Ideal Dimensions?

I frequently buy full sheets of particle board and Baltic birch plywood and then cut them down on my table saw. Has anyone done the math to find the most efficient size to avoid wastage?

This is for a Basic GF. I have been cutting sheets to 12" by 20" but obviously ended up with the same wastage I get with proofgrade. Given the size of the crumb tray and the uncut margins of the GF, there must be a mathematically derived nearly perfect size.


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Well, you can cut them down to 11" by 19.5" , which is the current cuttable area size. Doesn’t actually save you much. You might get a small useable piece out of the deal.

How large is a sheet of Baltic Birch? Easy enough to do a quick workup.

Maybe try one of the online nesting softwares that do efficient packing?

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Personally I prefer to just cut off what I need as I need it. The “standard” sheet sizes probably result in more waste for me, but I’m not banging out many copies of a similar design.

I do like to get the bigger sheets cut down so they fit thru the passthru. I have many pieces that I’ve used one of the ends of, that I can just stick thru and place new parts around the old ones as needed.

I just today used up a large piece of “underlayment” ply I had cut a longboard from about two years ago using a CNC router…

I buy my Baltic Birch in 5’ x 5’ sheets. That allows cutting 12x20 (-blade kerf) without any waste at all.

I can also cut 10x20 sheets instead, since a lot of my designs don’t use the whole 12" of space.

I usually get the lumber yard to cut it for me, in order to save a whole lot of time.

Silly question, but I took a glowforge hiatus (needy newborns!) and lost a lot of my working knowledge of this community… is there somewhere handy that this type of info lives? (Max cutting, engraving sizes, etc)

I promise I tried searching the forum, but in an effort to save time (surprisingly precious between feedings), I thought I’d go to the expert.

You may have noticed I’m blaming my ignorance on an innocent creature, but if you can’t lay blame at their feet, what are they good for? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Oooh! That’s a simply adorable excuse! Color me jealous! :smile:

You’re looking for the workable area sizes right? For cutting, it’s 10.947" x 19.45" on my machine…might vary slightly from that on other machines, but almost 11" x 19.5". So i usually just set up for about 10.75" x 19.25" to make sure it all fits.

Engraving changes based on the speeds being used. At fastest speeds, the limit is approximately 18.5" wide - I haven’t measured it exactly. You can slow the speed and lower the power to get larger horizontal numbers.

Have fun with that bebe’.


Thanks! She’s pretty great.

I’m actually trying to make her a wee lamp, copied from something I saw online, for personal / (re)learning the glowforge use only, I promise!

For my own future reference, where does this info live? I looked through the Tips and Tricks section, hoping there’d be a Most Recent Specs post (or something along those lines) pinned to the top… Again, sorry if I’m having a brain bloop and it’s somewhere super obvious… :slight_smile:

I’ve got it bookmarked here: