Art- Canvas cutting

I’m brand new and trying to cut canvas circles. Can you tell me some good settings for non-standard materials? It’s a cotton duck canvas. I’ve got one pass cued up but it says it will take 13 minutes which seems waaaaay too long (I’ve done this on other lasers, took 4 minutes for an entire sheet of circles.) I’m a bit worried if I hit print it will do something awful.

If you are cutting something that takes 15 minutes to process, i assume it’s fairly detailed, correct?

You absolutely need to have that canvas stuck down on something that will keep the little bits from flying around in the machine…they can catch fire and wind up in your exhaust fan and that can mess it up. Make sure you are using a Seklema mat or you can create your own with some repositionable spray adhesive on a sheet of scrap plywood. But make sure you secure that canvas, including the little cutouts.

Yes it can create a real problem. Anything lightweight enough to blow around in the air assist has to be secured. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Sounds like it could have been set to engrave rather than cut?


Thank you so much for answering! This first test was just a plain, 2 inch circle, no design. I’ve done this successfully on other laser cutters, so I was assuming it would work on the glowforge. I will definitely get a Seklema mat for detailed designs, and the homemade one sounds great too.

Yeah, if it’s just a two inch circle, @jbv is probably correct…check to see that you have it set to cut not engrave. That shouldn’t take 13 minutes. (Still need to weight it down.)

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Weighting it down seems to be a great idea, since I think it’s having a hard time reading it because it’s too thin. What do you use to weight it down?

i use a mat, but some people will use strategically placed magnets. (And you do have to enter the correct thickness in the Unknown Materials slot.)

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Yes, it was set to engrave, but the “cut” setting is grayed out, won’t let me cut for this. The error message says it’s unable to cut for this. I’ve checked with the help desk. It may be that it’s too thin? The help desk mentioned it might be a bug in the software, unable to read the thin material. I’m curious though, because I’ve seen people cut paper here. Perhaps they’re using the mat?

If cut is grayed out, you have a raster file, not a vector. You will need a vector file to cut

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Thank you! I have tons of magnets, fantastic idea. Which thickness did you use for canvas? I keep getting messages that say it needs to be less than .5 with the tray in and 1.5 - 2 with tray in. I put in .1 - rather randomly, but it’s just canvas. I’ve tried different widths.

Ah, I bet that’s the problem! I was using the trace function. Dang. I was thinking I could cut things out based on trace alone, not designing all of it in adobe.

I think you can, I havent really played much with the trace function. @jules wrote this up:

i don’ think you’ll ever get as clean of a circle as you would with a vector, though.


You guys are awesome, thanks so much for your help!

I’m on a chromebook and having a hard time loading the “Insta” program, so I’ll need to jump in and learn some photoshop I guess. I know it shouldn’t be hard to draw a circle - haha!

I’d go with learning some illustrator first, if you have access to it, as that is adobe’s primary vector tool. I did write up a way to get vector cut lines from photoshop, but it was finicky.

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Good advice, I have the creative cloud suite, so I can do illustrator too. It’s high time I learn, I supposed. I was really thinking that cutting out circles on the glowforge would be rather simple though. Keep thinking I’m missing something…

here’s a 4" circle svg you can cut



oh you said you were doing 2" circles…
here you go.



it is really simple… once you start to learn about how to create vectors. My best advice would be to find someone’s illustrator tutorial channel on youtube, someone whose voice you can deal with, and follow along for some easy projects. simple little projects will help you get to know various functions and tools without getting overwhelmed by the possibilities. something like this is a fine start:

There are also a bunch of great tutorials in the matrix. This one that I made goes by pretty fast, so it may or may not be helpful.


Wow! Thank you so much! I tried to thank you yesterday, but apparently my comments are limited since I’m new - ha! I only get a certain number of comments per day. Story of my life…! Anyway, I used this circle you made, and it cut in 11 seconds on the medium fiberboard, which is awesome, and exactly what I expected. I also found that “google shapes” will let me save svg files. Yay! So I have a page of circles now. Today I will try it on canvas, and use a setting of .1, and try magnets to hold the canvas to the bed. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m so pleased that I’ve stumbled into such a wonderful community. Thanks again!