Groannnnn.

SEE DISCLAIMER

We just got a Glowforge desktop laser cutter! (More specifically, I got a Glowforge and prayed to the gods of company reimbursement.) Someone was selling her Basic model locally, since she got a discount on a Pro.

Both models will cut/etch the same materials — wood, fabric, leather, paper, and more — but the Pro goes faster and has a pass-through slot so you can cut loooooooonnngg things. We don’t need a ton of throughput, in either sense, so the Basic’s fine.

Jessica with Mini-Jessica (and Ben) (Hackster team photos)

What are we gonna do with the Glowforge? I’ll be making enclosures for new projects, since a pile of wires does not make for a compelling project photo, and cardboard isn’t very durable: my Nerd Alert is kinda falling apart after a few mods. I also want to try preparing copper clad boards for etching PCBs, as I’ve been learning to electrochemically etch copper in salt water.

But in the meantime, I had this idea last Wednesday, which is a terrible pun and therefore 100x more excellent. Since you shouldn’t cut food if you’ve already used other materials, our first project had to be Instagrahams.

Process Notes

I grabbed the photos off my own Instagram account; the cover image up top is the Mr. Robot badge designed by Brian Benchoff. I downloaded the full-res image by right-clicking and using Inspect (Element), then expanding the closest div tag and copying the relevant link.

The darker tones really come out best; as with most laser projects, I recommend converting to greyscale and increasing contrast (a lot) before burning. I usually work with the image zoomed way out, because seeing it small helps me figure out which details will be preserved. If it still looks good as a thumbnail, it’ll probably look good as a laser etch.

I settled on the Thin Maple Veneer setting, since I think that matches the color tone and flammability of the crackers fairly well, and it looks beautiful.

I also placed the graham crackers on top of a paper towel, so they weren’t in contact with the metal honeycomb. On my first try, the paper towel was moved around a bit by the air currents, resulting in a little distortion, so I later taped it down. That worked great, and adding more graham crackers helps weigh down the towel as well.

Placing the images
Etching!!!

The timing feedback on the machine is great, though it’ll yell at you a bunch for not using their “Proofgrade” guaranteed materials. Whatevs.

These floating heads are our Hackster team photos :-)

For the record, these pair well with chocolate and peanut butter. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for anything you choose to do after reading this article. DO NOT eat food modified in a laser that has been used on other materials. Tasty, toasty baked goods may be carcinogenic due to acrylamide… but really, what kind of life do you want to live…?

Nick made a custom Instagram border for his!
Maggi’s stroopwafel came out pretty well

Update: I’m gonna try dialing back the settings a bit so that we can get more detail on high-res ones like Maggi’s and Nick’s.

DIY robots, music, EEG, wearables, languages. FIRST alumna. Hardware Nerd @hacksterio. She/her