Is creating a jig worthwhile?

I am just curious if jig creation is a necessary. I have been reading everything I can on creating them but I don’t understand how they benefit you when you have to manually move your design around to get it set before printing anyway. The only benefit I can see is the jig holding your item in a straight position.

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The answer really depends on if you need a jig. If so, yes. If not, no.

Btw, if you design everything in a 12x20” work area in the file, everything will upload exactly as is in the file.

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So yeah - I have yet to create a jig because I don’t do large batches of the same thing, but if you did…

Tutorial - Batch Production With a Jig is a great write-up of how a jig can be a total time saver when doing a large batch project

and this one is a jig created to make an angled shot glass flat to the laser: Engraved shot glasses

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With in field calibration and the set focus function, visual alignment really works so well, especially if you are trying to use up scraps.

the snapmarks thing was great because it allowed you to reuse jigs for projects you did all the time.
But there are some use cases that make a huge difference. Multiples like pencils. When I did 300 coasters for a wedding, having that jig in the bed so that I only had to press print and never worried about alignment saved loads of time.

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I use one when I need to engrave the backside of something to avoid manually realigning it.

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This is what I don’t understand I guess. How do you not have to realign it. When you upload an item it’s never the correct size and has to be adjusted to fit again. When I tell the machine to print, the camera will even zoom out again and items I positioned will be out of place forcing a cancel of the print.

Thanks again for the help.

This shouldn’t be happening. Are you entering the correct material height and/or using set focus on your material before positioning the artwork?

Have you tried uploading a simple 1"x1" square and verifying the object isn’t uploaded as your desired size?

I still use a cardboard jig when I need repeatable alignment for short runs. The position of artwork relative to home doesn’t change between runs or with focus/dewarp. I cut the outline of my object, and then use the jig to engrave as many as I want. As long as the outline and the engrave are tied together in the GFUI, even if the visual alignment is off the laser will still go to the right place using this method.

Because the cut path for the jig and for the rest of your file are in the same svg file. The key is what jbmanning5 said: a 12x20" workspace.

Step 1: Cut out the hole (the cut path for the jig). Set everything else in your file to ignore.
Step 2: Without moving your jig material at all, remove the hole. Place your jigged object into the hole.
Step 3: Set your jig cut path to ignore and enable everything else in your file. Press the glowing teal button.

Because you use a 12x20" workspace the glowforge places everything exactly on the laser bed as it is in your svg file. DO NOT MOVE any of your objects once they are uploaded into the gf ui. If you don’t like their placement change the file. Don’t worry about the camera focusing. A properly focused camera is nice when manually aligning stuff, but is irrelevant in jig work. In jig work, proper camera focus is only about where the focal point of the laser falls relative to the surface of your material. Material height/the Set Focus feature have zero effect on where the laser head actually goes.

Note: if you move your jig you have to cut a new one. Also note, your jig material does not have to be the same thickness as the thing you are lasering. It can be thicker or thinner, it is only there so you place the object you are lasering in the correct place.

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To be clear: worry about your material height for quality of cuts, engraves and scores. Do not worry about the material height for where the laser head positions itself.

I’m surely not the only one who has made a jig for a jig! :wink:

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This problem is almost always caused by the export settings in the design software (Illustrator, Inkscape, AD, etc.) Luckily, this is a very easy fix – just head over to the 2D Software page on the Matrix and click the link on line 9 that corresponds to your design software. Each page will have the correct settings needed to ensure perfect 1:1 sizing for all your files.

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Jigs are great if you want to align stuff with the crumb tray in. I build mine using a sheet of proofgrade and mark where it touches a few spots of my crumb tray so I can get it back exactly where it was last time I used it.

Unfortunately they’re way less useful with the crumb tray removed. Those of us who have the discontinued beta snapmarks feature have an easy solution to make jigs work without the crumb tray but unfortunately where they are no longer developing that feature jigs on larger objects involve a lot of fussing to get aligned right.

I never remove my jig from the machine. I just push my material right into the corner of the jig everytime.

My designs are always fitted against the 20x12 document (actually 420 x 276 for me - most of my materials are A3 sized and you can only cut 276 deep).

Only time I ever move anything in the UI is when I am trialling stuff over and over and/or using scraps.

My designs always try to maximise use of the whole sheet - or to cut off a consistent size sheet (for example I often cut 210mm squares from A4 sheets with a standard size bit left over. This gives me standard sized scraps which makes it easy to re-use those because again I can design knowing the size I’m fitting to.

With this method I waste a minimum of time and actually a minimum of material too.

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Same pretty much. When I make puzzles, I don’t even need the camera, since everything is aligned properly in the file.

What is the difference between the two? If I tell the GF that the material height is .25 inches will it not get that same measurement when it autofocuses? I don’t see the need to enter a material height when the machine should get that measurement anyway.

If I have a piece of wood to engrave that is 1.25 inches in height I can remove the tray, drop in the material, load a file and go. Why do I need to tell the GF it’s 1.25 inches in height. Will the machine recognize that the surface of the material is .75 inches from the lens?

Thanks all for the tips and discussion, it is truly helpful.

I regularly use jigs without the crumb tray.

See the rat skull for an example.

How do you get perfect aligns each time? Do you have to move your image each time or do you have some setup that allows you to sit material back in the exact spot each time?

I include the jig cut in the svg with the other actions. So I’m this case there was a photo of the skull with an svg path around its outline and the engrave vector laid on top. Everything is all aligned in the svg.

Setup the jig material at tray height

Move the entire contents of the svg into place on the jig material (cardboard here)

Cut jig outline, ignore everything else.

Remove jig cutout. Insert actual piece (rat skull) into the jig.

Change ui actions to ignore jig cut and turn on the engrave

Engrave away.

This process has served me well on my cork coasters and other thick materials.

So your jigs end up being more one time/session use? I’ve built a bunch that I use multiple times and in the case of my dice jig I have to take the material out, rearrange the dice to cut new faces and then place them back in the laser. I’ve yet to find a good way to do this without snap marks on my jig

The Set Focus does two things. It tells the glowforge the distance to the top of the material. This impacts the quality of cuts, scores and engraves. The second thing it does is it dewarps the lid camera. This affects what you see on your computer
monitor. You can ignore what you see on the screen if you’re doing the jig correctly. Generally stuff on the screen will look like it is off. It still scares me and I’m nearly at two years. Take a breath and trust in the force.


7thstartech

Owner

August 14


caribis2: caribis2:

caribis2:

Don’t worry about the camera focusing.

To be clear: worry about your material height for quality of cuts, engraves and scores. Do not worry about the material height for where the laser head positions itself.

Don’t worry about the camera focusing.

What is the difference between the two? If I tell the GF that the material height is .25 inches will it not get that same measurement when it autofocuses? I don’t see the need to enter a material height when the machine should
get that measurement anyway.

If I have a piece of wood to engrave that is 1.25 inches in height I can remove the tray, drop in the material, load a file and go. Why do I need to tell the GF it’s 1.25 inches in height. Will the machine recognize that the
surface of the material is .75 inches from the lens?

Thanks all for the tips and discussion, it is truly helpful.

1 Like