As a Designer, I want to start prepping, so

Lets talk the design files.

First, I get that this is a bit (LOT) premature. Campaign hasnt even ended, Im late in line, and yet I think about it every day and constantly come up with ideas. I most likely wont see my printer until next summer :(. Even so, I cant stop the mind from dreaming, designing, and planning.

So, from videos, I see a few different things.

  • You raster for engraving, you vector for cutting.
  • You can draw directly to the material, and it engraves entirely, and somehow is smart enough to cut the outline (but what if the outline doesnt connect?)
  • Its mentioned that grayscale (thus the 256 levels) will determine depth of etch

So, the questions are this.

  • With grayscale, is lighter less depth and darker more?
  • if I only use a raster image, is there a way to tell it which is cut and which is engrave? maybe a color of the line to tell to cut?
  • is there a interface I can use NOW to start understanding the usage, even though I cant actually print right now?
  • Can I rotate the image in the tool to align with the crooked object? id so, will this cause unevenness (or ugly edges) with a raster image?

SUPER excited to begin using this and putting it through its paces (and probably 8 months premature with this excitement). Can’t wait! Therefore, Im going to start getting the designs flowing. :slight_smile:


Colors define “group” within your design. You tell the software what to do with each color group.

The greyscale hasn’t been implemented yet, but should allow you to specify power level at two ends of a gradient, so you can define darker to higher power or lighter, your choice (again… not designed, so speculating on what ought to be done).

For drawings, you interact with the scanned image briefly before the cut/engrave happens, telling the machine how to treat each segment it identified.

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And one minor clarification. You can use vector for engraving too. In this thread (, Dan explains a little more.

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Yes, basically right so far - to add one thing, if you have a bitmap and want to cut it, you need to vectorize it (which you can do pretty easily in Inkscape or Illustrator).

How thick does a vector line need to be for cutting (1 px?)

I can’t speak specifically for the Glowforge, but generally a vector line does not have a thickness or use pixels. It is two points with an equation that draws a curved or straight line between the points. I assume a vector line will cut the thickness of the focused laser. Please correct me if I’m wrong guys.

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@rfogel We ignore the line thickness when preparing it for printing; the laser traces the line itself.