Material Placement to Minimize Waste

Hi all,

I’m a newbie and am trying to learn as much as I can quickly so I can get selling. I’m attempting to make several key chains and waste as little of my acrylic as possible in the process. I set my artboard to 20 x 12in, and my material is 19 x 12in. Do you have any tips for where and how to place my material so that I consistently make the best use of my material? Do I just need to align my material to the bottom right corner instead of the left?

Tonight my SVG looked like this:

And then uploaded it to the glowforge platform:

Even though my content is aligned on the far top left corner in illustrator, my actual print had quite a bit of gap between my content and the actual edge of my material. Thoughts?? Thanks in advance for your help… my brain is total mush at this point!

The camera shows the usable area of your bed, not the actual bed. If you look at the printhead in the home position, you will see there is material behind and to the left of it. This area cannot be accessed by the printhead. Orient your artwork relative to the lower right corner.


Yup this :point_up_2:. It’s totally counter intuitive.


If you want to go nuts with maximizing efficiency, check out:

But I just arrange things by eye and try not to sweat a little waste. Life’s too short.


You have a bit under 19.5" and a bit under 11" vertically to put in a single cut. so starting at the Lower Right will move all the unused pieces into a single piece. However if you cut one piece a bit under 6" high, then when you make another cut it will fit in the remaining 6". The same idea works to get the full 20" as well.

You can also plan to use most of the material also. If I make a box 5.25" x 5.25" x 7.5" it will take up one entire cutting area and that will certainly minimize waste. You could even make the remains into rulers to pass out to friends and have less waste than will fit in a dixie cup.


What I usually do when I want to maximize a sheet of material is to cut as many as I can starting from the bottom (closest to the front of the machine) and then I turn it around to reach the rest of the sheet.

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