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Resize a Laser Cutting Template to a Different Material Thickness

Have you ever run into the situation where you found a cool template for laser cutting that you want to make, but the design is made for 3 mm thick material and you have only 1/8 inch (3.175 mm) or vice versa? Or you made a great deal on some plywood that was labeled 4 mm but when you measure it at home with your calipers you find out it’s actually only 3.7 mm and now you would have to redraw all your parts?

Well, there is a simple solution to this problem: Just rescale the design from the original to a new material thickness! To calculate the scale factor, use this formula:

Scale Factor = (New Thickness / Original Thickness) * 100

As simple as this solution is there is also one caveat: The final size of whatever you make will also change. This may not be a problem in many situations but if you require fixed dimensions then simply rescaling won’t work.

Example: Resize a plan from 3 mm to 1/8 inch material thickness

I will demonstrate the resizing using Inkscape, but the same technique will work basically any vector editing software. As an example file, I took the SVG template for my Apprentice Puzzle Box. This plan is designed for 3 mm plywood. Let’s say we want to laser cut it from 1/8 inch ( 3.175 mm) wood instead.

Scale Factor = (3.175 / 3) * 100 = 105.83 %

Open the file in Inkscape and then select all elements using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+A.

Next, in the top menu go to Object -> Transform or use the shortcut Shift+Ctrl+M.

How to open the "Transform" window tab in Inkscape.

This will open the Transform window. Switch to the Scale tab by clicking on “Scale”.

Set the checkmark for “Scale proportionally” and then enter the scale factor in the “Width” field. In our example, the scale factor is 105.83 %. Make sure that you set the unit to “%” and then click on “Apply“.

How to enter the scale factor for resizing to a different material thickness.

And that’s it! The whole plan ist now resized and ready to be cut from 1/8 inch material.

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