Classic 3D Butterfly Puzzle

Following up on the Dragonfly, here’s a butterfly!

Cut from 3mm MDF.

As before, I got the file from and edited it down to glowforge scale.

I’ve just checked and realised that the Proofgrade MDF is thicker than my 3mm stuff and the joints are too tight. :sadface:

I wish there was an easy way to fix this… not gonna lie, I don’t have one.

If anyone’s got any ideas, share away! I’d like a faster way to rescale these things that didn’t involve manually re-setting the size of 30-odd joints.


What software do you have available? There’s an easy way to do it in inkscape, which can probably be done in illustrator etc.

Basically you measure the width of one of the slots.

Say it’s .125” and you want the slots to be 0.03” thinner.

Now select all.

Be sure the aspect ratio is locked (the padlock between the width and height)

Now change the width (or height) of the selection: add “*0.122/0.125”. This will resize your model so that your slots will now be 0.122”.

Make sense? Widths and heights can accept equations, and you’re basically multiplying by the desired width of your slots and dividing by their existing width.


Thanks for that wormhole :slight_smile:



What software do you have available? There’s an easy way to do it in inkscape, which can probably be done in illustrator etc.

  • Select all.

  • Resize your model.

^ This will work for anyone that just wants to make this design work with proofgrade, and it should be a small enough change that it’ll still fit on a sheet.

It is a good answer, but it does have the side effect of making the whole model bigger.

This is what I did with the first Dragonfly, and the resulting model was a rather unnecessary 2 feet long.

I’ve been resizing the whole model to fit on a single sheet of 12x20, then individually resizing the notches back up to 3mm which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is tedious.


In my theoretical example it actually will shrink it by a couple percent… but in your situation, yes the whole model would grow a bit.

Unfortunately I can’t think of a good way to do what you’re asking without some serious manual adjustment. There are some faster workflows for this but they all will require some manual work.

The ultimate solution would be to import it into a truly parametric app like F360, done correctly it would allow you to resize your slots more or less at will. A similar result could be had using inkscape/AI and clever use of clones, but you’d have to tread carefully.


This is amazing! Did you happen to resize it to work on proofgrade? I’d love the new file, if so! We don’t mind having a large butterfly. Looking for some fun 3D puzzles to keep the kids busy while we’re safe at home for the next several weeks.

Asking for files is against forum guidelines.

If someone shares a print that they’ve made, please respect their sharing and do not ask for the source design or artwork. Designs take work and have value, and when you ask someone to give you that value for free, you undermine their work.

Conversely, you could take the file they did share and do the scaling steps in the second post so that it’ll work on your material.

I didn’t ask for it for free. I’m willing to pay as I’m currently purchasing several files from Etsy. I thought the community forum was a safe place to ask for advice and resources.

Thank you for the response, wesleyjames. I appreciate when people respond in an effort to help, not scold.

I don’t set the forum rules. You did, however, agree to them when you signed up.

To maybe soften eflyguy’s phrasing here… (if I may – I don’t speak for him of course) you’re both right here. (As is @wesleyjames!)

It is, and advice and resources are willingly shared. The only tricky bit is that asking for other people’s work is discouraged. Asking if someone sells their designs is a bit of a grey area, I’d say you’re generally not out of line to ask for that, but it’s a good idea to phrase it as such up front to avoid misunderstanding. The whole idea here is to make this place safe for everyone, and putting people on the spot by asking for designs can be uncomfortable for some… as can be some of our more bare bones explanations. I’m sure eflyguy didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable or scold you here.

Anyway, this is a really common topic that comes up pretty regularly. People sometimes can deliver the news very directly. It’s not meant to be hostile in any way, it’s just that those of us who have seen it a lot and reply bare bones might seem overly abrupt to someone who’s just seeing it for the first time.

The irony is that I’ve now spent a lot of time on this message, which in itself has also been done many times to help smooth out some of the messaging. I’ve been all three roles in this story; when I was new I was mystified about some of the ways we do things, then I was the efficient concise advisor who came off as blunt, and now I’m the one explaining all of this. The cycle continues :slight_smile:

Phew. Now back to the regularly scheduled designing and lasering stuff for me!


Thank you for reaching out, evansd2. I completely understand the guideline and the reasoning for it. I will definitely keep it in mind in future communications. I do appreciate your effort to smooth things over. Hopefully the time you spent on that message will remind everyone to practice a bit more grace when educating others, as you have done so well here. :slight_smile: On another note, I was able to access the link with the free file that this original owner posted and will give it a shot as-is. Stay well!