Help newbie with lid camera, Jiggy Jigs... Snapmarks etc

I am very new to the GF (I just received my machine a couple weeks ago)… but I have been trying to read so much on here to catch up and learn this awesome new machine.

Please forgive me in advance if my questions sound dumb :frowning: I am really trying to absorb all this info and wrap my head around everything and it can be a lot all at once.

I understand that the lid camera is a fisheye lens and the camera view on the computer does not necessarily represent the exact place something will start cutting or engraving. I experienced this first hand when I cut out a shape on draftboard and then put that cutout back in draftboard because I decided I wanted to tried to engrave on it and it did not start engraving where I wanted it to even though I thought it would because I put it back in exactly where it was.

I see people are making jigs for exact / precise placement … but I am just not wrapping my head around all this. My questions are:

  1. being my machine is newer should I still do the lid camera calibration here at the link below… or is this something they are now doing before shipping these out?
    Lid Camera Calibration Beta

  2. Is there a jig 101 discussion that will help me understand jigs… how they help, how to make and use them?

  3. what are snapmarks… I think they are related to jigs?

Any direction is greatly appreciated.


Snapmarks are extinct for the moment, so there is no need to worry a lot there. You want to run the lid calibration stuff as that will set you in advance of all other problems but once it has started Leave it alone! till it says it is successful, even bumping the table could cause a problem as it goes back and measures each mark after it has scored so while it looks like done after it has scored it has only begun.

After that, if you first run set focus before placing the design you can be very close though perfect is hard to achieve. As for a Jig; if you can place the design at an exact place and you do not change it except to set focus the location is exactly repeated. I use floor tiles to create an exact repeatable place on the crumb tray.


Hey that sounds pretty cool…the floor tiles idea. I think I’ll try that on my next multiple run job.


As it creates an exactly parallel line away from the edge I use them any time the material itself does not want to go all the way to the edge. Not having your design hang over a quarter inch on the top at one end, and a quarter inch over the bottom at the other is a real joy. I still have to adjust out a millimeter or two on a 16" x 3" cut but it gets almost all of it. And of course it is very fast.

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Your questions seem well considered, not dumb, and you have already gotten some great info. Here is a link to a jig tutorial: Video Tutorial - How to make a jig


Here is my jig for engraving pencils.

The technique is to have an outline of the separate piece you want to engrave or cut on. That that outline is a distinct color. First cut out that shape. Make sure your engrave design is place within that outline. Cut the design first in cardboard that is affixed to the crumb tray so it doesn’t move. Cut out the outlines first. The remove the cutouts. Put your pieces in and then ignore the cut outlines and then engrave the pieces you want art on.


@rbtdanforth - Thank you so much! I did run the lid calibration so I think thats all set. I looks like it helped a lot. What kind of floor tiles do you use? Would you mind showing me your set up in a photo?

@dklgood thank you so much for that video :slight_smile: That helped me understand things better. I was looking at the person who made the jig for the square shotglasses up here and created the multilayered jig for the shot glasses and I remember thinking it was a good set up to fit all the glasses in there so you can run an engrave multiple times … but I was not clear how once you made that set up how you could be absolutely sure that the first run of engraving would be perfectly centered on each glass… I was just having a hard time wrapping my mind around it but now I realize he cut those spots and kept the jig in place - did not move it or had it clearly marked to put it back in the exact spot.

I have several for different situations. You can buy them at many for a dollar at big box stores. folk here have also made great works from 15 cent each 4" tiles and what does not work makes good spacers. Am doing finishing touches on new box so can’t take photos atm.

@marmak3261 thank you so very much for sharing your jig for the pencils that really made things even clearer for me. I see your cardboard / jig set up seems to fill the floor of the GF, is it best to remove the crumb tray?

In the video referenced above in @dklgood post they use what I believe to be magnets to hold the jig in place… are there specific magnets that are best? I did print out some of these pins - do you have a preference?

@rbtdanforth @dklgood @marmak3261 I just want to thank everyone again for taking their time out of their day to help me make sense of jigs. I am sure many of you have helped other people numerous times on this and it just really touches me that there is this great GF community that really cares and is willing to lend a hand to help others succeed. :slight_smile: I truly appreciate it and pray I am able to help others once I become more experienced.

Have a wonderful day everyone! :+1: :handshake:

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I was going for a total coverage with a large sheet of cardboard to see about a jig I could take out and put back in and still have it reliably positioned. The crumb tray is in and beneath the cardboard. Now that there is calibration and much better positional accuracy with the lid camera picture, It’s not quite as relevant. Now I just cut a new jig for whenever I need something.

One key thing to keep in mind. While nearly everyone understands how magnets and electricity interact, there are situations that don’t get much thought especially in large neomagnets. I was as guilty of this as anyone, and ended up having to send my machine back to the mothership.

When the Laser is cutting, zooming back and forth, and particularly the fan spinning at high speed just behind the laser head can really mess up in a strong magnetic field. There are only three ways to avoid this;
1 don’t use magnets

2 use heavily shielded "cup magnets"that keep the field low.

3 use really tiny magnets that have really tiny fields. I have 1/8" dia and 1/8" long magnets that several spread across a piece of wood hold very well but only very close.

You can tell by lightly holding a long screwdriver about an inch above the magnets when in the Glowforge. If you can feel the tug you should not use the magnets.

@marmak3261 - thank you! Do you typically work with 12x20 sheets? Would you mind sharing your settings for cutting the cardboard? at least a place to start… I know what I have may be thinner or thicker.

I keep boxes that have larger flat surfaces and slice them down to fit on the honeycomb or I keep packaging cardboard separators. We got a large shipment of books at work that had a 10 x 12 sheet of cardboard in between each book. I have a slew of them for small projects. Use the hold down pins that have been posted here or some strong magnets.

Discussion of settings belongs in beyond the manual. We can move this topic to that category and go to down on settings and the like. It doesn’t seem you have a real problem with the machine, just learning how to adjust calibration and setting focus.


Thank you!

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Thank you, everyone, for all the amazing input! Since this seems like a helpful conversation I am going to move this thread to “Everything Else” so the conversation can continue. If you run into any trouble please feel free to start a new thread in “Problems and Support” or email us at, we are always happy to help.

Happy Printing!

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As a newbie, you should take the time to read a lot more before you start worrying about jigs and snapmarks. There are a lot of topics that sort of build on each other, and going through the work of hitting that learning curve will answer so many questions, and also clue you into new ones that you hadn’t even thought to ask.

One of my favorite roundups of getting started posts is here:

I get it, reading isn’t a lot of fun, but the time you spend going through all this stuff will absolutely pay off.

I can’t wait to see what you make :slight_smile:

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