3d Engraving help

New guy here 1.5 weeks old. I’ve been trying to use inkscape to try my hand at 3d engraving. I want to move on from just using my GF as a glorified inkjet printer and try and create something more exciting.
Is there a video on how to get a good image to print? I have been tracing the bitmap to get multiple layers and trying to combine the best layer to print but they get muddled and loose definition. Been trying to use scrap pine for now so I don’t waste my good proof grade wood. I sure hope there is a video out there. I have been looking at youtube and searching this forum but no luck.
Also I don’t see the option to 3d engrave when I select manual. Is it because I’m not using proofgrade?

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3D engraving uses something called Depth Mapping, which is usually created in a program like Blender or Zbrush, although there are some workarounds for those who don’t have the $$$ to blow on Zbrush.

Link here:

Since it is a raster image, the 3D Engrave option will only show up in the Glowforge User Interface for raster images, and it is limited to hardwoods, acrylic and draftboard. (3D engraving on plywood generally doesn’t work very well because of the veneer.)

If you are using Manual Settings, you can duplicate the effect of the 3D Engrave process by using Vary Power rather than Convert to Dots.


Thanks for the rapid reply Jules. I’ll check that out.!

You need a depth map to get a true to life 3D engraving, but you can get interesting results using a regular grey scale images as well. Just keep in mind that the darker the color, the deeper it burns. These are the 3D posts I have bookmarked.

and here


Thank you Kittski. I will check those out when I get home from work.
So with 3D you basically layer lighter to darker? I tried doing it with layers after tracing the bitmap but the details kept getting blown out for some reason. I did try to delete the muttled layers and keep the more detailed layers. Cant wait to get back home and read thru these.
Thanks again.

That is the case but you will be wanting to use Gimp rather than Inkscape. Inkscape as a final finishing with vectors will use the grayscale Gimp raster but you will need the Gimp to do the raster.

I did an easy start description here…

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Thanks Rbtdanforth

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Thank you @Jules, @kittski, and @rbtdanforth for the helpful links! I’m going to close this thread - if the problem reoccurs, go ahead and post a new topic. Thanks for letting us know about this!