"Always Right" Honeycomb Pins for Assuring a Right Angle

Be careful: the angle here is not always right, and it is also not necessarily aligned with the laser gantry. These kinds of tricks are only useful for “good enough” rotational alignment, and not of much assistance in terms of placement.

The crumbtray is not uniformly orthogonal, and it can move/rotate inside your glowforge. Ergo, neither its position nor its orthogonality can be relied on for highly accurate applications.

As always the best way to do what you’re trying to ensure here is to install crumb tray boots to prevent the tray from moving, and then cut a corner jig as needed. It will give you absolute certainty of positioning and orthogonality as accurately as your machine can do. ( as for perfectly 90 degree angles, not all glowforges are perfectly square… in fact none of them are, there’s tolerances here.)




This excellent information; thanks for the write-up and links! The Always Rights are definitely an imperfect solution for trying to attain a “perfect” right angle (like you said, nothing is perfect…there are always tolerances). I really should have framed it more as a “quick set” solution for getting straight-cut pieces relatively straight on the bed. I know I like to play chicken with the edge of material on cuts so as to save as much as possible, and it’s always harder when you realize you put something down a bit crooked. The Always Rights can help with that, but they definitely don’t guarantee anything is perfect. There are so many variables to account for!

I hadn’t come across the tray boots before, but those are great! I’ll definitely be making a pair. I recently made a non-consumable jig for cutting/engraving four coasters at once. It’s a piece of 1/8-inch-thick dry erase board (from Lowe’s) with four 4-inch squares cut, and a guiding cross-hairs scored in the middle (I pre-cut 4-inch squares of material on my table saw and place them in the jig, then make my coasters no large than 3.8 inches in any direction). The dry erase material is nice because smoke/soot wipe off with a cleansing wipe.

I cut the jig to be the same width as proofgrade material because that at least sits consistently snug with the sides. Pins at the top and bottom help keep it from shifting vertically, but I hadn’t considered the risk of the bed itself shifting. The boots will definitely help prevent that. Making that jig was also what taught me that the GF isn’t square itself, because I quickly realized that my crosshairs didn’t work as well if I put the jig in upside down (relative to the way it was cut).

Also, thanks for reminding me of the word “orthogonal”. Trigonometry is definitely the most useful math I took away from formal education, but I’d somehow forgotten that word.


One of my favorite tips about making consumable cardboard jigs is to turn your cardboard at an angle before you cut (anywhere 30-60 degrees will work). The corrugation supports both edges, and you don’t end up with a “soft” edge like you do if you cut a side parallel to the corrugation folds.

Also, with tiles/coasters, if I’m doing a hole instead of a corner I like to make my jig holes 4.25" on a side, and seat them in the bottom left corner for lasing. It makes it much easier to get them in and out of the jig and saves me from having to be precise with the size of the pocket. Nothing worse than realizing your holes are a tiny bit too large.

I’m a big proponent of disposable jigs, I think they are the easiest and most precise way to ensure high accuracy. Even if I make a reusable jig, I always seat them in a consumable jig… sort of a compound double-jig.


Just what I’ve needed, thanks. :heart_eyes:

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That’s a great tip about the cardboard. I’ll remember that!

The 4x4 squares in my reusable jig allow the initial wood cuts to become disposable inner jigs because my coasters are always 3.8" on their longest edge. I do designs with multiple levels of engraving/remasking, so I just cut the specific shape of the coaster out along with the first level of engraving, then each subsequent run it gets placed back in the precut 4"x4" square (now a disposable jig) which is taped down inside the reusable jig. At the end, I remove the disposable jig and use it to help me align cork bottoms before discarding (or keeping for scrap, if there’s enough material left).


(A little off topic, but hey, it’s a forum!)

Got any examples of the end result of your process? I am guessing that if you’re multi-masking you must be painting things?

Also, ever tried pre-sticking the cork to your wood and cutting in one shot? Cork can be a little tricky to dial in with settings and it chars pretty badly but I’ve had good luck with it.

Build notes here:


So simple and it took…how many years before someone thought of that? VERY smart idea. :blush:


I considered pre-sticking the cork, but I do a lot of painting and it makes the odds of getting paint on the cork pretty high. I’ve had good luck with cutting self-adhesive 1/16" cork with the wax backing paper facing up (to act as a mask) using 350/full. Nice, clean cuts and nearly no charring (outside of the blackened outer edges, but I actually like that.

Here are some coasters I’ve made that use multi-level masking and painting.


Really great!! Thank you for sharing. I will be making a pair of these when I get back home.


Oh that’s good color work. Nice.

A-thank you, fellow human and/or sentient fungus.

I really like your dice tray. The finger joints are very clean-looking. I saw that you said you intentionally cut them too long and then sanded them down. I think that was a great choice, especially with the purpleheart. I’m not generally huge on natural wood colors (it’s an earth tone thing with me), but PH is one of the rare exceptions.


Check out redheart too. It can skew cool and get away from earth tones. Bonus: redheart and yellow heart both fluoresce under a black light. It’s cool stuff.


Oooh…you just hit my Interest Button. I’ve been doing a lot of research into fluorescence and its applications in first response equipment. How powerfully do red and yellow heart fluoresce? Are they resilient enough woods that they could be used in tool handles? Would the cost be prohibitive?

Feel free to tell me to buzz off and google all of this…I certainly could, but conversation is enjoyable.

Edit: doing a bit of research, I’ve found that black locust may be my best bet for this application. It fluoresces brightly and is strong enough to be an axe handle.

I’m definitely curious to play around with red and yellow heart for craft/GF applications though.


Aren’t you in luck! Turns out I posted about these things.


Which gets you:

I posted about yellowheart but never did post a picture, whomp.

Update! I just took and added pics. Yellowheart fluoresces almost white color, it’s crazy.


Thanks for this one as well!


I tried the updated file and I don’t know why but the pins don’t line up with the holes in the tray. I right clicked saved the svg and opened it in the glowforge app and cut it but the scale is off for me.

I redownloaded and and opened it in inkscape and the scale is correct but when I cut it its bigger than what inkscape shows it to be.
So I finally got it to work by scaling it in the glowforge interface. I don’t know why it comes in to the glowforge interface bigger but if you scale the width to what inkscape says it is then it comes out the right size.

“I like to play chicken with the edge of material on cuts so as to save as much as possible”

Omg - that is such a good phrase to describe it! And that is SO me. :joy:

Thank you for providing these tools (& the write ups too)!


Thanks for this further version. I’ll try that too.


Amazingly ingenious! Thanks so much for sharing this!

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