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Double-sided Engraving on the Glowforge.

9.7.2018

Sometimes I like to put a design on both sides of my Glowforge pieces. Here's a quick and dirty way to do it.

First off, your cut line for the piece has to be symmetrical. To fudge this in a shape that's only kinda symmetrical in Illustrator, here's what I do:

  1. Select the outermost shape (your original cut line) with the Selection Tool (v).
  2. Copy and paste it, right in place. It might not look like it, but you should have two shapes right on top of each other now.
  3. Use the menus to select Object > Transform > Reflect. Select an axis (probably vertical) and click OK.
  4. Open the Pathfinder tool window: Window > Pathfinder. (I've found this easier to work with than the Object > Path > Join options.) Under Shape Modes, click the first set of boxes (Unite).
  5. Done! You should have a new symmetrical cut-line which is large enough to enclose the rest of your piece.

Once you've got the artwork settled, you're on to the Glowforge UI:

  1. Set up your engraves, scores and cuts as you normally would. It'll be very convenient for you to have the outer cuts in just one color (a single instruction group in the GFUI).
  2. Laser! (Run the Glowforge.)
  3. Now get some double-sided tape (aka poster tape) and wrap a bit around your favorite finger.
  4. Hold down the original material in the GF (or use some kind of jig) to prevent it from moving.
  5. Use your tape finger to poke each cut piece out and then flip it over, right inside its original hole.
  6. In the GFUI, turn off all the cut-lines. Then turn on whatever you want to engrave on the second side.
  7. Laser!

So there. That's the secret - symmetrical cuts and double-sided tape.

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Tags: laser-cut, glowforge

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