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bigal 02-05-2006 09:23 PM

Laser-etched glass tables?
Hey, I've been sitting here at my OsbornAgain glass table super system (OA-GTSS) for the past few minutes just thinking about something. I really love the effect of the cold cathodes shining through the glass table top. I've seen examples of how people can "etch" patterns in plexiglass, and the result can be satisfying. I wonder how difficult it would be to etch the bottom of the glass table top? Say you have some simple pattern or image. You would need to flip it over, and trace it onto the underside of the glass table top. Then you would etch it with maybe a Dremel tool or even a router.

The real question is, would you destroy the table top in the process? How nicely would the etch catch the light from the cold cathodes? My glass table tops are about 3/8" thick, so they should be able to take a 1/16" deep etch. If you go too deep, it would probably weaken the glass. That could be a big problem when you have a 70 lb. CRT monitor sitting on the table.


The Modfather 02-06-2006 10:16 AM

It's very possible, but with a laser? I don't know, never tried, but I've done glass etching and engraving. However, it's expensive to have done. For instance, I have a friend in England who does this, I bought 2 engraved mugs from her (original work here, custom stuff) and they ran me 500 pounds. For a table top, depending on who does it, it could be a lot.] If it's just a laser etching though I don't imagine it'd be that much.

bigal 02-06-2006 11:01 AM

Table tops are big... I don't think we are talking about a laser etching unit here. You mentioned doing an etch on your own, to Plexiglass windows. I assume that was with a Dremel or similar tool. I am proposing something similar here. Say, how about an engraving tool? I might have one of those, left over from my dad's collection. The biggest problem I can see in using that would be the small line it would make, since those tools are designed to leave your name on items. Trying to cover any significant area would be a lot of work.:dontknow:

The Modfather 02-06-2006 12:00 PM

I use this actually...

It's $320.00 for the 45,000RPM model, accepts all sorts of bits, from dremel type to fine jewelers bits and so forth and is perfect for all forms of carving, engraving and etching. It's built to work with wood but it's used by wood crafters, engravers and artists of all types. I also use the Optima I Dual which is for woodburning (Pyrography), one of my sites ( might be of interest to you, Sue Burne visits there frequently, she's the lady who did my mugs, she's a well known and amazingly talented glass engraver, her work is just plain breathtaking. Here, lemmy find some examples.

Here, check out her picturetrail album, she's very good. She's been a member of our community for about 4 or 5 years now. She's one of the best.

Anyway, she doesn't use the same tool I do, but I imagine what she uses is similar. If you join my site you could ask her and she could probably give you tons of advice. Just one warning (I doubt I have to tell you though) the site is strictly G rated, it's mostly older women and all artists.


bigal 02-06-2006 12:49 PM

That glass is beautiful.
The more I think about it, the less I want to jump in and touch the glass table tops. I'm actually more worried about weakening the glass, as in starting a crack or something. I can just see my monitor falling into my lap while gaming!

I did order another "Big Al's Computers" logo laser-etch from Hyperkore last Friday however. I have eyes on finishing my Sun X-Terminal keyboard....:hmm2:

unholy 02-07-2006 06:10 AM

coolies :) i wanna see that keybaord done :)

The Modfather 02-07-2006 07:45 AM

How about this then Al... TWO Glass tops, equal size, with the etch sandwiched between... Like So.

_____ <-Layer one has the etch on its underside
_____ <-Layer two is blank, giving you twice the support for your hardware.

Then you'd have the best of both worlds.

bigal 02-07-2006 10:59 AM

I actually started this thinking about...
....a laser-etched window somehow suspended beneath the glass table top, but within view of the person sitting at the table. If I placed it under the glass, above the slide-out keyboard, I would see it. I don't know if the laser-etch would catch enough light from the glass table, but it might. Ideally, it would have it's own light source of a different color - maybe with small LEDs drilled into the edges (say, I wonder if Thermaltake has something like this...).

Problems to overcome include a way to stick the laser-etch to the bottom of the glass (tape won't look good), a way to hide extra wires from the LEDs, and then you need to ignore it when gaming.:itsme:

The Modfather 02-08-2006 09:50 AM


1. To adhere the smaller glass with the etch to the larger glass top, use a glass adheasive, there are many on the market that dry clear. Use daubs of it in the corners so it doesn't look goofy.

1a. Failing this, build a wood frame around the glass, this will give you two benifits, one, you can adhere the wood frame to the wall behind the desk using various methods or mount it to the legs of the desk. two, the frame could hide the lighting source.

2. Drilling holes into the edge of glass for the LED's would be extremely risky at best. If you do opt for this method, drill BEFORE you etch, you'd hate to crack the glass with an etch in it already. Preferably mount the LED's to the edge of the glass inside the frame.

3. More likely solution, why use glass at all? Why not just etch plexi and put that under the glass. Then you can drill the holes for the LED's and be assured of the right effect AND possibly have it laser etched.

bigal 02-08-2006 12:54 PM

Good ideas...
I like the glass adhesive idea, with small bits in the corners. The LED holes would be in the plexi edge, not the glass table top! I think only etching the plexi is the way to go.

I'm saddend that you didn't catch my joke about Thermaltake and the LEDs.:neutral:

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