In the past, I’ve used Adobe Illustrator in conjunction with an Epilog to cut very close to the plexiglass edge leaving maybe a 2mm margin at best. I have just tested my first GF cut, in which I exported the file as .svg (new to me) which was the exact dimensions of the sample wood sheet. In the GF browser view display, my cut looked too far past the view so I moved it lower to match where I actually saw the wood piece begin. The cut ended up leaving 1 1/4" margin from the left and a 3/4" margin from the top.
I am probably just new and clueless, but my jewelry work requires filling up each sheet to produce as many multiples as possible and I am not sure how to setup exact printing with the new interface, which is a little worrying to me.
How would you suggest I setup my files? Should I ignore the visual viewer and leave the designs unmoved? Is the proofgrade wood sample sheet (provided with the GF) supposed to fit the exact dimensions of the tray? Because I also noticed there was about 1" less in height and I’m not sure if the material should be flush with the top (how do we determine the top?) or the bottom.
Sorry for all the questions and many thanks in advance.
Nope, they are common questions.
What you see on the screen is actually the cuttable area of the bed, which is just under 10.95" by 19.45". There is a hidden inch or so at the left of the sheet that you can’t see or access with the laser head, and about 1/4" or so at the right side, since the actual width of the sheets is 20.5".
To maximize placement and use of the material…place the bottom right corner of the sheet over the bottom right corner of the gridded portion of the tray. If you want to use the strips along the top and left, flip the material over after you finish cutting it and you will be able to access those later for small cuts. (Or if you have a Pro model, you can rotate the material 90° and feed it through the passthrough slot and use every bit of it.)
Thank you so much for the response!
The standard plexiglass sheets that I purchase are 6x12". In this case, should I cut horizontally and place the sheet flush with the bottom right? And then move the .svg file to visually overlap what the viewer will pick up?
I’m guessing that I will have to move every file manually to line up with what is shown on the viewer? And that the viewer picks up everything on the lower/right half without cutoffs?
I can’t test it out today but I will try the suggestions tomorrow!
For a 6"x12", you have a lot of options that will actually let you use the entire sheet. I would cut a thin strip of scrap wood into a rectangle that is about 1/2" wide by about ten inches or so, then use that as a spacer along the right side of the tray lip. Just tape it into place. Then butt the acrylic up alongside of it, it will keep it level and horizontally aligned, then you can place your designs in that area. (Or you can use a wider strip to butt up against the left side of the tray if you prefer to work on that side.)
Wow that is an excellent idea! How far from the top can I work though? Because I had the cutoff issue before. Should I always work an inch or so down from the top, and then move the .svg file on top of whatever is picked up in the viewer?
However I’m still unsure if best method is to move the actual file over what I see in the viewer, or figure out mathematically what would work based on file dimensions… for example should I make every .ai file match the cuttable area of the bed, and then fit the designs within the lower left of the plexi dimensions, and during upload just “snap” it into place so there’s no shifting and manually moving things around. Or maybe the camera is very accurate an reliable enough?
What you see in the bed image is the area of material that is available for use. If you always make your design templates 12" by 20", they’ll always be placed in exactly the same place in the bed image. There’s no reason to try to move it around when you’re using a full sheet, because you can’t reach that extra margin.
When you’re ready to try to cut things from your scraps, THEN you will need to move stuff around on the screen to fit it onto the scraps. Right now you kind of have to estimate where things are going to fall, since the camera image isn’t always exact, but the good folks at GF are constantly working on improving visual alignment, so you can consider that a temporary inconvenience.
OK great, thanks! I’m going to try the 12x20" file size and all other suggestions tomorrow
Occasionally I buy the $3 big bag of scraps from my local acrylic shop, so for those strange pieces I’ll totally have to use the camera which is way better than the process I used to do for the Epilog (literally I would take a photo of the scrap and trace it to scale to see the cuttable area, the GF seems to have this part figured out!).
What they all said - keep in mind that right now there can be up to 1/4" variance from the camera image to reality. It’s always best directly under the camera. You’ll want to run a full bed test to find out how accurate your machine is
A way to improve object placement - instead of a single crosshair I suggest copying so you have at minimum one in each corner, and one dead center.
I stuck a sheet of cardboard in my GF and scored this pattern (below), then saved a screenshot of the resulting image before opening the lid. When I need to place something accurately, I can pull up the screenshot to remind me how far and in which direction things are off at a particular place on the bed. (There are more fiddly ways to save a few hundredths of an inch of material, but I’d rather just error on the side of not cutting all the way to the edge than spending the time and energy to figure them out!)
Wow thank you so much! I will definitely try your method. I’m hoping that the offset is at least consistent to my machine, otherwise I will just have to take the low-risk approach and leave enough of a margin, placing the smaller jewelry parts at the edges so at least the larger pieces don’t potentially get cut off.
Wow these are some great methods! I will totally try these!
I think I’ll probably start with trying to figure out the camera offset, and then cut a few 6x12" sized pieces to experiment with margins
Hoping that the offset is consistent because I can work around anything, so long as there aren’t constant changes each round.
You’ll have the least offset right underneath the lid camera.
This is what I do for smaller pieces… I’ve got a couple of spacer bars of different widths that let me anchor against the front of the machine and place material right under the lid camera. I get very good alignment there.
Unless you have a wonky machine like my previous one, which actually had the best alignment at the very front of the cutting area.
I don’t have any tips to add, just wanted to say that I hope you will show us the results when you successfully get things cut the way you want.
Hi All –
I took in all of your advice, and began testing in various ways. I ended up measuring and cutting a margin that would perfectly align with the standard 6x12" plexi size I use – one which takes into account the deadspace and allows me to position all of my artwork top-left of the GF viewer.
Unfortunately, after all this work, the GF camera has realigned itself and is not consistent. I suppose this is why you all suggested I place everything dead-center. I’m not sure how to continue other than to use the “ruler” I cut to at least align the plexiglass each time, and then to simply eyeball my design (within the dimensions of the plexi, drawing a temporary line around it to match it up with the viewer) and move it atop.
I didn’t realize the camera could realign and lose consistency (especially so randomly, as I did not power it off at any point during testing) so I don’t see any other way. I’m confused but I suppose the best thing is to trust the latest camera scan?
The “deadspace” is dependent on the operation & speed you specify.
Is it possible that you initially had a cut and now you’re trying to do an engrave? Engraves require more room for the head to stop & change direction so the available area is smaller than cuts.
Slow engraves take less room for head changes than fast engraves so if it’s close you may fit it by slowing down the engrave speed (lower the power so you don’t engrave deeper than you wanted).
Thank you so much! Yes it happened just as I was going to test engraving.
Wow! Great help in this thread, everyone - thanks so much for taking the time! I hope you were able to get the cuts you wanted with these tips, @10EESTUDIO. I also suggest using Set Focus to fine tune your design placement before printing (it’s new!). You can read about Set Focus here.
If you run into any other trouble, please start a new thread or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy printing!