Error about masks and too many steps

I’m really new to this and am having difficulty with various things. However, my current issue is an error message “we can’t do masks yet” I have read what others have asked and the replies. But, I am not getting it from a svg files that I want to cut. I’m getting this from text that I saved as a pdf. I only want to engrave - not cut. Any help? I don’t even know what a clip path is :frowning_face:

Welcome! It gets easier, I promise :smiley:

It would help if you could tell us what program you’re using to create the text and PDF. Would you be willing to post the file so we can take a look?


Thanks for the welcoming words, ekla. I’m just using some text from Word.
breaking bread.pdf (181.2 KB)

Paths are the trajectories that the laser follows, or can also define the outline of objects that you want to engrave. All objects need to be defined by complete paths.

A “clipping” or “masking” path is essentially an object that overlays another, in the design app. it can appear like parts are hidden (or “masked”, or “clipped”), but the machine can’t interpret that for you. You have to delete the masked/clipped portions so that you are left with a single, but complete, object.

Think of it as laying a piece of paper over a design. The paper might hide parts you don’t want to see, but to print on the GF, you need to actually cut away the hidden parts in your design app.

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(wrong:That is just a bitmap embedded in a PDF, with a lot of unnecessary junk causing the errors.)

I had previously been unable to break it down enough to see that it contained vector lettering, but Chris pointed out that it was so I dug deeper. Sorry. Excess junk still applies. :slight_smile:

You’d be a lot better off using a vector design app, but if you are stuck with Word, I suggest you turn off shadows, and save as a bitmap (jpg or png), not pdf.


I’m sorry you ran into trouble when trying to print your file. It’s great to see you’ve already received some help and guidance from other community members. Thank you @ekla & @eflyguy!

Will you please let us know if saving your design as a jpg or png got you up and running?

Also, many of our community members use a free design program called Inkscape which is available for both Mac and Windows operating systems. We have some information on how to install Inkscape as well as links to useful tutorials our support page. If you’d like to check it out, here is a direct link: Introducing Inkscape

The words are actually vector, but as you say, a lot of unnecessary junk is in there too.

Since I had it open in Illustrator anyway, I removed the clipping masks and deleted everything but the text and saved out a clean SVG.

And as a founding member of the Cult of Always Rasterizing Engraves, I went ahead and did that too, because it is right and holy.

breaking bread (116.1 KB)

But I totally agree with all the advice not to use Word.


Thanks to all for the advice and kind words. And, a special thanks to chris1 for cleaning it up for me! I just signed up for an Adobe Illustrator class (and free 7 days of AI). Hopefully, it will help me understand all of this better. I appreciate all the help. I suspect I will need more in the future :blush:

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I will say that when I wanted a cool shadow effect that I’d seen in Word I literally took a screenshot of it - which is always a raster and great for engraving :slight_smile:

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Thank you for the update. It’s great to hear that the advice in this thread has helped you to get started! I’m going to close this thread now. If you run into trouble again, or have any questions, please post a new topic here on the forum or email us at and we’ll be happy to help!