I make sure it goes all the way around the mug, that helps it hold better, when it goes around and overlaps (in an area I'm not engraving). I just run the paper under running cold water and let it get really wet, then I sort squegee it with my fingers, to get the excess off. I didn't want water dripping into the laser. Anyway it has worked really well for me so far.

Good luck..


Frank Corker
01-24-2008, 6:44 AM
Thank you all for the advises so from what I understand i have to wet the paper on two sides the one that facing the crystal and the side thats facing the laser?

Zeev, just wet the paper and put it on the face that you are engraving. The idea is that the wet paper will keep the work cool and give the glassware a nice frosty appearance. Thats it.

Bill Cunningham
01-24-2008, 10:02 PM
I must admit, I have never 'had' any crystal shatter in the machine, but I have not had much call for it anyway.. I think I scare them off ;) The only piece I have ever had break while lasering, was a globe off a oil lamp.. It was pretty thin, and I was etching a wolf face into it.. No paper, Just a coat of dish soap.. (luckly it was mine, and I was still in 'GEE WiZZ' mode shortly after getting my machine) Never had much luck keeping the paper in place no matter what I wet it down with.. I would dry out, and interfere with the etch, or just blow away...

Zeev Goldin
01-25-2008, 2:35 AM
Thanks Frank