Many designs are only designed for a certain material thickness. This has an effect in several places:

Gearing of corner jointsPlug-in mechanismsInfluence on other components 
(e.g. length of a screw)

For all designs, you can use a graphics program to adapt the respective areas to other material thicknesses. We will show you how this works in this article.

1. Adaptation through scaling

A special case and also the simplest option is adjustment by scaling. This means that all areas are adjusted at once. The only problem with this is that the design as a whole then becomes larger or smaller. This option can therefore only be used for designs where the final size is irrelevant.

Example: Your design is designed for 4 mm thick wood. If you want the plug-in mechanisms to fit 5 mm thick wood, you need to scale the entire design to 125%. If you want to adapt it to 3 mm wood, you need to scale it to 75%. You can make these scalings directly in the software by changing the size of your design to per cent.

2. Adapting gearing

Gearings are used in many 3D laser designs to create 90° corners. This means that they are automatically bound to the thickness of the material. In order to be able to use such designs with other material thicknesses, you must adapt each individual serration.

Example: Your design is designed for 4 mm thick wood. However, you want to laser it with 5 mm thick wood. 

  • To do this, create each tooth again, making it 5 mm wide instead of 4 mm. However, the height remains the same. 
  • Place the new tooth on top of the old one so that the new tooth protrudes one millimetre further than the old tooth.
  • Merge the two objects into one (Illustrator: Window > Path Finder > Union, Inkscape: Path > Union)
  • Repeat this process for each of the teeth. Alternatively, you can also do the last step with all the teeth at the same time.

3. Adapting plug-in mechanisms

Simple plug-in mechanisms are somewhat easier to handle. This usually involves inserting one or at least a few teeth into another plate to create a connection at a 90° angle. If you want to adapt this design to a thicker material, you will need to make adjustments to both parts.

Example: Your design is designed for 4 mm thick wood. However, you want to laser it with 5 mm thick wood. 

  • Create a new tooth, which is now 5 mm wide, on the plate that will be inserted into the other one and join it to the original object as in 2. customising serrations.
  • Then select the cut-out and ensure that the scaling is centred by setting the origin to the centre in the upper toolbar.
  • Now enlarge the cut-out by one millimetre so that it is 5 mm wide.
Note: If your cut-out is crooked, you must turn it straight before scaling so that you can edit the actual side length instead of the horizontal object width.

4. Influence on other components

Of course, other components can also be affected by a thicker material. However, there is no formula that you can follow here, as each case is different.

For example, if you screw several panels together, this screw should be longer if you use thicker material.