A pencil jig is an incredibly useful accessory for engraving or personalizing multiple pencils at once with a laser cutter like the Glowforge or Xtool P2. Having a jig makes the process much easier since the pencils are held in place, ensuring proper alignment. This article provides complete step-by-step Instructions for making DIY pencil jigs for both the Glowforge & Xtool P2 laser cutters.
What is a Glowforge Pencil Jig?
A Glowforge pencil jig is a template made out of material like cardboard, wood, or acrylic that holds pencils in place for engraving with the Glowforge laser cutter. The Glowforge pencil jig has cutouts spaced to fit pencils that hold them straight and evenly spaced for engraving names, quotes, or designs in a batch.
Using a Glowforge pencil jig makes it easy to line up and engrave multiple pencils at the same time versus trying to engrave pencils one at a time. The Glowforge pencil jig ensures all the pencils are aligned properly and makes the engraving process much faster.
Benefits of Using a Glowforge Pencil Jig
There are several benefits to using a Glowforge pencil jig:
- Holds pencils in place for proper alignment
- Allows engraving multiple pencils in one go
- Saves time over engraving pencils individually
- Can be reused over and over
- Makes it easy to do batch pencil personalization
- Enables neat, consistent engraving positioning
- Lets you efficiently engrave things like names on pencils for favors, parties, schools, etc.
How to Make a Glowforge Pencil Jig
Making your own Glowforge pencil jig is easy and only requires a few supplies. Here is what you’ll need:
- Glowforge laser cutter
- Sheet of thick cardboard, wood, acrylic, or other laser-safe material for the Glowforge pencil jig
- Painter’s tape
- Pencils for sizing slots
- Design the Glowforge pencil jig template in a program like Adobe Illustrator. Make cutouts that are slightly wider than your pencils to account for variations in size. Leave around 1/8″ between slots.
- Upload the design to the Glowforge app and set the Glowforge pencil jig cutouts to “Score.” This will etch the outline instead of cutting all the way through.
- Tape down scrap material like cardboard over the Glowforge pencil jig cutouts. This prevents damaging the machine bed when cutting.
- Load your Glowforge pencil jig material into the Glowforge and print the design. Allow it to score the outline of the Glowforge pencil jig and its slots.
- Remove the Glowforge pencil jig material and peel off the excess cardboard. Insert a pencil into each scored slot and trace around them with a permanent marker.
- Replace the material in the Glowforge but this time set the Glowforge pencil jig cutouts to “Cut” instead of “Score.” Print again to cut out the Glowforge pencil jig fully.
- Once cutting is complete, remove the Glowforge pencil jig from the Glowforge. Use a utility knife to cut out any remaining material around the pencil slots.
Your DIY Glowforge pencil jig is now ready! Simply insert pencils into the cutout slots and engrave away. Be sure to focus on the tip end for engraving. Reuse your Glowforge pencil jig anytime you need to engrave multiple pencils in batches.
What is an Xtool P2 Pencil Jig?
An Xtool P2 pencil jig serves the same purpose as the Glowforge pencil jig, holding multiple pencils for neat engraving. The Xtool P2 is another popular laser cutter, so making a jig designed specifically for it ensures proper fit and alignment.
The process for making an Xtool P2 pencil jig is also similar, with just a few adjustments based on material thickness and machine bed size.
Benefits of an Xtool P2 Pencil Jig
The benefits of using an Xtool P2 pencil jig are:
- Holds pencils firmly for engraving
- Allows batch engraving of multiple pencils
- Easy to align pencils in cutout slots
- Reusable for any future pencil engraving
- Saves time over individual pencil engraving
- Provides even, consistent engraving positioning
- Great for engraving names, monograms, logos, etc.
- Can engraving pencils of any shape – hex, round, or triangular
How to Make an Xtool P2 Pencil Jig
Follow these steps to easily create an Xtool P2 compatible pencil jig:
- Xtool P2 laser cutter
- 1/8″ thick plywood or MDF wood sheet
- Drafting triangle or square
- Basswood plywood for honeycomb panel (optional)
- Painter’s tape
Steps to Make the Xtool P2 Pencil Jig:
- Design a template in a program like Adobe Illustrator with slots sized for your pencils spaced about 1/8″ apart.
- Set up the Xtool P2 laser cutter with honeycomb panel and mounts (optional). Align plywood at top left corner.
- Secure material with tape and print just the outline frame of the Xtool P2 pencil jig as a test (“Score” setting).
- Once scored, trace over the Xtool P2 pencil jig slots with an actual pencil to finalize their width.
- Replace wood in Xtool P2 and cut out the entire Xtool P2 pencil jig using “Cut” setting.
- Carefully remove the Xtool P2 pencil jig then use a utility knife to cut any remaining material from pencil slots.
- Place engraved pencils into the Xtool P2 pencil jig slots, focusing on tip end. Print desired engraving design.
- When finished engraving, remove pencils for a neat, batch engraved result!
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The end result is a reusable Xtool P2 pencil jig that can be used over and over to easily engrave multiple pencils in one session. Customize the Xtool P2 pencil jig size and slot layout to match your specific needs.
Tips for Using Pencil Jigs
Here are some helpful tips when using your DIY Glowforge or Xtool P2 pencil jig:
- Play around with engraving settings like speed, power, etc. to get ideal results on pencils without too much melting.
- Get the best engraving alignment by focusing designs towards the tip end of the pencils in the Glowforge or Xtool P2 pencil jig slots.
- Print an engraving test on scrap material first before attempting on actual pencils.
- Ensure all pencils are inserted straight and flush in the Glowforge or Xtool P2 pencil jig slots before engraving.
- Clean lens and replace air filter if you notice any engraved lines appearing crooked.
- Consider masking over manufacturer pencil labels if you don’t want them to get engraved over.
- Try engraving on peeled pencils for a smooth surface to accept the designs cleanly.
Sample Engraving Ideas
Here are some fun pencil engraving ideas to try out on your new Glowforge or Xtool P2 pencil jig:
- Names – perfect for favors, table signs, gifts, recognition
- Quotes or inspirational phrases
- Graduation years or class gifts
- Monograms using initials
- Logos for businesses, teams, schools, etc.
- Birthdays, holidays, events
- Arrows, geometric patterns, borders, shapes
- Custom messages for teachers, coaches, family
Get creative with your new Glowforge or Xtool P2 pencil jig and batch engrave customized pencils for any occasion!
A custom cut Glowforge or Xtool P2 pencil jig makes it so easy to engrave multiple pencils in one go. Simply design the Glowforge or Xtool P2 pencil jig, cut it out from sturdy material like wood or acrylic, and start personalizing pens for any event or purpose.
Use the step-by-step tutorials provided to begin making your own Glowforge or Xtool P2 pencil jigs. With the proper alignment and settings, you’ll be able to efficiently engrave neat designs, logos, names, dates, quotes, and more onto dozens of pencils at a time!
What materials can I use to make a DIY pencil jig?
Thick cardboard, wood, acrylic, and other laser-safe materials are good options for crafting homemade pencil jigs.
How are pencil jigs used?
Jigs hold multiple pencils in aligned slots for efficient engraving or personalization in batches rather than individually.
What can I engrave on pencils with a jig?
Names, initials, quotes, logos, shapes, holidays, events, graduation years, and more make great pencil engravings.
Do pencil jigs work for all pencil shapes?
Yes, hexagonal, round, and triangular pencils can be engraved using properly designed and sized jig slots.
Can I reuse my homemade pencil jigs?
Absolutely, DIY jigs can be reused over and over again for multiple pencil engraving projects.
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