You can make your own with a sheet of very flat scrap plywood or MDF sprayed with a light coat or two of Krylon #7020 Repositionable Adhesive spray. Read the instructions on the can, and once you have it completely dry, press a clean T-shirt down on it and remove it a couple of times to take the tack down. (When it’s fresh, it won’t let go of the paper without tearing it.)
It’s not as easy to use as the Seklema mat, but it can be made to work. It is going to get a little cut up by the laser, so try to keep the settings on the low side to start with.
Take a piece of plywood and spray it with repositionable adhesive. Under heavy use a Seklema mat may be cheaper in the long run, IDK, but I know how budgets work and the plywood sprayed with a tacky spray will be better in a spreadsheet.
While they are still very useful, they are not as necessary as they once were. Click on the gear icon and use the Set Focus feature.
As this is being used in a school environment, while you must watch the laser teach the kids not to stare at the bright white flame where laser meets material. It probably won’t do any permanent damage, but after oohing and aahing a couple times don’t stare at that part.
Now we want to remove the vertical line segments. Start by selecting the nodes surrounding your vertical segments, and then click the “delete segment between two non-endpoint nodes” button (highlighted blue upper left-ish)
Now when you cut it, it’s ready to punch out of the surrounding paper.
You can use this method lots of ways, but putting custom breaks in the path is what it all boils down to. You’ll want to get dead solid on your path manipulating techniques, editing nodes and path booleans are core skills to working with precise stuff on the glowforge.
Some of these have changed slightly over time. My advice.
Use engrave instead of cut so it won’t just burn holes.
If you’re just cutting big shapes, you don’t want to do this. This is helpful if you’re cutting out intricate designs with a lot of small bits. I still don’t use it because I use a Seklema mat and have had no issues.
We need to use a caliper to figure out the papers width. Done, It is 0.09.
Use set focus and don’t worry about this.
There’s good advice for everything else already. I don’t love tabs, but it depends what you’re making. Tabs impact the clean edges on the paper and you can’t just sand it away like you can with wood. But if this doesn’t matter to you, it’s one way to prevent tiny fly-away bits.
I mask my paper with a medium masking tape (Called vinyl transfer tape, but it’s not vinyl). Once again, this matters only if you care about the surface of the material.
The settings will depend on the weight of the paper. You can search the forum for those and then experiment a bit!