Adobe illustrator

Well since my Glowforge is down awaiting parts, I’ve decided to go ahead and subscribe to adobe illustrator - I’m not sure if it’s the best program for Glowforge but I just went for it!!
Does anyone know how to download the Glowforge plugin for adobe illustrator?
So - I’ve been looking at tutorials on how to use Ai since I have no experience with it. I’m enjoying it - too bad I can’t print anything yet - Lol


To my knowledge there isn’t yet a plugin, but it should give you kickass control over your vector shapes to then export as SVG for the GF. Best thing to do is practice Bézier curves with the pen tool and anchor controls, then get familiar with the pathfinder palette to combine and dissect your shapes.


I seem to recall reading that with the latest versions of Illustrator you can create your art, select-all, copy it and then simply paste it right into the GF gui. Saving steps of saving, exporting, importing, etc.

If I had my GF I’d try it :wink: but that was going to be my planned workflow for all the many tests I’ll need to do. Illustrator is a super powerful app, I’ve been using and learning them for decades now and still find many things I never knew. Stick to the basics and watch a few tutorials but if you are generally familiar with vector software you’ll get the hang of it.



It’s very easy to get overwhelmed in trying to learn too much of what everything does. I got that way in my brief messing around with Blender a long time ago; it made me give up on it.

Set out with an objective in mind; I want to learn how to do this. And go from there. Illustrator is so widely used by professionals that a ton of tutorial content exists.

FYI, re: the print plugin. That hasn’t been released. It basically saves a step between the SVG export. As mentioned, you can copy/paste from the program to the GF User Interface. I haven’t done so yet, so can’t provide any advice there.


Not really. That may work if the constellations are aligned a certain way, but I’ve never had any luck.

Illustrator 88 was good but Freehand 1.0 was the bomb. :smiley:


I have never had it work either. But saving to SVG is easy enough

You should really take a look at Adobe’s tutorials. They do a decent job at getting someone new to the program going. After that, youtube, lynda(your local library might have an account), just playing around.


Ditto. Doesn’t seem to work for me either on Illustrator CC '17. But, the release notes on the Latest Improvement page mentions Inkscape and Illustrator '15 - with the caveat that they are working on later versions.

to echo what’s said above, don’t try to learn it all. it will never happen. even after nearly 20 years i find new ways of doing things that have existed for a long time. it’s an immensely complicated program designed to do many things that very few people need to do all of.

but don’t let that be discouraging. learn the basics and you can do a lot. then you can start to learn/figure out all of the cool things and tricks over time.

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do you guys have a link for a good tutorial for GF from design to print, something that has both engrave and cut. I’ve seen some old ones but didn’t really focus on the how to aspect.
is there a published manual for the software - i must be looking at the wrong place.


There are separate tutorials (very basic) for the design software and a specific Designing for the Glowforge section in the Matrices in the Glowforge Tips and Tricks section of the forum.

You need to access them through the Table of Contents for that section, because they are Google spreadsheets.

The 2D vector Programs Matrix has commonly asked Illustrator questions, as well as Inkscape and a few for CorelDraw and Affinity Designer.

The Laser Design Basics tutorial is one that I suggest everyone read first, no matter your expertise. It explains how the Glowforge interface works and what it is looking for from a design standpoint.


Two Illustrator pro tips:

  1. Create a 20"x12" default size (or, if you like, a 19"x11" one with a half-inch of bleed around the edges). It’ll place itself in the GF UI more or less where it is in Illustrator.
  2. Disable “Responsive” SVG output. There’s one checkbox for the default SVG output, and one for the Export for Screens option, which I prefer. Unchecked, it’ll cut/engrave things at the correct size; checked, at 80%.

Agreed with everything that’s been said above, but also – the two things I find most useful at the intersection of lasers and Illustrator are:

Live Trace – Illustrator can take a raster image and trace it into vector shapes. I use it most commonly when somebody’s handed me an ugly logo file to clean up, but it can have a myriad of uses if you play around with it.

Ctrl+D – This is a versatile command that boils down to “repeat last transformation.” When you’re building tabs or arranging things in a grid, I use this keyboard shortcut more than anything.

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While the Glowforge supplied support page “Learn by Doing” tutorial uses Inkscape to demonstrate a from scratch project, the designing a luggage tag from scratch gives the steps you would need to make something. It’s very clear.

Perhaps someone who has AI could use the same workflow but use AI.


I actually got it to work with Illustrator CS5 (Mac) and Chrome.



Go to Illustrator, select a stroked, not filled image (I didn’t try filled, should work too), copy, go to Chrome, login to design screen (or whatever they call it where you see your list of designs you have run), paste. The GFUI goes to Rendering…and opens the bed view with the design in it.


I haven’t had any issues since they implemented it. As a matter of fact, it’s really awesome. I kick myself when I forget it’s that easy.

I know you’re a Safari user. I wonder if that’s another issue they’re having with Safari?

No, chrome. But wrong version of Illustrator. I don’t have the old one.

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