A question about which part will be cut - [Resolved]


I am working with a simple design, basically a silhouette of river rocks, that I want to cut out of acrylic to replace a contractor-grade exhaust fan cover in a bathroom. For some reason, when I save the file out of Inkscape and upload it to Glowforge, I get two thumbnails on the left side, each of which has the option to be engraved, cut or ignored. The fact that I have two thumbnails instead of just one, probably means I’m doing something wrong either in AI or Inkscape. Any help with that would also be appreciated, but my more immediate question is, is it the “dark” or the “light” areas that get cut by the laser. In the image below, you can see the difference between when I “ignore” one thumbnail and “cut” the other and vice versa. I could ruin a piece of draft board and find out, but I’m hoping someone might be able to tell me. What I want to do is cut out the shapes of the individual rocks, leaving the empty space between them as the substance of the fan cover. Thanks in advance!


How did you create the cut lines in the file? (And I’m going to ask about the Illustrator file, cause that’s the one I know…)

Did you use the Auto-Trace in AI? (It can create duplicate lines in auto-trace.)

And second, can you load up the file so I can take a look at it?


I did use Autotrace (Object|Image Trace|Make and Expand) in AI. I’m much more of a Photoshop guy. Is there something I should do before exporting to get rid of the duplicate lines? And, which file would you like? The .svg from Inkscape? Thank you so much for your reply, by the way!


To me it looks like the image is made up of three separate objects:
#1 the grout object
#2 the rock object
#3 the outer cut line

You have three options really.

You can set the rock and grout objects to engrave with different setting to give them contrast. (For example, the grout very light grey and the rocks dark grey). Set the outer line to cut.


Just delete or ignore either the rock or grout object. So if you want white rocks with dark grout, ignore the rock object and engrave the grout.


Take the image back into your program and combine the rock and grout into one object. (To me this isn’t necessary as option #2 should work fine.)

Jules is right though, if you want to load the SVG one of us could confirm it for you.


Thanks for your reply. I plan to ignore one and cut the other, but I’m trying to figure out which, as displayed in the Glowforge’s UI, is which. In the photo above, the top pane shows the “grout” as dark, and the bottom pane shows the “rocks” as dark. Which would be cut out in each of the two panes?


Oh, I gotcha now, I hadn’t realized you wanted to cut them out and not engrave them. If you select one of the thumbnails, the corresponding image you seen on the bed of the GF will turn green. It’s hard to tell from your pics, but it looks like the top one with the white/clear rocks would be the correct one. Hover over it and see though as that makes it easier to tell.

If it were me I’d hate to waste material and screw it up. I’d take it back into my program, combine all the pieces into one continuous object and remove any fill. That way for sure you can see exactly what will be cut out. It would also save any headaches of trying to align the outer edge with the inner rock panel. If you’d like, I can do it for you and you can see what I mean. I’m a visual person and it’s hard for me to explain it in writing sometimes :slight_smile:


There’s a special tutorial for how to deal with the results of the AI Auto-Trace situation here…not sure about what happens in Inkscape:

That one is unique to Illustrator. (Quick to fix though.)


Thank you so much! That’s a very kind offer. I’ll give it a shot myself, first and see if I can work it out. I hadn’t noticed that the image on the bed turns color when you hover over the corresponding thumbnail. I’ll look for that now.


Thank you, @Jules!


Okay, but let me clarify what’s going on, since you want to actually cut that and not engrave it.

When Illustrator Auto-Traces, it creates one trace of the black lines in an image like that, and a separate trace of the white areas. So you wind up with two traces of the same thing, if you want to use them as cut lines.

What you’re doing is deleting one of the sets - the white ones. After that, you can select everything left and remove the fill color, add a stroke color, and you’ll be left with one set of cut lines.

(I need to add that to the tutorial - it’s the first time it’s come up - so just add that one extra step to that tutorial.)


Thanks again, @Jules. I tried the tutorial, but when I try to select same fill & stroke to delete one of the traces, everything disappears no matter what part of the image (black or white) I click on. I’m getting frustrated enough that I’ll probably drop it for now and come back another time.


Did you ungroup first?


Not sure. I’ll try again. It would be nice if I could get these programs to do what I want them to do, instead of what I tell them to do…


ROFL! Don’t we all wish! :smile:


When you’re doing the trace, you can also click the “ignore white” option.


Now I’ve got to go look at my settings…dadgummit…

Dammit JB! You need to be writing these blasted things - i just found the Ignore White option hidden in the panel for Live Trace on the older CS versions as well. :smile:


@dan has my number LOL (somewhere… in a database or acct. program ha)


Hey @wfredette, did you ever have any success with that? Because @jbmanning5 has pointed out a much easier way to deal with it than that tutorial.

Just make sure you have Ignore White selected when you do the Auto-Trace and it should come out fine. (I’ve deleted that tutorial…it’s doing things the hard way.)


Yep! “Ignore White” is the tip of the week for me! I don’t use AI much, and didn’t even know there was an Image Trace “palette” or whatever they’re called. And even when I found and opened it, Ignore White was buried under Advanced. Seems to me it should be more front and center as I can imagine more situations in which I’d want to ignore white than to include it. Thanks so much for the help, everyone!


Thanks for all the troubleshooting done here. I’m glad you figured it out!