Gaps tiling images for large engrave

Hi there…

I have been STRUGGLING with printing a clock that is about 20" diameter. I got the image split into tiles. I reassembled them into an svg doc so its all together (but separate layers). It all looks great… BUT when it “prints” it leaves a gap…about 1mm, between each picture tile.

I then took and uploaded 2 tiles individually and manually put them together so they look right with no gaps in the GUI. Again… GAP.

Any advice here?

I added a few pics to see the gap I am talking about and the main file.


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Welcome @brgraham74 to the community. Sorry you have waited so long for an answer.

A couple things might help troubleshoot. What software are you using to split the design up? Is it a pure vector drawing?

Are you doing visual align in the GFUI, moving the images, or are you doing some type of registration on the material?

Have you got the material height perfect for the preview using Set Focus?

Have you done a bed calibration yet?

Would love to help out. Just need some more info.

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Thank you so much! I didnt wait that long :slight_smile:

  1. For splitting the design, I have tried sesveral approaches. I tried rasterizing a vector then splitting with artboards in Illustrator. I tried taking the rasterized image and using the image splitter tool… I tried placing the pieces manually and using them from one aligned svg in layers.

  2. Not sure what you mean exactly about registration on material, but I have been using a visual align in the GFUI moving the images. I also tried taking them all aligned in an SVG and doing that… both produce a gap.

  3. I tried using set focus.

  4. I havent done a bed calibration besides just the turning on and off the glowforge. Are you referring to a different procedure?

One thing I was thinking of… I have been using the “Brave” browser. Its based on Chrome. I WONDER if usign straight chrome instead may rectify the result? I will try that tonight. Thats the only variable I can think of.

Is there a better / easier way to assemble 16 tiles of an image? I essentially have to do like 4 engraves for this piece, but manually aligning each one is frought with error apparently.

Thank you for any help! We are learning this as we go.

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This will give you the best visual alignment your system is capable of: Glowforge - the 3D laser printer You should only need to do it the once, unless you majorly move your machine or something

If you’re getting the same split on every one, my suggestion would be to align it exactly as you have been, and then click the 2nd image down one more time - basically acknowledge there will be a gap, and overcompensate for it - but the camera calibration might make that point moot so do that first :slight_smile:


I deliberately avoided this one, because it stretches the limits of what the machine can do with a Pro model, and Snapmarks…and you have a Basic machine, without them. And you are limited to an 11" working height. With a Basic machine you are also limited to 18 inches square on your material size that the bed will hold.

The problem with splitting a file in Illustrator is that it more often than not, leaves that little single one-pixel-wide row blank between the tiles, and you can’t even see it. Plus you are moving that around to fit the images into the printable area…

But I do love a challenge, so here is what I’d attempt to do if I had your machine, and it’s going to look very strange at first, but the logic should hold out.

Make the children two separate engraves. (Different color fill on each) but then do not split them. Rotate the whole clock 90° in the design, and the children should be printable in one go. So no splits in the silhouettes. In addition, break up the colors on the numbers as shown below, and make the little center circle a black stroke with no fill color. I would also attempt to work a white break into the design on the circle - there is no way to get that printed on a basic without the pixel gap that I know of, so try to make it work for you, or just drop the gray circle from the design. There are reasons for all of this, discussed below.

After you get the colors separated as shown, you’ll be working with two “halves” of the clock. Each half should be well under 11" tall on an 18" clock face, so the “halves” do not have to be perfect halves so to speak.

You will need to adjust the file so that the file for the top half, and the file for the bottom half occupy the same space, and are oriented correctly relative to each other. First make a copy of the black stroke center circle directly on top of itself. (CTRL+C then CTRL+F). Change the color of the copy to purple stroke immediately. Then create a group by combining the blue numbers, red boy and purple stroked center circle, along with the bottom two gray circle bars for the outline, and right click, then CTRL+G.

Select that group and send it to the back of the stack so that the black center circle comes to the top. (Select the group, then CTRL+right brackets key.)

Next group the top half objects together. Select the green girl, the orange numbers and the black center circle. Do not select the gray top half circle segments, you don’t need them, and they can be deleted. Group the other items together - right click and CTRL+G.

Now, because you will need to rotate the material in the bed to be able to print the top half, you need to rotate the top half design by the same amount. Select the group, rotate it by 180° (in the Transform menu), and then align the little black center circle exactly over the top of the little purple center circle without ungrouping anything.

Your file is ready, and it should look something like this when it’s done:

Here’s how to print it:

Start with perfectly square (or round) material, it has to be rotated essentially in the same place relative to the front door, so you want to get the design actually centered as much as possible on the material or your center point will rotate out of range of what the machine can reach. Put some white masking tape in the center of the clock face, you’re going to score for placement and you don’t want to mark up the actual wood.

Put the material in the bed, close to the front of the grid. (Should completely cover the gridded area of the tray, but not overextend to hit the door.) If it’s round, find a way to anchor it at the sides so that it can be turned in place without shifting it too much. (Something to brace against.)

Engrave the bottom half elements - gray bars, red boy, blue numbers and score the center purple circle at a low power (10%). Everything else should be set to Ignore.

Process that, open the machine and rotate your material 180° counter-clockwise. Try to keep it in the same place on the bed if it’s round.

Set all of the bottom half objects to Ignore in the thumbnail column. (At this point, every operation needs to be set to Ignore.)

Find the black center circle from the top half of the clock in the Thumbnail column and set it to score. You will need to shift EVERYTHING in the file until that black circle scores right over the top of the purple circle score that you did in part 1. Select everything by pressing CTRL+A on the keyboard, then shift everything together using only the arrow keys on your keyboard. (SHIFT+ Arrow will jump it farther in a certain direction) Do not try to drag it, you will resize something along the way.

Using the arrow keys, shift the whole design until it appears that the black circle is going to score right over the earlier score. Run a test score at lower power (10%) for just that circle to see if it lands exactly on the earlier score. If it does, great, proceed to the next steps. If it doesn’t, select everything again (CTRL+A) and shift it a little bit with the keyboard arrows. Try the score again. Keep doing that until it’s an exact match, it will align the parts correctly.

Last part, once you get good repeat on the score, you can change the Score for the black circle to a Cut. Process the Engraves for the green girl, the orange numbers, the two gray circle parts, and the Cut for the center black circle.

Piece-o-cake, right? :wink:


Some people pre-mark the stock with registration marks spaced every so often along a straight edge of the material and then just slide up the material against a side stop. Doesn’t really apply to your situation.

I’m trying to imagine how you would do this with some type of circle cutting jig in the bed of the laser that would allow you to spin the material incrementally and just have the pie shapes stacked up on each other in layers. So the back of the material would need a registration hole in the center, Since you are making a clock, that would allow it to be a through hole. But then rotating just the right amount would be tough. But then the engrave will be a bit weird with it radiating out from the center and joining at the edges.

I got nothing else.

Thank you so much. I am going to read this about 7 more times. LOL

Quick question… I have the Pro model. I dont see the SNAPMARKS option in my UI however.

Im going to try the calibration again. And see., Everything else has been ok.

In regard to the image having a 1 pixel line…it verified that. I tried it in other programs outside of illustrator (Splitting) and viewing them… that lines not there. So it lays somewhere else.

BTW - Thank you so much for taking the time to write this up.

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Thank you for the help.

Snapmarks was a beta program that they’ve discontinued. If you had a machine that had them they’d still be there, but likely you do not if yours is a new machine

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Thank you everyone for the amazing help on this one!

@brgraham74 I’m so sorry for the delayed response. Were you able to get your design to turn out the way you wanted?

If you’re still running into troubles please don’t hesitate to let us know.

It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email