Adjusting for kerf on a delicate design

Hello! I designed this, to be used with 1/8" birch and 1/8" acrylic. I designed it so it fit snug, to be able to be used without glue. My first customer mentioned that the acrylic pieces were too small. I’m assuming different lasers need different kerf allotments, but is there a way to include some sort of a tutorial so the customer can adjust it according to their own laser if needed?
Also, it took me A LOT of trial and error to get it perfectly snug. In the future, is there a shortcut to get it perfect the first try, to save a lot of time and materials?



Kerf size is going to vary greatly depending on the materials used. There’s no universal value that will work for every type of wood, for example. So some trial and error will likely be necessary.


Kerf size is influenced by materials as well as speed/power settings. Two Glowforge users using the same settings might have different outcomes so I am afraid your customers are not going to be guaranteed a perfect outcome.


Thank you for your response! Do people find it ‘worth it’ to buy these kinds of designs if it’s disclosed there might be some user adjustment needed? Or does it just cause frustration? All the other designs I sell have no adjustments needed, this kind is new for me.

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I’m not sure I would, but maybe I’m not a good example. I buy files to save time. If I have to play with kerf, it’s not really easier. That said, maybe put a disclosure on it and see how it goes. I feel like it’s going to be a pain for you.


Thanks for your thoughts. Maybe I’ll put it out for a few days, see what happens. If I have to do hours of adjusting for people for a $3 file, it’s not going to be worth it, although I’m really proud of how the design turned out for me. Maybe I’ll just sell as a physical item since I have the settings down.


I do a lot of press-fit acrylic work, myself and would agree with you to some degree. I’ve found that consistent use of proofgrade materials gives me pretty consistent outcomes, but then not everyone uses PG materials. Once I got the kerf for PG acrylic and wood down, I’ve had great luck.


I’m curious, do you sell your files? Would love any tips you may have. Thank you for your time!

When I was playing with the stained glass look I detailed how I got a snug fit.
It was using Corel, but the concept should carry over to other programs.
Used medium acrylic and MDF, and as mentioned you should experiment with other resources.
Nice thing about it is once you have the proper line width for the material you are using it will carry along for the entire project.


I have some of my files in the GF catalog…but most of them don’t involve press-fitting. The best advice I can give you is to test, test, test. I have hundreds of little pieces of acrylic and wood laying around that I’ve experimented on to find the right kerf. Scraps are absolutely the best to use for stuff like this. I mainly press-fit acrylic to acrylic but have also used wood and acrylic.


I was just noting that my newest batch of Proofgrade Medium Maple Plywood is .2mm thicker than the previous batch. That’s enough to screw up a press fit. So, even with Proofgrade, your mileage may vary.


I’d suggest selling the file with the expectation of having to glue - but maybe note (for those paying attention) that it’s possible to get a perfect kerf fit if they want to put in the time - and link to one of the many guides to kerf here on the forum.


Kerf is a funny thing. I find if I’m worried about fit I’ll make sure my optics and everything else is clean as I want to give it a fighting chance. I rarely use proofgrade materials now, so finding consistency in material can be tough.

I’m cutting some 1/8" inlays for a project soon, probably out of purpleheart and walnut, and those tend to do well with kerf stability. I guess I’m rambling, but it’s all a gamble on some level.


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