Design vs. Cutting Results Advice Needed

Dear GF Community,

Still in the play and learning phase here. I’ve been playing with a keyring design with some engraving and cuts in wood, as well as a leather loop that I was going to use a screw type rivet to fasten together (one end of the loop on one side of the wood, the other on the other side.

I’ve measured the diameter of the rivet at 4.85mm, so set the design in Illustrator to cut 5mm holes in the leather and the wood. After cutting, they don’t fit by some margin. My trusty old micrometer says the size of the holes that the GFP has cut is only 3.8mm

The size of the stroke in AI is .25pt and I must admit I haven’t thought about whether this needs to be considered in the design sizing but would be good to get a definitive answer. Even so, a discrepancy of 1.2mm seems excessive, so I may be doing something else wrong and any advice would be very much appreciated.

I did a quick search and there was some suggestion that designs should be laid out on a 20" x 12" artboard (even though I use ‘mm’) - does this make a difference?


The size of the stroke in AI is of no consequence to the Glowforge as the cut line remains the width of the laser beam. You must allow for kerf when designing tight fits, but this isn’t a case where that should make much difference.

With the design open in the interface, click on the hole and the dimension will be revealed by the measurement tool. If it isn’t 5mm you can change it.

Designing on a 20 x 12 artboard or the equivalent metric measurement is helpful but not necessary.


Thanks for the reply - I just had a play in the interface and was able to resize it to the correct dimensions but it’s fiddly to do. I’m intrigued to understand why the dashboard has read the design significantly smaller than the design. The length of the outline cut for the keyring was some 1.8cm shorter height wise. The dimensions were correct when I scaled them in the interface, so it appears to be setting it smaller than the design.

When I look back at other designs, although I was surprised at how small they looked, I hadn’t checked the dimensions and it looks like this has happened on everything I cut so far.

There have been many discussions about files importing at the wrong size. It has to do with your AI settings, how the file is exported/saved. Some people default to pdf to avoid the problem.

Here is one thread that may be helpful. I don’t use AI so can’t be more helpful. Problems with Illustrator exporting SVG - #4 by jbmanning5


The bed is approx. 300 x 500 millimeters but ~30 mm on the top and left side are unavailable for cutting and less on both sides for higher speed engraving as the head needs space to slow down.

I have seen here that some programs need to set a translation number to be the same when taken elsewhere but I don’t know how to do that and my inkscape does not have that issue.


Thanks Both,

It’s so good to have clear and quick responses - I’m not averse to trying a different design program, so I think I’ll take a look and test Inkscape. I’m primarily a photographer/videographer, so I only really have AI as part of the Adobe Creative package I need for work anyway.

Just as Adobe has Illustrator for vectors and PhotoStudio for rasters folks have been building Inkscape and Gimp as Opensource alternates and with a much larger pool of programmers than anyone could hire have had pretty good results that the only cost is the time spent to learn them. So Gimp and Illustrator complement each other in raster and vector-based stuff with some overlap.I prefer Gimp for turning rasters into vector format as example.


When using Illustrator (which I use for most of my designs), I try to make a habit of double checking the sizing when I paste/import into GFUI.

Because of Illustrators different default DPI than many design programs, it’s common for things to be too small when imported.

There are lots of tricks you can read about in the forum that try to correct this, but I’ve often found it difficult to get it to always work.

So, I always double check, and if it’s off, you can pretty easily fix it by selecting everything, clicking the width (or the height) and setting it to 133.333%

This should correct the sizing.


I have that problem after importing with Inkscape as well. My solution is to always draw a bounding box (different color than the rest of the design) around my design of a known size, then after importing to Glowforge, resize to the bounding box and either delete the box in the GUI or just tell Glowforge to ignore that step. Only takes a minute more and I’ve just integrated that into my workflow.


You’ve run into the AI dpi mismatch issue, which sends to be more common with the latest version. There’sa lot of ways to adjust; I’ve settled in making a box in a different v V omit that surrounds my file project and set it to an east to remember size (like 10x10 or 12x20).
Once imported into the GFUI, select all and change the size to match the outer box. Then the box can be deleted or ignored.

1 Like

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