Standard Templates: engraving iPhones

Since I am still smarting from a cracked iPad screen, I have been thinking about Apple devices. The anodized aluminum material is good to go for engraving in a Glowforge. We have seen examples of the process. I did a quick *.svg in Inkscape with black outlines for the edges, bottom plastic bit on the back, the Apple logo, the camera, the flash, and the model and FCC info already engraved. That left me the playground for engraving. This is not an attempt at creativity. It is just a first step toward getting a template ready so I can drop in art and text to prettify my iDevices. I didn’t use calipers to measure the parts that shouldn’t be engraved since I didn’t have them in my office. However the outline dimensions are exact for an iPhone 5s which can be found here. This is just to start the topic. I am sure that we can all contribute templates so that when the long-awaited day arrives when we get our Glowforge, we are ready to personalize the heck out of our devices. I will keep working on the iPhone 5s. I welcome comments and suggestions as to what should a useful template should look like.


In the past I’ve used Apple’s official technical drawings to generate art placement guides. For example, this scene was placed over official apple tech drawings to get the apple placement just right:

You can find a single PDF of all of apples IOS devices with technical drawings here:


Thanks so much for posting this. This will be very helpful when I make a more precise template. I do like that Calvin and Hobbes design!

Sometimes I’m slow to the uptake when I am multitasking. Hadn’t thought to look at Sketchup Warehouse. Just need to export the faces as svg.
iPhone 5s.svg (122.4 KB)

I would have thought that because the GF photographs the material, and you can position the design on to that photo before printing, that detailed templates would not really be necessary. I believe you can even scale your image so that it fits.

I still have concerns about the repeatability of camera positioning, especially if you have to manually reposition each time. An indexed position with a physical reference and hard stop is much more reliable. If you’re doing an engrave that isn’t re-doable, such as on an iphone, and if you’re doing more than one at any regular interval, you want something extremely reliable. I have in the past build index tables to accommodate things like iphones, I would suggest doing the same with glowforge. Additionally, you can use the PDF documents to cut test blanks to test your index table and make sure everything lines up. Maybe the camera positioning will have some repeatability functionality, but just in case I’ll have a backup plan in place.

The live camera positioning will be awesome for quick and dirty engraving on an iPhone or whatever. I am getting templates ready for two reasons: 1. I don’t have the camera and Glowforge to try a design out on yet. 2. Getting a design that fits in the spaces available would be easier when the outline is there in the design software without worrying about positioning.

What are the settings to engrave an iphone?


I personally use 1000/100… Make sure you take precision power from Max to 100.

Is there anything that needs to be sprayed on the case?

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