Can projects be too complex for the Glowforge?

Hello All,

I want to cut this image out of PG Draftboard, but it’s a very complex image. I’m running into two separate issues.

  1. I keep getting the “Preparing Your Print” window for a long period of time (up to about 30 minutes)

  2. I finally got a time frame for the cut (which was only 1 hour 16 minutes), the software said the machine was ready, but the button on my machine never lit up so I couldn’t start the print.

I don’t feel like it’s a super long cut because I have had some go for close to two hours.
I’ve re-set the machine, closed my browser, and I attempted to hold the button down to get the GF WiFi settings, but nothing happened.

I was wondering if this was just maybe too much for the GF? It breaks everything down into extreme detail and there are over 100 parts to this cut. It was a bummer when I had to reset my browser because I had to select cut on what felt like a million different sections. Any advice or help would be lovely.

Here’s the image!

I guess I should also note that this is an SVG file.

Are you sure you want to cut everything on this image? It would be a good engrave with a cut around the outside.

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Designs can be too complex, but this one isn’t. It only has ~20,000 nodes (I’ve found the limit to be close to 40,000) but it does have over 4300 discrete objects and that really messes things up. If you combine them, it loads and processes in seconds. Took 7 seconds for me.

As stated, however, it’s probably a little too much to expect to cut. Much better suited to engrave.


Yes, that could be cut, but you would have to do a few things first to keep from creating a fire with it. :slightly_smiling_face:

First, keep in mind that all of those teeny tiny little cuts in the interior are going to have a kerf associated with them…you will want to expand the spacing between the design elements. Or it’s just going to crumble into charred pieces.

Second, the file is a mess from a cutting standpoint…there are partial paths, duplicate paths, overlapping and crossing cuts…it’s really going to up the flame factor when you try to cut it.

This is what it looks like when you get rid of the fill and just look at the cut paths:

If you clean it up though, you can set sections of the cuts to have different stroke colors, and just process one batch of colors at a time. It reduces the load that the software has to calculate movement for. Don’t move the backing material in between sections and everything will line up just fine. You’d want to just set all but one section to Ignore.


(I timed how long it takes from pressing “print” until the button starts flashing - 1min, 7s.)

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i’m not sure how you’re trying to produce this. there are a lot of very tiny pieces there.


and many of them are overlapping pieces, which can cause issues you might not like the effects of. and you have shapes that are white on top of black, which will definitely not turn out the way you expect (if you’re looking at that original image).

i would think this file needs quite a bit of work to be ready to cut or engrave as a vector. however, if you’re engraving, you can convert this to a bitmap and engrave right away and get something closer to what you probably expect. and not have any issues with file complexity.


Thank you all so much for your input! Obviously, I am very new to both illustrator and the Glowforge itself and I have a lot of learning to do. :slightly_smiling_face:

Did you create that file? It looks line someone did a poor job tracing a bitmap.

I did not. I used an image from Design Space on my Cricut software. The more I mess with images from there, I am finding the same issue. The bitmaps are a very bad quality when I convert it to a vectorized image.

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I’m sorry you ran into trouble when trying to print your design. It looks like you’ve already received some great advice and information from our other community members. Thanks folks!

Did the advice they provided help you get up and printing with this design? If not, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help.

I saw that you sent us an email on this topic. I’ve replied to your email with some additional information and next steps, so I’m going to close this thread.