Printing an accurate 12" ruler

Hi. I purchased a file on Etsy for a 12" ruler and in Illustrator, the ruler is accurate. When I uploaded it into Glowforge it showed the same measurement, so I assumed all was well. I printed it twice on proofgrade 1/8"plywood, and both times the measurements were off. The first one was 1/16+ too short and the second was 1/16th+ too long. I cleaned my lenses before printing the second. Any ideas? I spoke with the designer and he showed me a screenshot of his grid in his design software and it was indeed accurate, as it was in my illustrator. Thanks for any help in resolving!

When you upload the design to the GF UI, make sure it’s sized so that 1" measures 1".

If this was a different design, what I would have recommended is to open the design in whatever software you have and add a square (using a different color). Upload it and make sure the square is measuring 1" exactly. But since you’re making a ruler, you can just use the ruler’s 1" measurement to do the same thing in this case.

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Everything @trually said, and if you still end up with a ruler the wrong size, likely there is something catching in one of your belts - making it skip a beat which can alter sizes. Take a good look at the belt that runs the direction you cut the ruler.

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Cutting anything will be influenced by kerf, but not the 1/16" that you note. As already suggested, make sure the measurements are correct before cutting by using the measurement tool.

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Did you use ‘set focus’?

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if you cut it vertically instead of horizontally and get a better result, it might support a suspicion of your horizontal belt or motor.

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another test to check for “something catching on the belt” would be to cut a diagonal line and see if it’s straight.

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Thank you! I did a diagonal cut and had the same results with the measurement, but the diagonal lines cut and printed very well. I’ll post a photo in this thread of the 12" mark.

I don’t have the ability to cut 12.5" vertically, so my only choice is horizontal or diagonal. I did try your diagonal suggestion and had pretty much the same result. Thank you for your help!

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Thank you! I took your suggestion to create a 1" square in illustrator along with that file, set it to ‘score’ and it was perfect. I also created a 1" square in the Glowforge app and moved it along the inch marks on the ruler and they were all perfect.

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I checked them as best I could, and cut again with the same result, so I need to dig deeper. Thank you!

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To @ekla @dklgood @trually @deirdrebeth and @Purplie Thank you so much for taking the time to try to help me. I tried every suggestion with the same results. I’ve had my Glowforge less than a year and still learning, but enjoying it so much. Here’s a photo of the latest try with the ruler, using your suggestions. Maybe I’ll just stay away from rulers! …But I’m a quilter and I want to be able to create acrylic templates, etc. :slight_smile: I won’t give up just yet!

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To ask a silly obvious question - have you compared your laser cut ruler to an actual steel ruler instead of your cutting mat? (I know mine is good for overall things but certainly not to a 1/16)

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If you compare the object’s size in Illustrator with its size in the Glowforge UI (select the object, then click the ruler icon at the bottom of the UI), are they the same?

I guess you can’t share the file with us because it was purchased on Etsy, that’s too bad…

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… have you tried a different ruler template?

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Yes, I did check the file in both illustrator and in glowforge and they were exactly the same length and width. Thank you for the link to the other ruler file…I’ll grab that one and give it a try. Yes, it was an Etsy file and the designer tried his best to help me, and I don’t think there was anything wrong with his file. I’ll try the other one and see what happens!

That’s not silly at all! I have two mats and they are just ever so slightly different! I actually did compare all my measurements with my husband’s steel ruler and it’s the same, it was just harder to photograph. I’m going to try a different ruler file that @Purplie suggested.

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Honestly, I’d just size it down slightly and do a test with cardboard or scrap material or something. Adjust it until it’s right.

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