Laser etching a T-shirt

Anyone have luck etching a tshirt? I tried it with a army green tshirt and the etch looked fantastic. Unfortunately it the design fell apart when I took the shirt out of the bed. Obviously my setting were a bit high. Curious to those of you that have had success what type of setting you’ve used? My attempt was with Easter engraving, 200mm/s speed and about 10 percent power.

Do you think fast vector engraving would work better than raster?

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I’ve yet to see anyone successfully engrave thin fabric material like a tee shirt. Usually thicker material like jeans works better. You can try going faster. Not sure vector engraving will be much of a difference over rastering.

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Tough problem.
Things that come to mind to try control the burn but still etch.

  • A stencil material over the top
  • Wet the material

Have you tried de-focusing the laser?


I am so glad somebody started this topic.
This is one of the reasons i purchased a k40.
I have tried like 4 times on tighly woven fabric ( i think mostly cotton with synthetics).
I used vector cut.
My experience is that as soon as i boosted the current from 0 to a visible dot,
the fabric was cut.
There was no effect on the fabric using lower settings with no visible dot.
Maybe i will try to wet the fabric before lasering on minimum visible settings.
Putting tape over the fabric had no positive effect.
I think it is possible to find a way but the problem is that mostly you will not have an identical sample of the material you want to laser as a test sample to find the right settings.

And btw defocusing the laser can not really be desired.

To have any hope of doing this you need to use raster at high speed. Vector engraving is going to be way too harsh. Which software are you using?

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If you mean me: I use k40 whisperer

For K40 whisper you will probably want to also play with scanline step in the raster settings. Increasing the step means less beam overlap for each successive raster line pass. This means a lighter engrave. 0.005 is probably the highest you can go before you start seeing stripes.

The goal is to engrave with the min amount of burn as you are degrading the fabric of the shirt by engraving it.

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I will try that. Thanks.