Cutting Intarsia patterns

When I decided to purchase my Glowforge, I had planned to use it to engrave images on wood, however I believe I can use for one of my other woodworking interests, intarsia. Intarsia is making a picture out of pieces of different colored woods, kind of like a puzzle.

This is an example of a picture that I did using many different types of woods. There are lots of patterns that are available on line, but is a great place to start. Most of the work that I do is not thick, so I think that the Glowforge could cut out the pieces. The hardest part in doing the intarsia for me, is making the different pieces of wood fit together. So with the accuracy of a laser printer, how can we loose. Do any of the others in the group make intarsia and do you think it is doable?

I have read that I need to learn sketch up and Inscape to really get the benefits out of the printer which is a little confusing to me. I was under the impression that the software that is being developed would do all that I need if I have a pattern. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

This is my first post, ever and I hope my picture comes out ok.



Great picture! And, we have similar interests. I’m interested in marquetry, and I use inlay and only techniques in leather.

If you’re planning only to drop pre-made patterns for 2D objects into your Glowforge, you wouldn’t necessarily need to use other software. However, my guess is that you’ll quickly start seeing possibilities for other uses and that’s where 2D and 3D software programs come into play. For example, Glowforge is eventually supposed to offer 3D engraving, which I’m sure would benefit your intarsia projects, and you would need 3D design software for that.


I am not familiar with the technique, but your example puts the possibilities on display!
Regarding fit up, the laser is going to be your tool of choice.

[quote=“davidgal2, post:1, topic:1771”]
how can we loose
[/quote]You can’t.
Like Morgan said, all you have to do is drop the artwork in, scan it and laser.
Dan recently gave an example where he took a phone with a company logo displayed, put the phone in - scanned it, removed the phone, placed the chosen material in and engraved it.
How cool is that?

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I had never seen intarsia until I move to a new assignment and was shown and given some nice work. I definitely see it as helpful.
Here is another thread that discusses it, with pics. Yours is nice!


Very nice work, @davidgal2. If I’ve understood @dan correctly, the software provided with GF should work very well for this kind of pattern work without the need of other software. One feature in particular is the ability to choose whether to center the cut on the line or choose either side of the line, which will be handy for removing laser burn and still get a tight fit. I’m just hoping that it will also be able to interpret grayscale from images scanned into the UI.

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