I have many years, dare I say decades of experience with CNC and with 3D printing. I’m not so much in to art as functional prototyping. I’ve found that Laser cutting requires a totally different design approach than 3D. And while at first I struggled to adapt to 2D drawing with my 3D CAD software (because I never did this before), the way GF works with vectors the 2D drawing doesn’t have to be actual polygons. Once I realized this the design task became much easier.
I’m really enjoying learning new things, like this jig trick.
I’d actually figured jigging out last week for parts I need to cut and etch double-sided. This week was the first attempt at an otherwise free-standing component. I had some PG Medium Acrylic in the GF from an earlier project so I just cut the rectangle out of that to use for my first attempt. But after I tweaked the design a bit (the “.com” is too close to the hole) I realized I could not use the same jig because there is no way to bring additional geometry in to an existing project, and backing out to load the new geometry means I lose the physical location of the original artwork used to make the jig. I was bumming, thinking I’d have to waste a lot of PG material to make more of these little tags. But then I realized cardboard would work as well. I sliced one of the lid pieces off a random cardboard box, measured it with calipers at 0.145, and taped that down to the center of the crumb tray. Then I set up my artwork in the middle of the cardboard, cut my jig and then inserted the aluminum tile and etched it. Worked great. And I have a ton of cardboard boxes to use as sacrificial material.
The GF App would benefit from a feature that let you load new artwork in to an existing project. You could make much more efficient use of the workpiece if you could leave old art in-place. Set it to Ignore so it doesn’t waste time being recut, and then load new art. You would be able to position that new art anywhere you wanted (avoiding the old art) and not have to worry about camera alignment.
It’d also be handy if the GF App had an “array” function that created a specified column/row count of duplicates of the selected artwork. If I want to make a dozen of something, I have to duplicate them all in the source file so they’re all present in the SVG. This is not consistent with my other CAD/CAM workflows, where duplicates are created at the CAM step not the CAD step.
If in addition it’d be great if there was a dialog box that let you set the absolute position of the artwork on the work surface. If I wanted to make multiples of this little name tag but with different people’s names, I could use the exact same base Illustrator file and just change the text. The resulting SVG would have the same “bounding box” as my original version. So if I knew exactly where (cartesian coordinates-wise) I had put the first version (which I used to create the jig), I could then put each successive new version at the same location and that’d let me reuse the same jig repeatedly.
These are all things I’m used to doing in the CAM step in 3D CAD/CAM environments…