Design in App or Import from Other Software

I’m having trouble rendering router templates using the shape and outline tools in the glowforge app. For example, one template I’m working on is a handle profile with a hole in it (picture a serving board or drink flight board handle). I can’t seem to get the inverse curve profile to work properly (think rounding the shoulder/neck of the handle).

Would it just be easier to design these profiles in another software, or is there an example somewhere in the community that I could apply to this situation? If it’s easier to design and then import from another software, what would you recommend? I’ve only done a couple image imports so far, and there only seems to be an engrave option. If I were to import an image that is a simple outline of this handle profile, how would I get the glowforge to perform the cut, rather than the engrave? Adjusting the power and speed settings?


The first photo, with the pencil marks and holes drilled, show the pattern I’d like to cut out and the extent of layout I need to do prior to a multi-step process to produce the handle. Layout, drill holes, cut shoulder/neck of the handle, then finish the edges. If you look closely, you’ll notice ridges inside the hole from the drill bit (I drill a little more than half way and then flip and drill from the other side to prevent blowout of the material on the back).

The second photo shows the various finished handles.

If I had acrylic router templates with these forms, I could cut/drill smaller relief holes to insert a router bit and then use that with a bearing or collar against the template to complete the shape of the handle. It would be a much nicer finish and would reduce the number of steps to create the finished look.

Since the original post, I’ve been messing around with the shapes in the glowforge app, but it’s quite cumbersome to get everything lined up. And to rotate a line, and to keep it vertical, or at any angle for that matter (in the next update to the app, there should be a rotation entry field like there is width and height), is extremely frustrating! A simple trick to solve that would be appreciated as well.

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It would be easier if you could post a pic of what you’re asking. If you have premium, you can import the shape and use the outline tool-but i think that’s what you’re already stating. Otherwise, using one of the software programs would be a good option. Many, including myself, use Inkscape. It’s free and fairly user friendly. Others use Affinity Designer, AI, etc.
If you plan to do a lot of this type of ‘stuff’, learning a vector software is your best bet (in my opinion:-)). Good luck!! And, welcome to the community! More will chime in shortly!


There are two concepts in images. One, called raster is like a really huge array of boxes, each one a different color. Stand back enough and you can see a huge array of stuff, but it is just boxes and your brain makes all the lines and detail. The laser just applies the power to each Pixel (box) based on the shade of gray. The laser cannot see lines etc., just pixels, so engraving is the only option.

The other, called vector, is just that real lines a laser can follow places, scaled to any size it remains the same shape but it cannot match a raster in details and shading. Vectors that enclose an area can be engraved, or they can cut through or not along those lines.

An SVG is a format that can contain rasters or vectors or both. If it contains only rasters it can only engrave. If it contains rasters and vectors the rasters still can only be engraved, but the vectors can be anything except a variable engrave.

So if your SVG contains only a raster there is no vector to cut along.

I find Inkscape to be the best vector editing tool and is free but for raster editing, I use Gimp and bring the result into Inkscape that does not have many tools to change that part.

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:glowforge: recommends Inkscape - this is from the manual and it might help:

Hi @fdaurora. It sounds like you’ve run been getting some great advice from fellow Glowforge owners in this thread. I wanted to check to see if their advice was able to help you complete the project. Let me know and I’ll look forward to your update. Thank you!