Kerf = beam width? Not cutting away too much material

Hi all,

I know there are a million posts on kerf. I’ve been trying to read some of them to get up to speed but wanted to reach out with my perspective. I’m designing a part which uses some screws and I want it to be a nice tight fit. I am using illustrator and OK with vector design but not great…

So for example, say it’s a M4 screw, if I want to cut a hole that allows this M4 screw to fit, not too tight, not too loose, my first thought is to go for the shape tool and create a circle.

I would create a circle with a 4mm width and height… but what would my stroke width be so that I don’t end up cutting out more of the material (and by effect creating so much space the screw has too much “wiggle” room?)

In general - is that a stroke setting (in millimeters) that you should set so that you get a good cut - but excessive material is not taken away… I know the GF can cut pretty thin.

Does the thickness affect speed - or in this case is it so minuscule that it’s not an issue?

I know illustrator is not the best tool for this and I would be better in fusion 360 or something similar, but this is where I’m at now! :slight_smile:


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Stroke is ignored by the gfui so just make them as thin as possible and still see them.
As to fit and kerf, experimenting is the best practice imo.


If stroke is ignored by GFUI (will this always be the case?) - how do you adjust the width of a cut or engrave (if I wanted to adjust this in the future!) ?

Thanks! :sunglasses:

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I use a generic offset of 0.1 mm to 0.15 mm for 1/8" materials and it gives a nice snug fit.


I expect it will stay the same by design.

If you want to cut the width of the stroke then do an expand stroke and you will get the outline of the stroke as a path.


I’m with Mark on this, I sneak up on the settings to get the fit I want. That is a great use of scrap material.

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to expand the width of the engrave, do as @lairdknox said by expanding the stroke (Object>Expand… or Object>Expand Appearance), and give it a fill color and no stroke color.

You cannot adjust the width of a single cut line. If you want to cut something the width of a stroked line, you will expand the stroke into a closed-path shape, give this new shape a stroke color and no fill, and then cut out that expanded shape.


Others have already answered but yeah, no matter how wide you make a line it cuts or scores down the middle. To engrave you have to make an enclosed shape.

Has anyone used engrave or 3D engrave to countersink a screw? I was thinking about trying to do this so that the screw heads are flush with the board. I haven’t had a chance to use Fusion 360 yet, so there may be an easier way to do this that I am missing.

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@mpipes did here is the link.



For me, experimenting with what this thing can do, or how to accomplish it is a treasure hunt - and so much fun.


If you want a specific “cut width”, you’re probably going to end up outlining the desired area to be removed, and cutting around it.

With PG maple hardwood (1/8), the default settings give me a kerf of 0.07mm - so anything wider than 0.15mm would be an enclosed shape.