Fired up the Glowforve for the first time

As the title says we fired her up for the first time tonight.

We tried grabbing an image from the camera of a print out, tried both color and gray scale. All we ened up getting in the GF interface was a partial black and white mess. Then we tried uploading as a pdf. This gave us a workable image to place in the GF software. Next problem was that the proofgrade material wasn’t recognized. We had to manually select the material.

The Glowforge worked away for about an hour. Quite a noisy machine. Even though we vented to the outside the workshop got rather hazy.

Overall the print came out ok considering our source image. We used the
proofgrade medium draftboard.

What I would like to do in order to improve the project is to reload the board, select the lettering and engrave them to half the thickness of the board in order to get some better contrast and definition.

The big question is, is this possible and if so how would I go about doing it?


Welcome to the group… and late nights on the GF.

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Since you have a raster image that has color even in the letters, you are going to get an engrave over the whole image.

This would be much easier if you had all the objects you don’t want engraved as unfilled vectors and the background what you want to engrave.

Welcome and enjoy the journey to figuring out how to design for best results. Will be glad to help you out in this if you aren’t sure how to progress.


Here is the original image we started from.

We tried capturing with the GF camera in both original color and gray scale. In the end we saved as a PDF and uploaded to the GF. Now I want to engrave the text for better contrast using the same piece of material.

As you can already tell from your engrave, you need high contrast to get good engrave results for designs like this. You can’t lighten those letters you’ve already engraved.

Suggest inverting and making it mostly black-and-white, black text on white background, back border and frame for that tag. Failing that, just make the text pure white.

Looks like you’re using a low res, crooked image, as if taken by phone or similar. Suggest also sourcing the original artwork for a cleaner image.


This is the part that needs to be addressed. Any haze in the workshop is a no-no. :slightly_smiling_face:

Make sure the exhaust path is sealed…you can use aluminum tape as a seal wherever you have the aluminum tube attached to the ports - it helps to cut down on leaks. You should only get a slight whiff of burnt wood smell when you open the machine after the print. If you are just dangling the hose out the window, fill in around it with a large thick piece of foam to keep the smoke from blowing back in to the room. It needs to be smoke-free where you are.


What you really need is software to manipulate the mages. Gimp and Inkscape are the easiest as they’re open source and free to use, though like all software take an effort to learn.

The two blues are unfortunate for what you are trying to do, and so need the services of something like Gimp to make everything stand out better. Inkscape has a trace function and Gimp a path function that can be exported to an SVG that is the usual standard type file, Gimp can change any color to any other color as well.


Welcome to the fun house!
It may seem difficult initially, but the fundamentals come quickly. The little bit of time you spend learning the design software will pay you back in spades!
Once you know how to make things happen in your designs a new door swings wide open. This community is a valuable asset to your new laser, all you need to know lives here.

As Jules said there shouldn’t be any smoke in your work area, if there is, you still need to seal the exhaust path.

Many of us have installed an external booster fan in the exhaust run, then you can turn off the internal exhaust fan. Those booster fans run at a much lower RPM and greatly reduce the noise. If you are interested, search the forum for booster fans.


Okie dokie, I dove in feet first for my second run. I stopped by the local Hobby Lobby and picked up a few materials. A rather nice looking sheet of white marbled purple glass, a wood shadow box and small sign blank. Then I wandered on over to the next door Bed Bath & Beyond to grab a wood cutting board for an unofficial commission.

The Architec Gripperwood 11" x 14" cutting board fit the bill nicely. Though I really a couple of larger ines, unfortunately there was no way to get them into the GF.

When I got back to the workshop I popped the cutting board inti the GF to prep my design. Then wham the head collides with the board. First rookie mistake. I look up information on printing without the crumb tray. A bit of reading, some measurements, a little head scratching and a small amount of math later and thanks to a helpful post I was able to figure out that I needed to remove the crumb tray, raise the target object into the laser’s focus yet remaining below any mechanisms. In the post various methods and gricks were used. The most common and suggested procedure is to use scrap materials and such. xeeing as this was only my secind print I found myself sbirt on scraps. Dremel DigiLab 3D45 to the rescue! After checking out a diagram, checking my math I found the height I needed to elevate the board. In 3DS Max I quickly drew a cube with the right dimensions. I exported it, uploaded it to the app made the necessary adjustments and voila. Out popped four 20mm cubes to set the project on.

I fired up Inkscape, found a couple of tutorials that showed me how to paint and prep an object for printing.

Needless to xay this go around came out MUCH cleaner znd much , closer to what I had designed.


I had forgotten how clean my Glowforge used to look.
Welcome to the club. You will have a lot of fun getting giving your machine a well-used look.