Graphic Correction For Tapered Tumblers

Graphic Correction For Tapered Tumblers

In the video above we covered the basics of creating full wrap designs on tumblers and we tackled the theory behind graphics becoming skewed or distorted when engraving on tapered tumblers. 

The main cause of this phenomenon is the fact that the surface is conical shaped and as the rotary is turning the workpiece, the diameter of the tumbler is decreasing as you move towards the smaller end of the tumbler. The software controlling this process believes it is dealing with a cylinder so no correction is made. The result is a graphic that will converge towards the bottom of the cone.

To process tapered tumblers, you will need a tool to tilt the workpiece so the surface is always parallel with the laser. I have several solutions available for the XTool D1 Pro (may also work with S1 and P2), and a version for the XTool F1 (as seen in the video).

In a full wrap design (continuous) it is not possible to compensate for this convergence because expanding the graphic along the small diameter of the cone will result in the graphic overlapping itself. There is not enough real estate on the smaller diameter to expand the graphic. 

However, if you are only laser engraving a single logo or a limited number of designs onto the surface with adequate spacing between them, you will have room to compensate for the convergence and your logo can still appear to be square, rectangular, or circular, etc. 

I have built a calculator for you to solve the amount of distortion required for perfect dimensional results.

To achieve this, first you must take some measurements of your tapered tumbler. You will also need to know the desired size of the logo you wish to produce on your tumbler. These would be dimensions Xnom, and Ynom.

If you have a circular or other shape logo, draw a bounding box around the logo touching the edges of your logo.


  • D1 is the large diameter of the tumbler
  • D2 is the small diameter of the tumbler
  • z is the vertical height from the larger diameter to the small diameter
  • Xnom is the desired width of your graphic
  • Ynom is the desired height of your graphic
  • y1 is the distance from the large diameter of your tumbler to the closest edge of your graphic

Be sure to use the same units of measurement for all of the variables. For instance, everything should be input in mm, inches, cm, etc. Your output will be in the same units of measurement.

The output measurements are x1, and x2. 


These measurements represent the final dimension of the top, bottom of your square/rectangle that is being distorted. If you have an irregular/circular logo these are the dimensions of the bounding box you need to distort proportionally with the logo.

In the video above I show the tools in Adobe Illustrator to achieve this. If you are using different graphic editing software there are likely similar tools. 

Now you can save your distorted image and import it into LightBurn or XTool Creative Space. You want to align the larger side of your graphic (x2) with the smaller end of the tumbler so that it will be mapped onto the surface to compensate for the taper. 


Graphic Mapping on Tapered Surface Calculator



Another option to achieve non-distorted graphics is to not use the rotary system at all. The trade-off is that you will not be able to engrave very wide graphics as the laser will eventually fall out of focus as the surface curves away. However, for small or skinny logos it is a perfectly viable solution and you will not need to distort your graphic. You will need some kind of "V-Block" to hold your round object on the flat plate. I offer an insert for the XTOOL F1 but you could also use it with other laser engravers to keep the round work piece from rolling away. I have made it multi-purpose to also hold pencils and bottle openers for engraving. You can find that here:

I also have other relevant upgrades and accessories for use with the rotary module and tumblers, etc. 

If you have not yet purchased your XTool machine yet, consider the following:

If you need materials for your rotary projects and the V-Block Fixture, look no further. As an Amazon Associate may I earn from qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you):

Back to blog