Aligning Large Material Even/Level/Square Engraving


My wife and I made a 12" x 24" sign for a family friend. The sign was the typical type where you cut the letters out and attach them to a backer board. It was suggested that I lightly engrave the outline of the letter on the backer to make assembly easier. It was a challenge to get it all lined up before engraving. Even after setting it up and quadruple checking the engraved lettering still was skewed about 1/8 to 3/16 from level.

Are there any tips to get the material aligned and square when doing things like this? Is there a better way to place letters?

This is how I square a work piece to my machine:

And for very precise alignment (when and if needed):

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Some great ideas! Thank you!