While I appreciate the useful ability to have objects grouped when uploaded to the GFI is great, why is it automatic? How do I NOT group things? Thanks GF now how the hell am I supposed to upload 12 different items and arrange/resize them how I need them without the ability to ungroup? I can tell already that this is going to be a HUGE time saver with me and everyone else having to upload each and every item individually just so it doesn’t group :angry: Maybe different colors will keep them separated :thinking:

I searched the community, but only found pleas for the feature ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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Shapes that are touching or inside other shapes get grouped. Also some magic threshold for complex shapes get grouped. Colors will have no effect on grouping.


Assuming you have the ability to manipulate files before uploading, through the use of design software, why aren’t you sizing and orienting your parts before uploading.

Use an artboard which has been sized to match the maximum cutting area of your Glowforge, and make all of your size adjustments before saving and uploading.


FYI, there is two types of grouping GFUI does.

One is based on color and only affects cut/engrave settings.
Different colors allow you to cut/engrave them differently.

The other is grouping for positioning, resizing, etc.
This is based on whether things are enclosed, touching, and other voodoo magic =P

However, sometimes I’ll think things are grouped in the second sense, because when you first upload your artwork everything is selected together. But if you click around you’ll realize you can select and move smaller pieces of the file you uploaded.

Hope that helps!


That’s hard to do when you’re using partial sheets of materials. That’s always when this bites me.


Having the different design elements in different colors all grouped allowed me to just ignore everything except the one I wanted, and just position the whole bunch with the element in focus positioned where I wanted it.

Because it’s easier for me to do it in the GFI. I’m trying to engrave some spoons for a customer, uploading everything, turning, and resizing in the GFI is easier than figuring out all the measurements needed to fit each spoon and it’s position. If it were a blank project I’d agree with you 100 %


These are phrases. But, it is an SVG file which I guess is now a shape of some sort :thinking:

I’ve done that before also, but I don’t think it would work in this situation without some changes to the bed area. example - 4 spoons instead of 12 :thinking:

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I imagine you might need a jig of some sort to get the alignment right on the spoons anyway, yes?

If you wanna screenshot your GFUI to give us a better sense of what you’re trying to do, you might get some good advice.


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That’s how it always was for me, but today it said I had a lot of elements and they’ve been grouped. I went back and selected 12 from all over the file, copy/pasted to a new document, and then exported again. It again said the items were grouped. I tried to move one and they all move :see_no_evil:

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This was the last project I did, nothing is grouped here including the word itself. I exported it as an SVG but the words are just outlines.

I agree it looks like that but it’s not magic, but math and science :slight_smile:

As I understand it (I reserve the right to be mistaken, correct me if I am):

The key concept is something called a hull group. Basically every open shape and every closed shape that is enclosed or is overlapping with other closed shapes is called a hull group. When you have too many hull groups you get automatically grouped, and then you’re stuck with it.

I tested the limit in February 2020 since Glowforge wouldn’t tell us, it seems that it was 200. As in it doesn’t automatically group in the UI if it is up to and including 200 hull groups.

Here are my two test files, one with 200 stars, and one with 201. 200 is a nice even number, too clean of a result for me to think it’s a coincidence, and too clean for me to think it’s not a bit arbitrary – meaning it feels like some human said “What should the limit be? I dunno, 200?”

Not grouped (200 stars):
stargroup_not grouped

Grouped (201 stars):

Now let me add some complexity to them and see if that changes things.

I doubled the complexity of the inclusions (added more “1’s”) and it still didn’t automatically group, so it does appear to be grouping only based on “how many overlapping hull path groups do you have?”

Ungrouped, complex inner paths, 200 items:

stargroup_not grouped_complex

So, that’s that. I really don’t like the grouping feature, but from what I gather it’s a performance thing.

As for this:

This doesn’t always work with the type of grouping we’re talking about. Once it gets grouped by the auto hull count threshold, it’s all considered one giant object. If any part of your group is outside the cuttable area, you’re sunk.

And as for this:

I suspect that there are workflows that would be great for you in external design software, what you’re describing seems very simple for me to do in Inkscape, but IDK. The bottom line is that you should be able to do this without it grouping in the UI, because The grouping feature is pure evil in a bucket.

On the other hand, if you did it in the external program and then combined your paths as appropriate, you would be far below the 200 hull group limit and this would probably not automatically group on you.


Evil is correct :joy::rofl:

I use Adobe Illustrator for the majority of my stuff. Everything I do with it is self-taught mainly from youtube and lots of searching for the name of the tool or feature I’m looking for :woman_facepalming: lol. I’m not a scientific type (not that I don’t want to be :thinking: lol) so much of that stuff is hard to understand when you don’t know what something else is. Geesh I can’t even figure out a mitered corner (true story :roll_eyes:lol). I do have a better understanding than I did before. And will try some other things :thinking: Thank you for your help and explanations :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m wondering if you uploaded the shapes as a separate design from the words whether you’d get under the Not grouped (200 stars) threshold that @evansd2 noted. Also if you Combine/Union your words each one would be only 1 element instead of 1 element per letter…worth a shot!

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the words were grouped, I ungrouped them and exported again, it didn’t change anything. I tried a PNG file and it still grouped them. I did find a fix though :smile: :clap:

Grouping and combining are very different things. Grouping is just a visual overlay - combine is a boolean command that literally makes it one object.

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yeah I haven’t played with those things much yet. I can play with pathfinder in AI. thank you for the tip :smile:

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