Engraving on both sides of a coaster

Hey folks. I’ve been looking around on the forums but couldn’t find what I needed:

I’m making simple coasters with a design on both sides. It’s not clear to me how to perfectly align the front and back images. Where I place the design in the GF interface doesn’t match where it cuts the wood - for example, my design is 1.5 inches from the bottom, but it cuts the wood about 0.5 inches from the bottom. Given that, how can I engrave on one side of the wood, flip it in the GF and engrave the other side and cut the coaster?

Thanks for the help!

Michael

The best way is to do the design of both sides and superimpose them one on top of the other in different colors in your design software, with a cut line in yet a different color.
The different colors will show as separate operations on the left sidebar.

Put a piece of cardboard on the bed and secure it so it can’t move, then ignore everything except the cut line. cut out the perimeter of the coaster, and remove the blank. Place your coaster in the cutout and then ignore the cutout and enable one side of your engrave. When that is completed, flip the coaster and enable the second side. Perfect alignment. :sunglasses:

Oh, and welcome to the funhouse!

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There’s a tutorial for that.

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Thanks @evansd2 and @PrintToLaser. Super helpful, especially when doing just 1 or 2.

If I’m cutting a sheet full of coasters, like 9-12 per sheet, that process of flipping each one very carefully is going to be super slow. I was hoping there would be a way I could do one entire side of the sheet, flip the whole thing, and do the other side. Do you know of anything that would go faster?

Thanks!

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Make your bounding box larger, flip them all at once.

Cut and paste them into a grid, flip them all in one go. This is pretty easy.

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Sounds like you haven’t run the calibration procedure.

Thusly:

koolkoaster

  1. Load the svg. Align on material. From this point on, do not move the art.
  2. Set: Engrave the black Kool Koaster.
  3. Set: Cut the black rectangle.
  4. Run the job.
  5. Carefully remove rectangular cut piece. Flip the cutout vertically, reinsert into the same hole, without moving the surrounding material…
  6. Unset: black engrave.
  7. Unset: black rectangle cut.
  8. Set: Engrave the blue side.
  9. Set: Cut the blue circles.
  10. Run the job.

Tahdah, 12 coasters, doublesided, only one flip.

Believe it or not, this beautiful design is free, and you can do whatever you want with it.

PS, oh hey, I just realized this only works if you flip it vertically. If you flipped it horizontally the coasters wouldn’t align properly. So as designed, your two sides will be 180 degrees out of phase. You could fix that by rotating the side 2 engraves 180* in place, which is trivial to do (the control-] key 2x in inkscape), so I’ll do it here just because:

koolkoaster

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And no, it isn’t. If you’ve properly secured your material, it’s really easy to pluck them out with a piece of tape, flip, and plop right back in. That being said, putting them in one mega outline shape like described above will be a lot easier.

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Instead of making the coasters perfectly circular you could make them ellipses where one side is just a coon hair (1/32" - 1/16") shorter than the other. This eliminates the alignment issue because the coasters will only fit back into the jig one way, and the difference won’t be noticed by most people.

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I always wondered what the actual dimensions of that were. Thanks!!

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Or make the first cut something like the circle with a bump on it. Then the second pass after the flip cuts off the bump leaving a perfect circle.

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Or square coasters!!

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Hey all. These are all great answers. @evansd2, you’re right that I thought it would be difficult to flip the coasters because I wasn’t anchoring down my plywood. I’ll try the anchors linked from your answers. I like the idea of flipping an entire part of the plywood, that will work great. And the suggestions to slightly elongate the circle to make the flipping easy are helpful too.

Thanks, all!

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@eflyguy I have not run the calibration procedure. I didn’t know about it, but I would love to get that camera aligned. Thanks.

While you should definitely do the calibration procedure, the flip methods described here are still going to be the best way to do a group.

If your unit is blessed with good calibration, you can probably get away with aligning the art visually if you are doing a one-off job.