Is basic Trace function done at 100%?

I have a scale drawing made by a model maker of pieces he needs for a half-hull build of a boat. The drawing he made is of pieces of the exact size he wants cut.

When using Trace function, does it scan and then produce the image in 100% scale duplicate size of the original…or…if not, how will I be able to cut pieces exactly duplicating the original pattern drawings he sent me? I need to reproduce exact 100% duplicates of each piece he drew.

I tried it weeks ago and the cut pieces were different in size from the scanned images.

Thanks- pb2u2

One possible source of error is if you put the drawing as is into the Glowforge and the paper thickness was less than the minimum of 0.01” which is about the thickness of heavy cardstock. You could try placing the drawing on the material you are planning to cut, then accurately measure the combined thickness and use that in the material thickness field.

Personally I would prefer to use a scanner and scan the drawing into my computer, use autotrace in Illustrator (or Inkscape), and use those cutlines.


Define “exact”.

If it were me and I really needed it exact [meaning within 0.01"], I wouldn’t rely on the GF trace feature at all. I would properly scan it, (go to your favorite office store if you don’t have a scanner) import it into inkscape/illustrator, and scale it exactly.

I know there are trace fans who will disagree, but basically GF trace is a toy, and it sounds like you might need a tool.


If I were wanting to have a boat design (and it is on my list) I would be using this program as it will even take curved surfaces and lay them out “unfolded” and with great accuracy.
this is the quad view but it will layout the parts as well


No, unfortunately not. If you require engineering accuracy, recreate the parts using the correct scale in a program like Illustrator or one of the CAD* programs.

*If he has created CAD drawings, he can give you the file in DXF format, and you can open that in Illustrator or Inkscape at the correct sizes. Adjust the drawings for kerf, save that file as an SVG file, and that kind of file will create exact sized parts.

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Beware of dxf conversions though, I get some really weird node behavior sometimes.

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Depends on the program used to create the DXF file - some of them use unconnected short segments to render curves instead of Bezier curves, which can make for a choppy looking file and cause node duplications to bog down the buffer.

So yeah, you do need to look it over before converting it to make sure that it’s doing what you want it to.

This is what I’ve come to prefer, too. Don’t (yet) have an auto trace feature in AD, but I can usually work around that. To me, computer files are far superior in quality than the trace feature on the Glowforge, though there are times when it can come in very handy.

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The trace function is designed to create visually accurate patterns, but because the drawing might be slightly closer or farther from the camera lens than the initial measurement you enter, it may not be dimensionally precise to the level of your needs.

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