Learn By Doing: Your First Prints and More

Snapmark

  • Before you begin

    Snapmark is a beta feature that is only available for some users right now. It enables precision alignment to help you quickly and easily mass-customize items. Think pet tags, puzzle pieces, aluminum business cards, tap handles, or pencils (as in the example below)! The feature works by precisely aligning two different prints using Snapmark markers. In this tutorial, you’ll see how you can print a jig with Snapmark markers, add Snapmarks to a design, and use the software to automatically align your design to the objects in your jig.
    1

    Snapmark button

    Snapmark is a beta feature and is only enabled on some machines for testing. If Snapmark is enabled on your machine, you will find the Snapmark button on the toolbar of your workspace.

    snapmark button
    2

    Download the template

    Download this template file (right click on the link and click "Save link as" on Chrome or Firefox, or "Download linked file as" on Safari), make a copy, and open it in your design software. It has a copy of a pair of Snapmark markers in it, and is where you should start every Snapmark project.

    Note that each Snapmark need to be at exactly W0.332" x H0.405" (W8.437 mm x H10.279 mm). If they appear to be a different size in your design software, you can manually change their width and height.

    3

    Useful skills

    It can be useful to lock Snapmarks into position using layers. To learn how to use layers in Inkscape, click here. To learn how to use layers in Adobe Illustrator, click here.

    4

    Customize some pencils

    For your first Snapmark print, follow the tutorial below to customize a batch of pencils and see how the feature works!

  • Customize your Pencils with Artwork

    The tutorial below will show how you can customize a batch of pencils using Snapmark.
    1

    Download the tutorial template

    For this tutorial, download the pencil jig template file we've prepared.

    2

    Add custom artwork

    Add artwork you want to engrave inside the cutouts. In our case, this means adding text into the rectangles that will hold the pencils.

    Add custom artwork step - snapmark
    3

    Save as an SVG

    Save the file as an SVG and upload it to the Glowforge app.

  • Create the jig you'll use to hold your pencils in place.
    1

    Place jig material in the bed

    Put your jig material in the bed. TIP: Choose material that's a similar thickness to the items you're customizing.

    Put jig material in step - snapmark
    2

    Print your jig

    Before you hit print:

    • Set the Snapmarks to "Score"
    • Set the cutouts to "Cut"
    • Set the artwork to "Ignore"
    Jig printing step - snapmark
    3

    Hit "print"

    When it's done printing, take the jig out of your Glowforge and remove any scrap.

    Remove jig from Glowforge step - snapmark
  • Load the jig

    Get your items ready to print.
    1

    Place items in the jig

    Put the jig back in the center of the bed and place your items in the cutouts.

    Load the jig step - snapmark
  • Customize your items

    Time to personalize your pencils!
    1

    Hit the "Snapmark" button

    Screenshot07
    2

    Let your Glowforge search

    Your Glowforge will start searching for Snapmarks on the bed. After a few minutes, you should see the artwork moved to match the previously scored Snapmark locations.

    3

    Don't move your artwork

    Do not move the artwork or material after this step, even if the image doesn’t look right on your screen.

    Don't move artwork - snapmark
    4

    Prepare for printing

    Before you hit print:

    • Set your artwork to "Engrave"
    • Set the Snapmarks to "Ignore"
    • Set the jig cutouts to "Ignore"
    5

    Hit "print"

    Print your snapmark 1
  • Make a custom jig design file

    Follow these steps to create your own custom jig to hold objects in place when you engrave.
    1

    Open the Snapmark template

    Download this Snapmark template and open it in your design software. Lock the Snapmarks in their own layer and make a new layer for the jig design. You can move them around later.

    2

    Measure your items

    Measure the items you’ll be customizing. (In our case, a set of pencils.)

    Measure your items step - snapmark
    3

    Create a cutout

    On a new layer, add in cutouts that will hold each item you plan to engrave, making sure the sizing is right so the item fits snugly.

    4

    Adjust snapmarks

    Snapmarks should be parallel to each other and no more than 16” apart (at least 2” inside the perimeter of the printable area). You can move the pair of Snapmark markers closer or further apart, and up or down, so they fit around your artwork.

    Snapmark pair
    5

    Place and lock your Snapmarks

    Make sure not to rotate or resize the Snapmarks when you place them. Then, lock the Snapmark layer again.

    6

    Save the file

  • Useful tips

    • It's important that the Snapmarks are kept at the exact height, width and stroke thickness as in the template. If you're unsure, re-download the template here.
    • If you included multiple pairs of Snapmark markers in your design, Glowforge will look for the pair closest to the top when searching for a match.
    • There always needs to be at least two Snapmarks in the file that you upload and the final artwork you intend to engrave. It is important that you don’t change this file between uploading it and running Snapmark.
    • We recommend keeping the Snapmark markers locked in a separate layer to prevent accidental edits.
    • If you’d like to change the artwork but not the items you’re engraving, just edit the artwork layer of your file and re-upload the whole thing. As long as you don’t modify the jig design in any way, the file will continue to work with the jig you already printed.
    • In order for your Glowforge to recognize them, your Snapmarks must be crisp and high contrast. If you’re printing them on a dark material, consider putting down a piece of light masking tape first. Check to make sure no shadows are obscuring the Snapmarks.