Adobe illustrator

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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using CC2017, hitting Paste in the design window opens the Upload Dialog box, but doesn’t put anything into it. Hitting paste again brings up a momentary “you can’t upload any more designs” message in the Upload Dialog box, and then jumps immediately to the “there was a problem” box.

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Maybe it only works for a limited type of designs. Seems like I’ve seen what you mention as well. What worked was a single piece from a tabbed box, consisting of a stroked vector, no fill, with grouped sgments.

My test an hour ago was trying to copy a simple square (one path with four nodes).
I tried it stroked, filled, stroked & filled, and blank.

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(P.s - I’m liking because my results were the same, using the same methodology)

My suspicion is that CC2017 is either using SVG with some new extensions in the clipboard, or something else entirely. The latter may be more likely. CC2018 came out yesterday, but I won’t get a chance to play with it for a while.

It should be possible, though, to script a “Copy :glowforge: SVG to clipboard” action that generates something simple enough for a browser/the GFUI to interpret. (Though to be honest, my desired workflow would be an Illustrator extension to power the :glowforge: directly…)

Good call! I will try this out in a little bit. Despite others success, I hadn’t been able to do this with CC2017.