SnapMarks and PassThru

Has anyone done any work with PassThru slot and a SnapMarks? Can this help align a long board for cutting with a jig?


Several people have played with this. I have just a bit, just enough to know that, yes, it can work very very well. I have not worked with this enough to publish any how to though.
A quick hint though: make an art board in your program that is 20x12 and lay down the snapmarks top and bottom with plans to cover unused sets so as to not confuse the :glowforge:.


Here’s a post that discusses this, and other snapmark stuff.


Works a treat! I’ve done a couple of three-step cuts. Each step must score the next step’s marks. I tried it first on cardboard (the scores were easily detected even though they looked very light).

Just don’t rush. Think about the next step before you move anything from the previous! I caught a mistake where I forgot to enable the snapmark score, thankfully before it was too late.


Thank you all… let me try it again and see where it takes me :blush:

1 Like

I’ve snapmarks to laser a pair of vertical screens (about 6 feet tall), and it worked great.

What’s worked for me is to have a pair of snapmarks at the top left and right corners of the design, and a pair exactly 8 inches below that a different color. So for each lasering I set the bottom pair to ‘score’ and the top pair to ‘ignore’. The SnapMarks use the top pair and ignore the bottom pair.

Then I take my design and chop it into 8 inch tall sections, and generate a file of the four snapmarks around each of the sections.

For the top section, align the wood very carefully to be ‘square’ as any angle will be multiplied by the length of the final image. To do this, I used rectangular spacers (the size of playing cards) to align the wood vertically parallel to the left edge of the bed, but over a few inches so that the whole piece is visible to the lid camera. Don’t use SnapMarks as there’s nothing to align to yet. Ignore the top snapmarks, score the bottom snapmarks (for the next pass to align to), and in my case cut the actual design.

Laser, and slide the material up so that the snapmarks that were at the bottom are just at the top of the visible area in the bed. I put tape on the edge of the bed where the top of the camera range is, which makes this easier. Sliding the material up, since I was cutting, involved using a vacuum to get all the little cut pieces out first.

Repeat for each section.

For the last section, you don’t need to score the bottom snapmarks, so you can ignore them, too.

The only drawback is that this leaves little GlowForge logos all over the sides of the piece. For my purpose that’s fine (it’s a screen, and I’m using the other face as the ‘front’). Others have suggested laying down tape along the edges, and lightly scoring the tape with the SnapMarks, which should work fine.


I know this is old, but I’m having trouble with this procedure. I theorized exactly this methodology, set up my file, and output it to SVG. I cut the first section perfectly fine (starting at the “bottom”, so most of my material is coming out the back side of the forge). When I go to align my snapmarks to cut the second section, the UI uses the marks at the top of the file and aligns it with the snapmarks I scored in my material. This means that all my artwork is off the cutting area.

I’ve tried manually moving the artwork so the proper marks are close to the physical marks, I’ve tried moving the correct snapmark elements to the top of the stack in the UI, but nothing seems to work. Any insight on this?

1 Like

The pass through slot is designed to be one way. The non-rigid material around the slot, front and back, is designed to be as safe as it can be for sliding material from front to back. The back being defined as where the power switch is located and exhaust port.

I can have problems when I am using a pass through jig and there are two sets of scored snapmarks on my jig. It likes to align to the bottom ones instead of the ones I want on the top. I solve this with masking tape over the ones I don’t want it to align to.

This sounds like a front to back versus back to front problem. If there are two sets of snapmarks in your file, one to snap to and one to score, I would expect the software to snap to the ones that are ignored. You do have one set marked as Ignore correct? If so, then I think you will have to change your workflow to front to back. One could argue always using the set on top is poor coding when one set is set to Ignore and one set is set to Score, but it could also be argued this is a safety feature to keep people from moving material back to front.

When I use the jig I have two sets of snapmarks, both set to Ignore, and it aligns to the set at the top (back) of the glowforge.

Thanks, I’ll try reversing the substrate feed direction (although that logically shouldn’t matter, as the machine has no idea what direction I’m feeding the substrate). My bigger concerns are:

  1. That Glowforge has no “official” procedure for working with pass-through projects and instead is dependent on users to figure it out for themselves, despite the fact that pass-through operations were a major selling point for the Pro model
  2. That there’s no guarantee that the software will choose the “correct” snapmarks used to align the art

I use registration marks all the time, usually on my Roland XC-540, and this procedure shouldn’t be so dependent on duct tape and gum. We’ve already got the air filter situation (that, I guess, is never really getting resolved?), and the fact that the GF pro still lacks features that were used to sell the product three years ago is incredibly frustrating. It’s a great machine, sure, but all things considered I don’t think we’d have made the investment if we knew then what we know now.

Agreed, agreed, and agreed. They promised and have yet to deliver. In announcing Snapmarks being discontinued/put on hold, dan said it was so they could focus on delivering the pass through software. When it is delivered, I doubt it will do some things Snapmarks can do, namely allow you to create a pass through jig. But we’ll see. While displaying a Pollyanna-level of optimism to their schedule, on the whole they have eventually delivered and appear to be working on what they have not.

As regards, why feed direction would matter, if it is a safety concern then always aligning to the snapmarks that are at the top/back in the design does make sense. A big part of my job is, there are n ways to implement this feature, how do we do it? I pick the one that evaluates to safest, even if it seems dumbest, and direct the team accordingly. So I am biased in understanding why. Or it could be that is the way it has to be because of x, y & z. Or it could just be lazy coding. I see that a lot too and fight it whenever possible.

1 Like

I put the material in the front and pushed it out the back, and it works fine. Each time, only one pair of snap marks is visible - the previous ones are out the back of the Pro, so there’s only one pair to align to. And while there are two pairs of snapmarks in each section that I’m cutting, the top pair seem to consistently align to the two that are visible at the bottom of the previous cut/engrave. Theoretically they could align the bottom two, but that would place nearly the entire cut outside of the Glowforge, so either they always look at the top pair in the design to match, or they use the pair that puts the job inside the printer rather than outside - I can’t prove which. :slight_smile: