While anxiously awaiting my Glowforge, I am thinking about some projects that would involve my CNC router as well. For example, for thicker material, cut out a shape with the router and then engrave a design on the surface with the Glowforge.
In my experience with my router, I’ve found that it is more reliable to base my designs around the machine’s (0,0) XY home point since that is something I can find with good repeatability. I’ve also developed some jig and fixturing techniques to be able to replicate a design or reliably work on both sides of a piece of material.
Does anyone have any tips on how to arrange the workflow between the router and the Glowforge to make this process as seamless as possible? For example, which process should go first? I’m thinking it might be best to do the following.
- engrave the Glowforge design on the material
- simultaneously have the Glowforge cut (as deep as possible, if not all the way through the workpiece) some location holes on the material that are outside of the finished boundaries of the project
- If the Glowforge can’t go all the way through, say for example on a 2" thick piece of hardwood, use these location holes as drill guides to drill all the way through the material - might need drill press to make sure holes are perpendicular to the workpiece
- use the CNC router to drill holes at corresponding locations on the wasteboard
- use same diameter plastic pins to line up the Glowforge-located holes on the workpiece with the CNC-routered holes on the wasteboard.
- run the program on the router to finish off the project
Curious to see if others have tried a similar approach or if there are any suggestions on achieving this desired result. Also curious to figure out how to do a precise alignment when the workflow is in the opposite direction - i.e. routered first and then lasered second. Or maybe there are multiple steps back and forth depending on the project. Ideally, the camera on the Glowforge would help with the alignment process, but from what I’ve read, the alignment process is not all the way worked out and might not get down to the same level of precision as I’m thinking of here.