Making a box larger than the print area

This is probably a stupid simple problem, but I am not sure how to fix it. So far I haven’t tried to build anything larger than the work area of the Glowforge.

I need to make a box that is Width x Depth x Height: (22") x (25") x (17.5") for my 3d printer. The fumes from the PLA are giving me a headache. I’m trying to figure out how to create the box in illustrator since I need to be able to put multiple pieces together to make this fit. Can anyone give me some advice or point me to a tutorial so I can learn how to do this?

Thanks everyone!

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Instead of a box with four sides, how about a box with 6, 8, or 16? Do you need a bottom or top? Or maybe your 3D printer can help? I saw nice solution for a mini delta.

At that scale I might consider using conventional cutting and construction using 1/4 or 1/2 plywood. Not every project is best done on a laser… 1/8 gets pretty floppy at scales like that and typical laser joinery is strong but might not stand up to the torques that you would be subjecting them to.

You might also find a premade box that does the job. Maybe check out michaels and hobby lobby, they carry unfinished wooden crates.

I am not sure about your needs but a cardboard box might work too. Cardboard plus an exacto/box cutter plus one or two plexi pieces and duct tape: box with a window. You can get cardboard boxes in nearly any custom size.

I’m sure you could make it work with the laser, I’m just not sure I would.


First, I’d think a lot about what evansd2 said. I could see use cases where the glowforge is still the best, or only option. Assuming it is, do you have a Pro or a Basic? If you have a Pro you can use the passthrough slot for the four sides. The bottom and any top will have to at least partially use the Basic method.

For a Pro there should be a tutorial about jig making in the tips and tricks section. You’re going to need very good alignment for what follows hence the jig. Basically, you want to take each panel that is less than 19" in width and slice it up into parts. Cut the first file (first part), slide your piece through the passthrough slot and cut the second part. Considering the not exactly perfect camera alignment, you need a jig with registration marks. See that tutorial. In the screen shot below is a piece that is 34 inches by about 7 inches wide.

My art board is 12x20. I need to partition the long board into a set of files that can each be cut in the usable area of the glowforge. I won’t go into that here.

If you have a Basic, or for your bottom and cover, you’ll need to make a large jigsaw puzzle. I wouldn’t get too worried about the interlocking aspects of it, but essentially you need to break it up into a group of files you can cut in your glowforge. You then need a second set, or if the first set is done properly just cut them and flip them over, of files. Put together the first set of pieces and glue them to the second set of pieces. The top and bottom pieces have to cover each other, the more the better, or your finished panel will just fall apart. Ideally, you’d alternate grains, but if you’re using real plywood it doesn’t matter that much and if you’re using mdf core plywood, kinda the same thing for different reasons. Yup, you’re making your own plywood, and your panels will be at least twice as thick as your starting stock (you may need 3 or more layers depending on what you do) so take that into consideration when laying out your joins.


This question is outside our team’s scope. I’ve moved it to the Beyond the Manual so the discussion can continue there.

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Boxes have lids, do they not? I would think 2 half boxes would fit quite well on the GF cut bed.

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Very interesting perspective on how to solve the problem! I’m going to give that a try!

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multi-layer box with offset puzzle-connections… like this awesome boat:
(I know, its been posted before, but it’s so cool!)


You can make things that are bigger than the bed if you use multiple layers. I made this arcade cabinet, which has dimensions that are larger than the bed in all directions.

Essentially, you have to divide your layers into sections that fit on the bed, and make sure your cuts do not overlap.

For example, a large sheet that is 19x19 might have the first layer cut like this:

Which is two 8x19 pieces that fit on the GF.

The second layer would be almost the same, but cut vertically instead:

Again it’s two 8x19 pieces that fit when you rotate them onto the GF.

Then when you glue it all together, you end up with a 19x19 piece. One layer has the seam going in one direction, and the other layer has the seem going in the other.

I’ve put registration holes in the different layers to help line things up.

The arcade cabinet I made using this method feels very solid. I used 1/4" material for each layer.


Depending on what you eventually want to do, when I ran into a similar type problem I ended up going a very different path. (Cajon made with a Glowforge)

Basically, I cut out a template for a box joint that I could use on the sides, and used my tablesaw to actually cut the sides out.