Cutting through an engrave

I’m in the first week of using my Glowforge in a factory environment. I purchased this machine to produce toolings for a proprietary machine. The tooling has a deep engrave (pocket cut) that then gets thousands of tiny holes cut through it. I make through till it begins to ‘prepare print’, then I get a ‘print stopped’ message with no other explanation.

Has anyone else had any issues with cutting over an engrave? I made a smaller test piece with no problems. My other theory is that the job is just too complex (though it renders fine). Has anyone had an issue with the machine ‘choking’ on too many lines?

I’d upload my file but it is proprietary.

If you want to send it to me in a Private Message, I’ll be happy to take a look and see if anything pops out. (And you don’t know me yet, but I’m not interested in reproducing your file. :slightly_smiling_face:)

If you want to do that, zip the file first, and then drag and drop it into an open post. You can send a direct message by clicking on the little hedgehog avatar at the left.

Or, if you would rather wait for official support, you can send them the file directly in an email to


Okay, I took a look at it and found a couple of things that might or might not have been the issue that killed it…

The gradient file that you had showing in there was a strange format…I’ve never seen it before, but it was easy enough to rasterize it into a PNG file at high ppi and it works fine now.

But the main problem is that the design is going to fall apart I’m afraid, as it’s currently designed, or might set fire to the base material. That is a lot of very tiny cuts, and I’m not sure you’re leaving enough space between them…I think it’s going to be very breakable if you manage to cut it at that size.

You can still try it, but make sure you watch it like a hawk every single second of the many hours that it’s going to take to cut it. And you’ll have to do it in passes, because that is a LOT of data.

Here’s what it looks like if you just cut a few of the colors in the first pass:


That’s one hour just to run the engraving and cut four of the little hole colors. The more you cut out, the more dangerous it will be to cut the remaining material…the air feed from previous cuts is going to cause flare-ups.

So if you do try it…please be very careful, and be ready to stop the machine.
Better safe than sorry. :slightly_smiling_face:


Great, thanks for the help. I’ve made this part on a non-glowforge laser and have done small portions of this file successfully on the glowforge. The reason the holes are broken into so many colors is to ‘sort’ the cuts and allow the material to cool before an adjacent hole is cut, and this has been successful. The only thing happening for the first time (at least on the GF) is that the cuts are happening on material that has already been deeply engraved, so it’s not as thick as the GF thinks it is (using proofgrade medium acrylic). That was my main concern.

OK, so my questions on what you did to the gradient edge: I simply made a radial gradient on the perimeter path in ai so that I could get a feathered edge on my irregular shape, that then went into the deeper center engrave. I just saved my illustrator file as an .svg. So am I correct that your fix was to instead rasterize the file and save as a .png? Do you have an opinion/concern about cutting all these holes through the thinner engrave?

Thanks so much!

Oh listen…I’m sorry…I thought I was posting that to the Private Message…I’m going to delete the file since it’s proprietary and put it in the PM. Back in a sec.

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Okay, back to the questions…for the gradient, I just used AI to turn it into a PNG right where it sits. The only thing in the file that required rasterizing was the gradient, everything else I locked into place before rasterizing, so not a big deal. (The GFUI can’t deal with vector gradients yet…gradients need to be rasterized.)

If you space your hole cutting, and maybe do only two or three sets at a pass, you’ll probably have pretty good luck with it.

But depending on how deep you go with the initial engrave, you are going to want to adjust the focal point on the individual cutting operations through the thinner engraved out sections. You can do this for each individual cutting operation by opening the Manual settings for it and re-setting the focal point. (It’s a bit tedious, but it will keep the kerf down on the subsequent cuts, and you don’t have much leeway there.)

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Great, I’ll give that a try. Thanks again for the help.

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Thanks for the help, @Jules, that’s right! Our software has trouble processing very complex designs like this, but it is always improving. I am going to move this to Everything Else so you can continue getting help from the community on this topic.

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