Bitmaps not allowing me to CUT

Saving to SVG and showing up as Bitmaps not allowing me to cut.
No matter what I save it to , I am stuck with Bitmap.

Spent hours now trying to figure out how to cut a shape, very frustrating.

Have tried Inkscape Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop , I am at a loss.


Just dropping a bitmap into an SVG won’t allow you to cut. SVG files will act as a container file - allowing both vector code and embedded raster images.

What exactly are you trying to accomplish here?

Just a cut?

An engrave with a cut around the border?

Something else?


I am trying to just cut a shape out , a square as shown.
I saved a circle i made in Inkscape and it wont show on the screen.

First, try something preload in the GFUI, this will tell you if it is the gufi/glowforge or your file.

is there a way to convert a PSD file to Inkscape so I can save it to the SVG that way ?

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There might be a couple of tutorials that will help you to understand the difference between the operations like cutting, engraving and scoring, and the different way you need to create each kind of input.

You mentioned Inkscape, so since that is the program you are using, you can start with this:

PSD, which is a Photoshop format, creates bitmap style (raster) images and those can only be engraved with a laser. If you want to create cut lines, you will need to create vector paths, and for that you need a vector drawing program like Inkscape or Illustrator.

There is a list of suggested reading here, that will go a long way towards explaining the differences between vectors and rasters, and how they work with the laser.

The Glowforge team recommends first working through a few prints by following along with the examples shown here to learn where everything is:

That particular page is also handy if you have any problems to Troubleshoot and you can access it by clicking on the Support button in the app.

Once you have run through the sample prints, some of the customers have put together some handy Tips sheets and a lot of tutorials in the Tips and Tricks section of the forum.

Some good ones to start with:

Most are only a page or two, so just glance through them and remember to have fun! :slightly_smiling_face:


If you are trying to simply cut a square (or rectangle, or other simple shape) there is a MUCH easier way to create it in Inkscape than to convert a bitmap.

Open Inkscape
Click on the Rectangles and Squares tool on the toolbar

Draw your shape
Click back to the arrow tool on the toolbar (but keep the shape selected)
Fine tune the size in the object’s toolbar

Save as an .SVG and drop it into the :glowforge: UI

Important: Make sure the “Fill” is set to none and the “Stroke” is set to solid



Its very frustrating that I had to pay $10 per drawing to convert a JPG to SVG file when I tried everything under the sun to do it after paying for AI . A video of how to do it would be fantastic and yet I only found 1 guy that knew how to do it. This rattles my brain a bit. lol

I want to be able to do my artwork in PS and Export the JPG and convert to SVG , however not a single SVG no matter plain or InkScape or AI would open in Glowforge as they all showed up as a bitmap. $100 latter and I have them all converted but I just feel awful that I had to do that.


Bitmap programs make bitmaps. To make vectors, you need to use a vector program to create them. :slight_smile:

You are kind of missing the point, someone knows how to convert them perfectly to the Glowforge and yet know one else knows how to do it. I hired 3 designers today only 1 got it, the other designers failed with erros in the SVG file.

So this was hours and hundreds of tries for them, than this other designer pops them out like pop corn, converted 20 drawings like this in minutes .

Thus I would like to know how he did it.
I may pay him for a video of it.

Oh yeah I will keep everyone posted as I know we are all looking for a easy method and he has it.

First…are you wanting to use Illustrator or Inkscape for the conversions?

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Sure, it can be done, but it’s a WHOLE lot less labor-intensive, and you get better quality vectors, if you just create them as vectors to begin with.

Unless the person you hired actually hand-traced the artwork to create vector artwork from it, I’m going to bet your converted files are going to have bazillions of nodes and unconnected line segments that will wreak havoc with the Glowforge interface.

It’s really well worth it just to learn to use a vector art program. :slight_smile:

I bought everything AI and I Got Inkscape I was trying to convert a PSD TO A JPEG flat layers and than save as an SVG file. After 100 attempts at least saving in both AI and Inkscape it would not open in glowforge, everything was recognized as a Bitmap.

Thus I hired some experts today and as they failed , I continued to hire designers all day today , I was giving up thinking that if you make something in PS your dead in the water, you have to start from scratch in the vector program which hundreds of hours of artwork.

The last guy I hired send me a file and it lit up like xmas tree in glowforge and I was on my way.
after 100 conversion I was broke, lol

Thus the frustration of not being able to do it myself. His turn around was about a minute. others designers 100 fail attempts , been a long day.

Well okay, I generally don’t like to just hand over a file to someone because they don’t learn anything from it, but I’ll take the time to show you how to create the file in Illustrator (since you have that one) later tonight.

Is that the PNG file that you want to duplicate and create cut lines for?

(It’s going to take time to type it up with screen shots, and I’m going to have dinner first, so if that’s okay, I’ll check back later for your answer.


The image you posted wouldn’t take hundreds of hours. I could do it in 10 minutes. Create a triangle, round the corners. Create a circle. Align them to center, subtract the triangle from the circle. Duplicate and align the copies, and boom, you’re done. 'Way easier than the hellacious and expensive day it sounds like you’ve had! :slight_smile:

Maybe you can show me how to trace and save as SVG maybe that is what he did. But when I did it no go. Talk soon, thank you Jules

I am looking for a conversion not a creation at this time but good to know, Thank you.
I would consider a trace if I it would open correctly without errors .

I think that most frustrating thing is having it saved as a SVG file but not being able to CUT only engrave as everything that was saved was seen by glowforge as a bitmap…

This seems to be the CRUX for me.

Okay, i just used the png file that you had loaded up above, but I want to point out that it is at a miserably low resolution, and the results of Auto-Trace are going to reflect that.

To get the best results with Live Trace, you are going to need to save your files at a DPI of at least 300ppi (which is better for print work) up to 600 ppi. You will get much smoother results that way, but that part has to happen in Photoshop.

Okay open Illustrator and create a New file, 20" x 12".


Drag the image file onto the open Illustrator artboard and drop it. Once it’s there, Embed it into the file by pressing the Embed button that should appear when it is selected on the bottom row.

Click on the image to select it again, then click on the arrow next to the Live Trace button (or whatever the equivalent is in the newer version of AI) because you want to enter the Advanced Settings for the Live Trace. Once the dialog opens, make sure that Ignore White is checked. You can check the Preview box to see what your settings look like, it will display them, and it’s okay to change some of the numbers to see if you like the results. Click back on the image to see the changes. It doesn’t commit anything to paper until you hit the Trace button at the top.

After you click on the Trace button, select everything and click on Expand.

Then you select everything and set the Fill to Null, and give it a Stroke color. (Black in this case.)

Okay, that creates a file that consists solely of cut lines. They are not very good cut lines because of the bad resolution on the original, but that will still cut, not engrave.

And it is going to cut out the centers too, if you don’t want that to happen, you’ll need to ungroup everything (Select it, right click, and choose Ungroup) then either go in and delete all of the centers, or make them a different color than the outside circles. If they have a different Stroke color, they can be set to Score instead of cut in the interface. But it’s one color per operation.

When you have the file the way you want it, save it as an SVG, using the settings shown below:

Then open the Glowforge app, drag the SVG over onto the Dashboard and release it. It will open up with Cut lines, not engraves.


WOW , fantastic, Thank you Jules, just made my night better, will practice this . Ok I see how you saved it. WOW going to try this right now. Much appreciated.


My pleasure. (When you get some time, that Laser Design Basics tutorial I linked above will help you to understand what is going on a lot better.)