My pro arrived today. Yeah. Pros come with filters. Filters aren’t ready yet .
To cut the founder’s ruler I just hung the vent hose out the window. The great outdoors did not find me humorous; it blew the smoke back indoors. As I grill over split wood this annoys me a lot less than it would others, however, a fix needs to be found if not for the smell than at least for the 22 by 4 inch unscreened-gap in the house. All but one window in my house is 26 inches wide, so I simply need a 26.5 inch by about 7 inch piece of cardboard with a 4 inch diameter hole cut in it. I have a pro so it should be easy. Needless to say the home improvement gods displayed their normal level of mischief.
First I open Inkscape and make a 26.5 inch by 7 inch rectangle with a 4 inch circle sorta centered at one end. I upload it to the GFUI. Very easy and it takes almost zero time. I know the automagic passthrough alignment feature isn’t released to the masses yet, and I figure odds are this won’t work, but I tried. My theory is maybe it will just cut what it can and ignore the rest, allowing me to move the material, adjust the design and repeat until done. Nope. Either you cannot do this or I’m too much of a noob to figure it out.
Now I think, use the trace feature Luke! So I go back to Inkscape, make a 8.833 inch by 7 inch rectangle with a 4 inch circle in it. This cuts perfect. I then trace three sides and the circle onto some cardboard. Shift my template and trace the two long edges. Shift it again and trace the end piece. I now have a piece of cardboard with a 26.5 inch by 7 inch rectangle and 4 inch circle traced in blue ink. I slide it into the passthrough slot, select trace and some of the blue ink isn’t dark enough. Note to self: buy some sharpies. I sharpen up the lines and try again. The scan is too accurate and it catches some squiggle bits, but it’ll work. I enter the settings I figured out for cutting cardboard and press print:
The fire must be the result of it going back and forth over the squiggly bits. Instead of a quick in and out all that back and forth must have thrown an ember into the middle of the double-thick cardboard and started a fire. That is what I thought at any rate. It was far from a blazing inferno, at no time did I feel to be endangered, but watch closely when cutting cardboard. So I repeat the tracing and try again. Same results. Only as I’m contemplating a third try at making smores do I notice that I am not in the cutting settings, but the engrave settings. I didn’t have any engrave through 0.272" cardboard settings. Note to self: just because you’re thinking cut that doesn’t mean the is cutting. Pay attention to the GFUI!
I could either figure out the correct engrave settings for cutting cardboard or I could go back to Inkscape and make three of the simplest design files ever. I went back to Inkscape. I place the first one using the tablet that is next to the glowforge (my design computer is on the other side of the house.) I slide the cardboard up. When I go to place the second design file…much frustration. Instead of dragging the design with your finger you mostly resize it. I don’t give up easily, so a lot of time is wasted. I figured I’d be frustrated with placing the cardboard exactly. Nope, only problem is with trying to precision place the second file without a mouse and keyboard. I finally give up hope of figuring out how to move a file without resizing it using a tablet and retreat in defeat to my desktop. About a minute later I’m cutting the second file. Repeat with the third design. So here is some passthrough porn:
The lines you see above are the cuts made in the cardboard by the laser. I used the ruler as a reminder of where the “top” of the bed is (roughly speaking.) Note the magnets at the far right. More on that later.
Where I aligned the first and second and second and third file one side was perfect and one side was off a titch.
As far as vertical placement goes, in other words is the final piece of cardboard exactly 26.5 inches long, I didn’t measure but probably not exactly.
Here it is assembled:
And here it is in the window (window not closed yet.)
My takeaways are 1) that the passthrough slot as currently implemented (and Glowforge is upfront that the auto alignment magic isn’t released yet) will work if you’re careful and you don’t need sub-millimeter accuracy. For example, if you wanted to make a 30" by 10" mural with an intricate engrave you could try and try and ultimately fail to perfectly align it, or you could redesign it into three panels in the style of stained glass or a comic strip. Until the automagic works at any rate. 2) don’t let rare earth magnets slip onto the crumb tray. I had to lower the front door and partially slide the tray out in order to remove the magnets. Not a big deal, but when you’re doing a three part file through the passthrough slot they stay where they are until you’re finished. And 3) my camera alignment, at the top of the bed, left of center, is very accurate with manual entry for material height. I am very relieved.The photo above, where the two lines don’t exactly meet, well I wasn’t exactly being overly precise when I placed the second design file. With all the posts I’ve read about the camera alignment maybe being off by up to 0.25 inches, and this being my first try at forging, and it being cardboard meant for a window, I figured close enough. I could have tried harder.