Zeroing a CNC Router and Laser for the same project

For those who may be interested in how to offset the laser and router so they work together in a combined project, I found this great example on the JTech website.

You must create a zero location on your board. This must be done whenever you have multiple tools offset from one another. In this case, you have both the router and the laser at different locations, so you must create a physical mark on the location that your toolpaths will start from. We utilized the laser and created a mark that resembled a hunter’s sight, because coolness counts.

Make sure that you place your origin mark in a location that provides ample room for your gantry to travel in the positive X and Y direction with both the laser and the router equipped. Remember that your laser is not positioned in the same location as your router, so you need to verify that both your router and laser are able to travel over the entire job area.


The file for the sight mark is provided at the follwing link: Zeroing Target

Constructive feedback - I don’t think there’s quite enough information here to be a tutorial (yet!). I’m familiar with both router and laser cutting/engraving workflows, and wasn’t sure if you are suggesting lasering then cutting, cutting then lasering, or if it doesn’t matter at all. I think this is the original source you mentioned?

That is the original source but I did not list the entire project because I was mainly interested in the way they zeroed both devices on the same point. Whether there is enough info to be a “tutorial” is up for debate but it may help someone figure out a problem they are having.

As far as the workflow is concerned, I was not trying to suggest it be done one way or the other, just referencing the zeroing procedure they used. Thanks for the feedback.

So once I have the target engrave by the laser, I can center the router over it and then use that fixed offset for the future? Or do you “rezero” the machine to that target for future jobs as well?

It seems like so long as you keep the laser installed, all you need to do is measure the offset once, and then the actual job zero doesn’t matter over time. You just need to zero one or the other and then manually offset your zero between laser to router tool changes. Truly asking, as I’ve been pondering going down this path…

My understanding is that once you have the laser draw the “target”, you then zero the router and the laser to that point before starting the respective gcode to run. That way you can engrave what you need to and then immediately follow-up with the laser engraving over that same area without having to figure out the offset. Like you, I am just trying to figure out the best way to do this.

I would use a little more accurate point to zero on than the example they gave. Maybe something like this.

zero-point