Snap fit windows

Okay, I’ll stop now…


Blue angels?:grinning:


Yep, they come to Seattle every Summer for Seafair! Always great to see them!


Nice box decorations!
Serving on Enterprise gave me the highest respect for Naval Aviators.


Does it matter what stroke width is used, and if so, what was your stroke width? I am having trouble duplicating your experience. Thanks in advance.

It shouldn’t matter as long as you have Geometric bounding box set…


I usually set my stroke width to .005


Hmm…Illustrator doesn’t want to play ball. I inset my base hole by .001 and outset my acrylic by .001. no bones. I then outset my acrylic by another .001. Still nothing sticks. And Illustrator doesn’t take in account the stroke width unless you specifically make it so I’m lost.

hmm, was it too loose or too tight? I’m travelling at the moment but when I get back home I’ll create and test a simple SVG that works for me and upload here as a test.

I do tons of inlays and use illustrator. I leave the base alone, and only change what I am inlaying. Select the path then object>path>offset path. I use .007." This creates a second path that is that much larger, so you will have to delete the inner (original) path. This works for 95% of what I do. Acrylic I might have to go up to .008"

It’s also been my experience that these numbers may change based on cut speed/power used. For example, I started using butternut hardwood. I picked a cut speed/power. First few times, my power and speed were too much, so I had a bit of charring. They also were too loose in my inlay. I slowly dialed in power and speed, and got less charring, but inlays also started to fit better. Once I had settings dialed in, my inlays fit perfect with my .007" adjustment.


It was too loose, I kept remaking the smaller inner piece and gradually increasing by .001. I got it to fit at effectively .006 from the original.

You know I think that’s basically what I found out too. I had already shrunk the hole on the lid by -.001 and I got the acrylic to pop in at +.006 so sorta the same thing?


I created a quick sample SVG for people to try out. It’s setup as a described above using InkScape. I don’t believe it’ll stay “snap fit” if you scale it up or down in InkScape or the GFUI. I added some text to show how the “window” flips and fits in from the top. I use a small hammer to tap in place. (4.9 KB)

I also made another box for my father-in-law’s Birthday party this evening…


Tried just acrylic with the same technique. Turned out great!


Love that in the aqua! (I might have to try that too.) :grinning:

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Thanks to everyone for these posts! I have something I need to get made ASAP that is wood with a snapfit acrylic piece (simple name badge).

I also have a co-worker that wants a wood inset that would be with multi-colored woods or stained woods. It will probably be the size of the GF bed (I do have Pro but not ready for the complexity of a larger piece). It’s for his wedding anniversary in about a month…so will have to learn quickly…and I still have to learn Illustrator (thanks to Jules for all the work done to contain all the tutorials in one place!)

I would not EVEN begin to attempt these requests I have received if it wasn’t for this totally AWESOME community. Limited time between work, family, studying for my cert (which didn’t get done this weekend), and wondering when I will start planning my wedding…oh and Maker Faire is in 2 months!!

P.S. I am not a woodworker, so feel I need to ask. If I stain the woods will that change the kerf size? I was thinking adding the stain might cause the wood to swell slightly??

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Hobbyist woodworker here.

Are you planning to stain before or after cutting your piece? Stain will act very similar to water, but once it “dries” it leaves behind the pigment. So if you stain the wood before cutting and let it “cure” (about 24 hours for proper curing) and then cut out your pieces, it will have the same kerf as un-stained wood. If you Stain the wood and immediately cut, once the stain dries I believe that the piece will shrink ever so slightly. If you cut it out and then stain, the wood will swell a little and you will have to deal with the possibility of warping, but once it cures, it should return to normal shape (as long as you also make sure that the warping is taken care of).

My suggestion, take the wood that you want to cut a piece out of, spray it with water until the surface is damp and let it dry (an hour or so), then sand it to the smoothness you want (typically, 80, 100, 120, 150, 220 grit in that order for a REALLY smooth surface). Stain your piece the color you want, let it cure, and then cut it out. The initial dampening of the wood and letting it dry will cause little wooden “hairs” to stand up. Once you’ve sanded them down, your piece will stay smooth, even if you stain it later.

Another thing to consider is dying the wood. You have water based dyes and oil based dyes. You can get vibrant colors, and the pigment goes into the wood further than stain which stays mainly on the surface.


@julybighouse thank you very much! Due to my inexperience, I was just planning on staining afterwards. Now, I am not really sure on staining versus dyes and which order to do it in. The only thing we have used is Unicorn Spit on my IKEA butcher block desk (think that is considered a stain).

I am wanting to try some wooden scenery pictures like the Wolf inlays.

Sounds like I need to tell the person that wants me to make them something for an anniversary … that this is going to take more time to learn/do than he has time for. Bummer.

However, can you tell me what you usually use or what the pros and cons are of using a traditional stain versus the dyes (water and oil based). I feel like I just stepped into the paint shop with my eyes glazed over. :wink: Thank you!!!

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Looking at the Wolf inlays, that person didn’t use stain or dye at all, that is just the natural color of the wood (Best case scenario so that you don’t have to deal with swelling at all).

I’ll try and get you answers for your questions, but I’ll defer to a professional source for the oil vs water based stains.

Popular Woodworking is a fantastic source for information like this, here is their Stains discussion, and it talks pretty clearly about oil vs water based and what you have to consider for their use. Basically you want to choose the appropriate kind of stain for the wood you use and the finish you plan on using. Also be aware that if something is oil or water based, if it comes in contact with that kind of liquid again (i.e. rain) the color will “activate” again and will run off your piece. A barrier type of finish (instead of a penetrative finish) is necessary to truly protect the piece.

The majority of stains that people use are oil-based stains, and this is why people are encouraged to glue and assemble their pieces before staining, if they try and put glue on top of oil-based stain, it will not hold nearly as tightly.

A stain will essentially stay on the surface of the wood, this is because it consists of little particles of color in a solution, so it can only penetrate if there are places for it to “get stuck”. A dye completely dissolves in the solvent and will penetrate as far as the solvent itself will go, so a dye will go deeper into the wood than a stain will.

Personally, if I want to color something a “wood-like” color I’ll stick with stains, they are easier to apply and from my experience stains seem to do the wood coloring the best. If I want fun colors, and I can’t get wood in that particular color, I’ll go to my dyes. I would suggest an aniline powder dye, but you then need to either mix up only what you intend to use, or have an air tight container to store it in (glass with a rubber gasket is a good choice).

I can definitely give you more info, but this is a large dump of information to begin with. (This is a VERY large rabbit hole.) For your project, I’d be happy to give you specific pointers and guidance based on what you are wanting to do. We can do it here, or you can shoot me a PM and we can go from there.


The wolf project came out well but you should see the scrap pile of failures I generated before I finally got it right! @Jules has a great PDF that helped me finally get that right. I can’t find it right now but I think I have the link saved at home so I’ll try to send that to you tonight if you can’t find it in the search bar (I think I was searching for “adjusting for kerf” or something similar. It just came down to a lot of testing with the material to get the kerf correct and then understanding how to properly adjust for it in the software, which the PDF guided me through really well. All in all, it probably took about 3 hours of me doing it completely wrong and 10 minutes of reading and understanding what @Jules wrote for me to get it right :). Just start with something simple first to get your bearings (and not burn through lots of expensive wood like I did!). Once you get it figured out there, it is super easy to apply to the more complex projects.

Edit: Found the link from Jules: Inkscape - Adjusting for Kerf in your Design
Or if you’re using Illustrator: Adobe Illustrator - Adjusting for Kerf in your Design