Scale cuts

I am making a scale model home. The original file was created in AutoCad lite. The drawing was made “to actual size”. Once I convert the file to a Glowforge usable file format, what is the best method of “printing” (cutting) the interior walls and parts of the home to a precise scale? This will be my first project, so please bear with me if this seems like an elementary question. Let’s suppose I want to scale down the drawing to 1/2” = 1’-0”. Is it possible to specify a precise scale? If yes, how is this done. If no, what do you recommend? Thank you.

If you want that kind of precision, your best bet is going to be scaling it to the size that you want in AutoCAD (which is designed for architectural rendering, and since you already have it, you can use it) and then add your desired full size connectors like tabs and slots before taking the file into the Glowforge interface.

The reason for that is that the tabs and slots do have to remain full size, their size is dependent on the thickness of the material that you are using to build it. The Glowforge interface is going to scale everything. :slightly_smiling_face:

If you’re looking for extreme precision, you will also need to adjust for the kerf, but depending on the size of the model, that might be more than you’re looking for. For just scaling down, I’d stick to using AutoCAD, Illustrator or Inkscape.


When I make my buildings they are for my trains which are HO Scale (1:87) so you can start there. Just google model sizes most common sizes go from 1:4 to 1:72.

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Jules, Thank you for the good advice. Do you have a recommendation on the tabs and slots relative to the kerf? If I make them ”0” tolerance, will the kerf make the union too “sloppy”? Are there any “tricks” or is this something I just need to experiment with?

It’s gonna be a little loose with no adjustment…if you’re planning to glue it, it doesn’t matter, but if you want a tight fit, you might want to run a couple of tests on the final material to see how much to adjust it. I think a lot of folks just use an offset of .006" for a closer fit. (I use from 0.17-0.19 mm as a rule.)

Hello @TomVM! Thank you for reaching out to us. It looks like you’re getting some great suggestions from @Jules and @gamn1958. I’m going to move this thread over to the Everything Else section of the forum so that the conversation can continue.

If you run into any trouble with the Glowforge app or your print results while scaling your print, please email us at and we’ll be happy to help troubleshoot with you.

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I’m being proactive. My Glowforge is “in production”. I’m still about three weeks away from actually using the machine. I’m getting the design for my first project ready while I wait!

Excellent idea! Hit the ground running. :slightly_smiling_face:

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