Creating a Template for Repeat Projects

Hi All! I want to verify my thought process regarding getting proper alignment for a pre-cut material for repeat projects. I am using a 7 inch round piece of cork board that is showing to be .248 inches thick. My plan has been to engrave the surface of these cork circles, making a fairly accurate alignment important. With that being said, I started by creating an .svg file in illustrator of a 7 inch round circle. Next, I placed a 12x20 piece of 1/4" maple plywood in my Glowforge, making certain that it is tight against the left and bottom sides. I imported the circle svg and went ahead and cut it out of the plywood. So my thinking is, as long as I don’t move the artwork (the 7" circle) I should be able to import other artwork and center it (eyeballing it) inside the artwork circle, resulting in a template to make multiple projects. Does anyone else have a better way to create a “reusable” template?

Yes, don’t*.

Use cardboard or something else that is so inexpensive that you don’t care. You’ll get better alignment if the jig and the artwork are in the same file. Basically you load cardboard, cut your jig out, place the cork, turn off the jig cut lines in the UI and turn on the engrave. Boom, perfect. (Just make sure you have your heights set properly, cardboard is probably thinner than your cork.)

* Unless you have snapmarks, then maybe.


Just want to make sure I understand your reply. So you’re saying don’t use a material that is reusable, just cut a new jig each time I need to make a run of these cork projects?


yes. the reusable jig will have a very similar issue as just lining up with the cork circles since there’s no absolute positioning.

the snapmarks would alleviate that if you have them already.


That’s definitely a feasible option. I thought that I had the reusable template worked out as I’ve made multiple designs in illustrator but overlayed a cross that is 7x7, thus allowing me to line up the new artwork with the 7" circle artwork. The only issue I’ve had is that when I went to open the svg of the 7" circle artwork, I received an error message. When I went to reopen, the 7" circle artwork had moved to the upper left of the screen, thus no longer be lined up properly.

I think that’s a bug. It shouldn’t do that.

If you reopen the same file in the GFUI, it should be exactly where you left it with the settings you last used. (if you upload again, THEN the location and settings are not going to be there.)

Cutting a new cardboard jig when you switch back to this file after doing other things with your laser will give you correct position for your cork.

Snapmarks justify a reusable jig. They’re perfect for it.

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You could do a single session of cork circles like so:

1 Draw your jig hole. (vector)

2 New layer. (optional but might make your life easier in a second)

3 Align your artwork in it.

4 New layer. Hide your artwork layer #1

5 Repeat from step 2 as many times as you’d like

6 make all your layers visible.

Send to the UI. You’ll have one vector and several engraves.

Cut the vector. Set up the cork, turn off vector, engrave #1… take out the cork put in new cork, activate engrave #2, deactivate engrave #1… and continue.

Of course, there are more efficient ways to do this

multiple jigs at once if space allows, consistently sized and centered artwork would allow for automatic alignment tools to just center everything on itself, eliminating fooling with all the layers etc.

The point is that this is the only way to be sure without an absolute reference.


I use methods already mentioned.

Instead of cardboard, I use chipboard. Better suits my needs. Cheap, but not free, it works far better for me than cardboard.

Now I cut reusable jigs for anything that I make lots of. I use draftboard to make my jig, and use snapmarks for alignment. I don’t use the ruler that was linked, for my set up, the snapmarks have been more than enough. I expect that I’ll have a need for that ruler at some point though


You could theoretically make a reusable double jig, where you make a corner jig (or two) to fit a larger, more ornate jig. The ornate jig could be cut once and fit into a smaller corner jig. It would definitely save materials and potentially speed things up a bit depending on how complex your larger jig is.

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My use case, all my jigs have been double sided.
Snapmarks , but for my use, etching into the draftboard is enough to hold my material for placement. Lather, flip repeat. I even score a copy of what the jig is used for at the top between snapmarks.


No snapmarks for me (yet?). Whomp whomp.


Right? Snapmarks would be AWESOME to get access to!

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Thanks all for your responses!

I’ve reused tons of jigs between different sessions, on/off cycles etc.

You need a pretty solid reference point to place the jig. I use 12x20” jigs also.

So I made crumbtray rulers and align the jig to that. I used a line of tape before that. Either works.

Then, make a 12x20 artboard in your design program.

Set your design up in the design program.

Your jig circle would be one color so it’s a separate operation.

Upload the file. Cut the circle out. Run your engrave.

For any new files, just open your jig template, align the artwork, save a copy and upload the copy. Put your jig back in to the same place it was before and run your new engrave.


you could make a target grid somewhere on your jig, and have a point or points that you line up with a small score, adjusting as needed.

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I’ve done that. The good plywood works to reuse but getting the alignment correct on the material each time is tough. I used the front garage door and an oversized jig. I discovered that it was easier to cut each time with new cardboard rather than fiddle with the material registration.

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