3d etching

I have tried using greyscales in illustrator to create a 3d engrave master, but it keeps engraving everything regardless of what colors I use. I have tried unsuccessfully to read about how to do it, .

The Glowforge doesn’t process gradient fills. Any percentage gradient grey will still come over as the base color black, if I can guess at what technique you are using.

You need to make all your gradients and then save it as a bitmap. Then do the variable engrave settings.

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Vector paths can only be cut or engraved.
There’s a built in rasterize function in Illustrator, but saving out a jpg or PNG is probably the easiest non destructive way. (Unless you like the copy/paste method of uploading projects)

not sure what you mean, I am trying to keep the lettering and cup raised and not etched


The part (background) you want engraved must be a solid color. The laser will then engrave that part only and leave the remainder. You can choose to ‘ignore’ the chalice and the lettering in the settings in the UI, and everything but them will be engraved. I hope I understand what you’re wishing to do.


You have a real mess of individual parts, gaps, and “too thin to live:” bits organized in how you are thinking of them rather than how it needs to be cut. As @Xabbess says you cannot have an “oh and leave this” , everything must be “cut here” so you need your circle to be solid .with the lettering and chalice removed so they are holes and not “things” . If you want a chalice with lines in it, then the chalice outline must be the hole and the interior bits a separate color so they can be treated differently,

What you are thinking are lines in the chalice are more easily thought of as sausages that will be cut all around and thus have a pass on each side rather than a line that will be cut down the middle.

You can only cut an outline and only engrave a fill. By turning the outline to a different color than the fill and turning the fill off and on you can more easily see what is what, and may have to zoom in to see it. If you cannot have the fill as one object (with holes where you want to ignore those places ) you cannot engrave it. Any cuts or scores will be on the outline, that will be the same width no matter how thick or thin the line.


As usual, the comments here are great and I’m extra-grateful for the tips on how to use Illustrator.

I have just a couple to add:

This tutorial describes how to setup a file that cuts where you want and engraves or scores where you want.

This one tells more about how to work with a 3d engrave to get the results you want. You’ll be most interested in this section: Grayscale - Vary Power and Min Power

Will you let us know how it goes?

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Is this what you’re trying to do?


I grouped all of your text and the chalice for each of the tokens, and placed them on top of the black circle, the did a minus front in AI.

As somebody noted above, I’m not sure you’ll like this because of the font choice and the skinny artwork, but good luck.


It’s been a little while since I’ve seen any replies on this thread so I’m going to close it. If you still need help with this please either start a new thread or email support@glowforge.com.