Can I use a CNC file in AI format

I purchased a lamp design, made for CNC machines and receiveda Adobe Illustrator format. Is it possible to use it in Glowforge?

Not directly, but if you convert the AI file to SVG format, it should work. (You can do that in Illustrator or Inkscape.)

I did convert it, but the pieces aren’t fitting together properly. When I first open it in Inkscape it asks me the scale I want to use. I just used the default setting. It might also be that the file is metric, not imperial, and only for 3mm or 4mm wood. I’m in over my head. :slight_smile:

Ahhhh… yes, those things do need to be taken into account. I’ll be happy to take a look at the file to offer some suggestions if you want to send it to me in a Private Message.

Or I can make suggestions that might work. Did you want to print it at the original size or resize it? Resizing it affects things like the thickness of slots, and you have to take the thickness of the material into account in that case.

It’s not always easy to resize a purchased file.

Okay, I’m going to put this on the public forum since other people might have the same questions about resizing files. :slightly_smiling_face:

  1. The first thing I always do with purchased files is to simply copy them into my default workspace size of 20" x 12", which is the size of the bed that we have to work with. The units in this case are mm, so I copy it into a 508 mm x 304.8 mm worksheet, which is the equivalent. I don’t know that it’s necessary, but it’s just easier for me to eliminate one possibility for resizing issues.

  2. When I do that, I get a result that looks like this for the 3mm file, which roughly corresponds to our Medium weight materials:

That white block in the background is our bed size. You can see that you’re going to have trouble fitting some of the center sections of the design onto one sheet as it is sized, and the whole design is going to take a lot of material. At my guess at least ten sheets of Proofgrade, even with stacking. So you need to decide if Proofgrade is what you want to use. If you do not have a Pro, you’re not going to be able to cut it as sized anyway - you would need to rotate the center sections and feed it through the long way.

If you should decide that you want to cut it from something like cardboard - that affects the slot sizes and they will need to be scaled down independently of the shape of the lamp, so that’s one thing that has to be done. If you just want to make it smaller so that the pieces will fit on the bed, one at a time, then you need to scale the outsides down without scaling down the slot sizes. Those will need to stay the same to work with the thickness of the material.

Is that completely confusing? The short answer is, yes, it can be done, but it’s going to take a lot of work either way given that design, and it might be more than you want to tackle right now.

On the other hand, project driven learning is a great way to get up to speed on something…I guarantee you’ll be an expert by the time you finish that file, so it might be a fun project to tackle if you want to learn to use Inkscape. :wink:


Thanks for helping! Makes total sense now that you lay it out. A little too much work for where I’m at right now, but maybe in the future. I know a couple guys who have a CNC so maybe if I provided the material they’d help me out. Thanks again :slight_smile:

1 Like