How do you make sure your material is square to the laser?

I am working on engraving some logos on leather journals and it’s my first time not working with a full-size sheet that sits in the crumb tray. I searched through the forum but have not found a way to ensure that the material I’m using is actually square on the crumb tray. There are no grids I found in the app, so I am wondering how people go about making sure the material is square so that the design will not be crooked on the piece. I have many I need to engrave, so I want to avoid having to finagle the rotation of the design for each one. Thanks!

Make a jig. Doesn’t need to be a full outline, just a right angle like a square (the tool, not the shape), then that would work with different sized objects.

Once you’ve cut it, use that file as a template to align your designs going forward.


Awesome, thank you! Is using the left and bottom edges of the crumb tray actually square to the laser or is there possible variance there? I’m thinking I’d cut something to sit against that, and then slide my material against the jig, right?

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It is, but even if it wasn’t perfect, when you cut the piece out, that will be because you used the laser to cut it.

Wiggle your tray to make sure it’s well seated against the front and in the recesses for the feet. Mine returns to precisely the same location every time, There are solutions for that if needed.


I run rectangular sheets of wood almost exclusively. I use three 5mm wood screws to locate and square the piece. You can see them to the top and left of this photo.


Tape down a piece of cardboard. Design your image with a different colored outline of your journal. Ignore the image, cut the outline out of the cardboard then place your journal, ignore the cutline and engrave away. Of course make sure you use ‘set focus’ on each journal.

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There’s a small amount of play out of the box. If you cut and install these, you can stabilize it and then count on the tray being square.


Thanks everyone for all the answers - all very helpful!

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I would be very careful using magnets. if you can hold a screwdriver loosely at the height of the carriage and feel the tug of the magnets it could mess up the fan at least causing the cut to not go through.

As hold-downs or alignment there is this:

If you very carefully make sure they are on the same row of holes in the bed then they will be at parallel or right angles to the work. Even then getting it correct to half a degree or less is hard.

This is one persons’ system…

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