Notes on Working with Snapmarks™ 🤔



Thank you for the excellent directions. I am printing a 20" x 30" list of instructions that will be mounted on a piece of outdoor equipment that we just built, and I have a couple questions. I have set my file up exactly as suggested, I think, but don’t know if it is imperative for the first set of snap marks to be scored or can they be ignored. It seems that you lose a large swath of engraveable surface if you have to go back and trim these off afterwards. I am planning on engraving in 4 parts, so do subsequent sections have to be scored also, or can they all be ignored.

thanks so much!


The ones on the bottom of the first section do need to be scored. You don’t really need a set at the top of the first section. :slightly_smiling_face:

And yes, all subsequent sets of snapmarks need to be scored. That’s what the design snaps to. In each subsequent section, if you were to rescore the top snapmarks, they will score right over the ones already on the board. So they don’t actually have to be rescored, but I like to do them first, to make sure everything is aligned. Then you score the set on the bottom before you move to the next section. (And on the next file, the marks scored at the bottom become the top set.)


I have been doing exactly this, to cut a 4 1/2 foot long pattern in a board, and it’s working great. Since it’s a cut, I flipped the image so the top of the board, where the Snapmarks are scored, is the back. That wouldn’t work for an engrave, of course.

Another technique that I considered, to avoid the scored logos, is to print the Snapmarks on paper and tape them to the board, But that introduces the potential for error, since they’d have to be manually spaced properly vertically. Or if the board weren’t already cut to size, use an oversized board and score the edges, then cut them off. But my board was already cut to size.


You could probably stick several layers of white masking tape on top of the board, and score the snapmarks into those. Then, hopefully, you wouldn’t cut all the way down to the wood. (Might need to do some experimenting first to get the settings absolutely correct.)


Nice idea! Thanks!

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@Jules thank you so much for this write-up! I’ve had it open since the day you posted it! Just hadn’t had time to read through … and read all the replys. Life sure can get in the way!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


Oh, you’re very welcome. Did you get Snapmarks recently? :grinning:


Sad to admit … I got them pretty much at the beginning. Just haven’t had time to give it a go. I’ve been very excited about trying it out.

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I use them for a lot of things these days…currently doing some deep 3D engraving, and having the marks there means I can add an extra engraving run if I want to deepen a certain area. :slightly_smiling_face:

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A 3D engrave is high on my try list also. Haven’t decided what exactly … Thinking for an undecided box! Wish I had more time to play!

Placed my last big order for material on the discount … Had plenty … But couldn’t resist over-stocking! I don’t think you can be over-stocked though. :grinning:


Amen to that! :smile:


any tips for using snapmarks to make a two sided cut for thick materials? I have a 1/2 board of plywood that takes about 8 cuts to get through, was thinking i could use snapmarks to cut one side and then the other side hoping to have them align perfectly, the scrap wood i have is from a cabinet company so the shape is irregular so i don’t have a square corner for reference. (though i suppose i’ll have to make one at somepoint unless someone here has a tip/trick to get it to properly align) right now i can’t seem to get the two sides to line up exactly (i’m like 2-3 mm off)


Yes, I did actually pull off a double sided cut on nearly half inch thick material. (Which I had to glue together out of a couple of 1/4" scraps, cause I didn’t have any on hand.) :smile:

Recommendations are…

  1. Be prepared for a lot of char.
  2. Cut a jig to fit around your 1/2" material and put the snapmarks on the jig.
  3. You absolutely have to kerf adjust the jig hole. If you don’t, you will probably wind up with an uncut ridge inside the cutout.
  4. Snap to the Snapmarks using the thickness of the jig material for placement alignment. And when you cut, manually adjust the focal point for the thicker material that you are trying to cut through. On each side.
  5. When you create your design, you need to be absolutely sure of the placement of the design inside the weeding cutout. (Make sure that everything is centered around the flipping axis, which is the vertical center of the material.)
  6. Plan on doing multiple passes, and your kerf profile is gonna be messy. Have some sandpaper ready.

I used Snapmarks for the first time yesterday and they were a huge help. This is the sort of promise that I’ve always felt the Glowforge has had and I hope this is just the first of many such improvements. But there was something pretty awkward.

Normally, when I have done something like this, I have put all the artwork in one file, cut a jig that is held down with magnets, then immediately use the jig to do the work on what goes into it by swapping around what’s ignored and what’s etched/scored/cut. Since jigs are frequently used once (though maybe for multiple items) I will sometimes cut it out of cardboard (watching closely!). This time, however, I was etching something that was 1" tall, so I had to take the crumb tray out. But, of course, I couldn’t cut my jig out of anything that was the same height.

So, I cut a jig out of 1/4" draftboard with the crumb tray in and also etched a pair of snapmarks onto it. Then, I took out the crumb tray and put in a base to raise my 1" item up. But, the jig was going to be 3/4" lower, out of the cut range. So I had to stick some blocks under the jig to raise it up a bit precariously. It worked ok for my single use, but it would have been awful had I been using it over and over again.

I understand the focusing limitations of the laser, but the camera has no such limitations. It would take calibration work, but they ought to be able to recognize snapmarks that are lower than the tray height.

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Ok, I’ve done pencils and drumsticks successfully now. But the next project is a real leap. I’ve been asked to etch a custom made guitar with children’s drawings for a fundraiser. The body of the guitar came unfinished and is the perfect height without the tray in, so I was excited because “I’ve got snapmarks, this should be easy!” But…I don’t have a CAD drawing of this handmade guitar, it’s all custom curves with no flat edges to reference, and I received the scanned drawings from someone completely different. I’ve fixed some issues with the drawings, but I don’t really see a good way to make an accurate outline of the guitar so that I can arrange all the drawings and snapmarks reliably. I’m down to one final idea that might work, print off each drawing individually on paper with the snapmarks and tape it to the guitar and etch each drawing like that one at a time. I’m worried about putting the snapmarks too close together though (so there’s room to see where I’m placing it). has anyone ever placed the marks 2-4 inches apart?


You can space the snapmarks four inches apart without problem, just make sure they are not resized.

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Thank you!!! I’m pretty sure I owe you a case of wine by now.


Chuckle! Maybe not. I was looking at picking up a case of the wine I like last week, (it’s impossible to find it at the local Specs), and I realized that with the shipping cost I could almost buy another Glowforge instead.

Decided to stick with tea. Tea is good. :smile: :wink:


I am using Inkscape 0.92 and have success with Snapmarks with size set at default 0.332 and 0.405. I did have to re-size after downloading the template, as I remember.
My project was to cut/score printed SVG artwork using a Cannon MX922 printer on 110 lb card stock. The Snapmarks alignment was truly amazingly precise! And the alignment is precise over the whole 8.5 X 11 inch page.
Thank you Jules for the tutorial and thank you Glowforge for this capability.
By the way, I have a reputation as being known as “The Pilot Error Guy”, so even I could get Snapmarks to work.


That’s a terrible superhero name. I’m sure we can think of something better.

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