Clean cutting uniform materials

In the examples seen in the videos of the birthday invitations and that other official video demonstrating the cutting done for that candle holder, the materials were put into the printer, and the shapes to be cut were displayed on the screen, but there was some scrapped material that would have been tossed and plenty of margin for the material and the cut.

I would like to be able to get 4’x8’ standard bulk sheets of acryllic, have the distributor cut it down to 12x16 or 12x20, and cut 4 pieces of 6"x8" out of that 12x16 and be as lossless as possible. Each cut the distributor does costs money and has more loss as they are likely to sawcut that.i expect out of a 4x8 foot sheet i could get 15 perfect 12x16 pieces, and then 9 less than perfect 12x16, but out of those 15, i should get a near lossless 60 6x8 units.

Can the GF be given a material cutting mode to take medium sized materials and cut into near lossless smaller materials? Like, division in half, division in quarters, or perhaps something more robust and let you specify # of pieces? Or will i just have to make a one pixil thick line at maximum resolution template file for the cuts i want to make to divide these materials.

The loss is to the kerf of the cutting tool, whether it is a saw blade or a laser beam. The kerf of the glowforge’s laser will be less than a saw blade, but whereas the saw blade’s kerf is constant across material types and thickness, the laser’s kerf varies. You will have to tell the glowforge where to cut. You could do that by drawing lines in a software package, or in your use case you could take a straight edge and use a Sharpie (a marker) to draw directly on the material. To me the choice of method would depend on how many times I was to do this. If it was a routine task I’d take the time to make a file and develop a process to get exactly what I wanted every time. Otherwise I have a very long level.

The kerf of the glowforge is what it is. You cannot make it narrower and the only way to make it thicker is to tell the machine to make multiple parallel passes.

Right, but i’m planning to cut a 12x16 down to 6x8s frequently. I want to know if i have to make my own template file or if they could agree that this should be a software feature, if it already isn’t…

Plan on making your own template file for things like that.
What you are asking for might be “standard” for you, but might not be a standard for the rest of us.
Making your own template files would be the best way.

@sawa the feature you’re describing is not something I’ve ever seen on this type of equipment. When I order laser cut goods from vendors I always have to account for a bit of room around a piece and they always require that I create and send a file no matter how simple the cuts. From a 4’x8’ piece of material my desired finished pieces must max out at about 1/2" less in each direction. Ironically, the nature of precision cutting necessitates some waste. The anticipated camera functions of GF may be able to mitigate some of that.

The bad news is this is a template you’d have to create yourself. The good news is that it would take a beginning illustrator user about five minutes (and an expert could do it in seconds).

cc @Tony because we were talking about use cases like this.

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Alright, so make my own templates… got it. In the videos where I saw @dan place materials, they were significantly less than the maximum bed size. How easy/difficult would it be to place a 12x16 in the bed and line up a division by quarters template file? Does the software snap the cutting image to edges or corners? In the video it looks like it was just done by eye and dragged.

There was another topic asking about rulers in the bed or not and it was said that there was a bit of an edge to butt up against on the left and right. The front and back did not have that lip because of pass through slot usage. That lip will help align physical material on one axis, software could be able to recognize that as a constant to align with for the cutting image. If the material wasnt alligned front or back perfectly, say, an 1/8th of an inch off the front or back space, could the software tell us that too?

I would still suggest that to maximize material use, some of us more clumsy people need a computer’s help in alignment of cutting images, especially templates. Would the glowforge help us?

Copying @Tony as he’s thinking about all this stuff.