2019 - Creating a Stencil (How to set what is going to be cut)

New GF owner here. What may be limiting growth is learning how to take your design and identify what the laser is going to cut vs engrave. Can someone please explain the basics in your favorite design software. How do I take a drawling (either my own or found) and markup what I want to be cut out and what I want to be engraved? For reference, I do make stencils on a Circuit Pro and maybe this is similar to separating the layers of an image. I plan to use Milar between 6mil to 10mil.

1 Like

First off, bitmaps are always engraved. Vectors can be scored or cut or engraved. Beyond that, you can select a different color in your file for a different action.

A single scanned drawing will be viewed by GF as one element. You need to separate it into different elements to be able to specify different actions and the sequence of those actions.

Yes, we have a series of tutorials that explain the basics:

The Glowforge team recommends working through your first prints by following along with the examples shown here to learn where everything is:

They have also recently added instructions with video on using the Manual settings here:
Working with Manual Settings

And there are methods for Enhancing your Photo Engraves and Cutting Out a Shape as well.

(You can click on the topic headers in the left-hand column for even more information.)

That particular page is also handy if you have any problems to Troubleshoot and you can always access it by clicking on the Support button in the app.

Once you have run through the sample prints, some of the customers have put together some handy Tips sheets and a lot of tutorials in the Tips and Tricks section of the forum.

Some good ones to start with:

Have fun! :slightly_smiling_face:


Suggest you start here: https://glowforge.com/support/topic/first-three-prints

1 Like

Does your Cricut export SVGs? You can use them as is. I have used some Silhouette designs with Pro edition able to save as an SVG.

The vector needs a defined color but no defined fill if you want to cut the outline of the objects.

You can also use MS Word’s native drawing tools to do simple shapes and save them as a PDF. It works great especially if you want to engrave a vector filled engrave but you can also cut them in outline if you remove the fill and define the outline path with a color.

Different colored paths get treated as different operations in the interface. But go through the first three prints. The third one about making a custom giftag will give you the info you want.

I actually added my image to PhotoShop and separated the colors by layers then saved as SVG. Then up uploaded into Cricut Design. Cricut does a pretty good job, but thinking GF could do better.

1 Like

1 Like

Thanks. Created new image with separate layers. So each layer was on a separate upload and saved as a svg file. GF still did not allow me to cut, and viewed the upload as a bitmap for some reason.

When you created the new image, do you mean you drew it with a vector program such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw or some software like that. Or was the image brought in from elsewhere?

If you want to post the file here, we can look at it and see what the issue might be.

It’s a process but as a test I pulled images into photoshop, separated the layers then saved each layer as a png. There is also an option to export as svg. The I would open in Inkscape, trace as bitmap so I can save as svg with cut lines defined. It’s a process but it works so far.

1 Like