No problemo… you’re already doing all of the work, really, since you are bringing the image into Illustrator to trace the boundary.
Just leave the image there. SVG does stand for scalable vector graphics - but that doesn’t mean that it can’t handle raster image formats. It will either link to an external file, or embed the raster code directly into the SVG file.
Definitely keep it embedded.
Here’s how. (and here’s the best way to save SVGs for the Glowforge interface. BONUS!)
This is the window that you are prompted when you “Save As” and select SVG.
Make sure that Image Location is “Embed.”
Make sure type is convert to outline
Decimal places - I use 4, just because… this is the decimal precision of locations and sizes in the SVG - 3 is typically fine in inches… it just makes a slightly larger file to use more decimal places.
Responsive - MAKE SURE THIS IS NOT CHECKED (sorry for yelling)
The file that you Save As with those settings will have the raster image embedded into the SVG; just upload it into the UI and you have your image and vector assets in one file. If your image and vector are aligned in Illustrator, they will be aligned in the UI. Even better, if you set your artboard in Illustrator to 20x12", it will maintain the absolute positioning that the assets are on your artboard. Just pretend that the 20x12" artboard is the bed of your Glowforge.
Hard requirement. An AI plugin is supposed to be in the works, but not sure how that’s going to work. The UI is best used to primarily just be a print preview and settings input - it was designed this way.