A standard sheet of 8.5x11" paper is 279.4mm tall. I’m pretty confident they have the same size paper in Seattle.
The maximum working area of my GF, in the vertical direction, is 278.6mm. That’s 99.7% the length of a standard sheet of paper. WTF?
Is there a hack that can extend the vertical working distance by just 2 millimeters? I do a lot of work with paper, and this limitation forces some of my ‘print’ jobs to working on a single sheet oriented in landscape in order to fit in the working area.
The working area has grown slightly larger as they have made software improvements over the years, but as of now I am unaware of anyway to gain 2 mm other than doing it landscape. Unless you have a Pro. There is a method of making a jig you could use, but it would take more time and precision than it is probably worth for 2 mm.
Note, if you are engraving an 8.5" landscape job will go faster than an 11" portrait one.
It actually is all about making jigs for sheets of paper. Cutting alignment marks for sheets in portrait orientation gets tricky when the alignment marks can’t extend past the height of the sheet.
Using landscape orientation is always the fallback, but getting portrait orientation to work can enable two samples to be processed per lid open/close and significantly boosts throughput for me.
If you are only using an 8.5" x 11" object, you could use a jig with a basic or plus, but it would require splitting your design in two, using a jig, and opening the lid; flipping the paper 180 degrees; and then printing part two of the print. So maybe not a time saver.
Alas no “hack” as the limitation is due to the mechanics. Guess when it was designed, they did not take working on sheets of paper in mind…
Why can’t you make two jigs in landscape that fit the crumbtray when put side by side in portrait–no reason the jig can’t extend past the laser’s working area, as long as it doesn’t affect the belts or gantry for the head.
Just eyeballing: it looks like there’s about 10mm of extra mechanical travel, mostly in the direction where the gantry parks.
Splitting hairs, they’re only 0.8mm shy of spanning a sheet of paper. I confess to rounding up to 2mm as a riff on the Christmas song about the two front teeth
I have figured out ways to create jigs for two sheets in portrait orientation, but it’s a time-consuming annoyance to have to spend time and thought cycles on this when the GF is so, so close. I’m hoping that someday somebody at GF will let their finger slip, and bump the build area just an eensy-weensy little bit.
The maximum printable area is 11 x 19.5" and its reduced somewhat when the laser operates at high speed, as it can take space for the laser to decelerate. - I’ll move this topic to Beyond the manual so that the discussion can continue there.
I just tried cut speeds from 100 to 500 and observed no change in the vertical print boundaries - sigh - I had high hopes for that suggestion.
Orienting pieces to engrave in landscape can actually significantly decrease your engrave time. It might not feel right, but can result in quicker turn around
I’m looking at this from a production perspective, where I’d like to crank through as much material as possible per hour - and not spend that time hovering over the GF.
Load Time + (Laser Time x Units) + Unload Time
So doubling the number of units per job will decrease percentage of time I spend loading and unloading material for the next run, and potentially buy me enough time to do something else while it’s ‘cooking’.
Virtually all the work I’m doing with paper involves cutting - not engraving, but I think the formula still holds. If I were to process two sheets of paper in portrait orientation, abutted side-by-side, the overall area would appear ‘landscape’ and print more efficiently than running as two separate jobs.
So change your design to work inside the limits?
Not knowing what you’re doing you could make a jig to hold your paper in portrait no problem and cut whatever you like from the sheet. It’d be trivial to get 2 sheets in there and unless you absolutely need top edge to bottom edge cutting you can make it work.
Ah I see, definitely better if you can double up.
I had this same issue when I was doing wedding invites for a friend that were 12” high in total.
What I ended up doing was making an alignment jig, doing the bottom half of multiple pieces, then rotating it to do the top halves. Worked really well.
I wrote a post about it on here a long time ago. I think it was titled “batch production using a jig” or something along those lines
Edit - here it is: Tutorial - Batch Production With a Jig
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