Marking crumbtray to assist in alignment?

I was setting up to create some coasters. I know that alignment is better if you place material in the center of the crumbtray, so I was marking inches on the cardboard I was using to cut a jig first. (File has 4-6 different PNG images to etch on 4-6 coasters, and also SVG squares around those images to cut so that placement will be exact.)

It occurred to me that I could use a paint pen and actually mark the crumbtray itself. Has anyone tried this? Is there some hazard in doing so that I haven’t thought of?

I have a ruler I’m making right now for it. Will put it on veneer and stick it to the rail.

It won’t be zeroed if you’re taking the tray in and out. But, it should stay zeroed between removals.


Or if you bump it or remove a really strong magnet…

Jigs really are your best option.

Not sure what your coasters are made of but if you aren’t cutting them yourself beware that they might not be square. I posted about jigging irregular coasters here:
1 Like

Doesn’t matter for my use case. I align my jigs to the left rail.

The ruler is to consistently align the jig each and every time.

1 Like

Left rail like the lip on the tray or the rail that the gantry travels on?

I’m not worrying about zeroing. Even just a center line both up/down and across. If you mark the center on your jig, and match that to the center marks on your crumbtray. If I center a piece of cardboard and magnet it down, then cut my squares for the tiles, wouldn’t I be able to reuse that cardboard jig by re-centering it and magneting it down the next time I need to use it? Especially since the app display for pattern files saves your placement?

Lip of tray.

My jigs are 18x10.5 pieces cut from 12x20 stock.

All I need is consistent alignment against the rail to be dead on every time. Right now, I have a little piece of electrical tape that is all I align to for consistency. It works. But I’d like a ruler better.

1 Like

This is a bit speculate-y, but …

I’d imagine that the calibration process will introduce some amount of error in those cases. If it were me, I’d just cut a corner jig (or two) to seat your larger pre-made jig into each time you start a batch. you can cut several jigs worth, then break it all down for the next thing. That way you won’t have to sweat alignment at all.

All it would take is one botched engrave and it’ll cost you much more time than a quick jigging process.

This all comes down to your needs, really. Not everything has to be perfect to within a kerf.

Depends on how often you’re planning to use the jig.

Jigs are cheap material. I like putting it against a positive registration point. The left rail. Then you only have to align one axis and you’re done.