Can someone please explain to me

HI all…Just got my Glowforge and unfortunately…not having good luck right now so I am hoping some of you kind folks on here …maybe able to make this clear for me.
I purchased the GF Pro because basically I want to make some acrylic signs. All I really need to do right now is make cut lines. Cutout letters…that sort of thing. Which I thought would be a lot easier to do. However, every time I try to import my .svg file I can only get to engrave option.
Is there something I need to be doing in my artwork file that I am missing? When I select the sample files form GF they work fine and cut out like I want.
I apologize in advance if this has been asked a million times already… I tried a search but I am getting more confused.
Appreciate if someone could shed the light on me…

@joe15 what software are you using to make your svg?

1 Like

Hi Joe, welcome to the forum!

There are two kinds of digital images – vectors, which are made up of lines, and rasters (aka bitmaps), which are made up of pixels. Both types can be contained in SVG files.

Rasters can only be engraved. Vector images can be cut, scored or engraved. So you need to create your files in a vector drawing program, such as Adobe Illustrator (expensive), Inkscape (free), Affinity Designer (cheap), etc.

The post below is a good place to get started finding tutorials and tips to help you get further along – if you scroll down a bit you’ll find “the Matrix,” where you can get further information.

Community Glowforge Tutorials: Table of Contents


Thank you …I am using Adobe Illustrator .

Thank you the nice welcome!
Wow…I must be just tired…

Really?? that’s it!!

Thank you for explaining this to me…

Going back to try again…


So there are a couple of little quirks with the GF interface that are good to know. One is that it reads your shapes by the color you designate in AI and will group them accordingly. There are several posts on this forum about color order, so check those out. Also, when you resize images in the GFI they will always maintain proportions, so you can’t try to make your square into a rectangle, etc. To cut a basic line for your passthrough, you need to create a line in AI that is about the size you want and save it as an SVG. I buy a lot of 12 x 24 acrylic, so I’ve made a 14" line that I cut with. I hope this all makes sense and gets you started. Feel free to ask any further questions. People are really great on these boards.

1 Like

Also, another quirk is that the GF does not yet recognize text. You would get a text warning and the text outline would not be cut. You can design a sign with text cutouts but the text needs to be converted to paths before uploading to the GF app. I’m not an Illustrator person. If you run into that problem you can get an answer here.


To expand on that…

Place your type on the artboard… Select it. SHIFT-CTRL-O to create outlines.

Depending on the font, you may need to weld it all together as well because sometimes letters overlap. And in the glowforge UI, it uses exclusive OR boolean logic. So if there is an overlap of an object that would get cut/scored/engraved, it cancels each other out. So you join the objects before saving and it should be happy after that.


Super important point, worth a picture.

If you have any letters that might overlap, check your outlines in Outline View (crtl-y) and see what you have. If you see something like this, use Pathfinder Unite to fuse them together.

Anyway @joe15 to cut out letters, just make the letters in Illustrator, convert to outlines, Unite if needed, and then set the shapes to have a stroke and no fill. Vector fills are engraved.


I’m sorry you ran into trouble when trying to get started with your designs. It’s great to see that you’ve already received some excellent advice and guidance from our other community members. Thanks folks!

Please let us know how it goes. If you’re still running into trouble, we’ll be happy to help.


Thank you all for the great tips and advice.
Been having so much fun with my GF…it’s super addicting. It’s an amazing machine.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.