Glowforge Interface - Correctly Save a File as an SVG for the GFUI 🤔


What a lot of folks were doing was just setting up ruler guides at roughly the place on thier 12 x 20 artboards that were “Out of Bounds” You can get fairly close. Then keep your design inside those guides, and it shows up the same way on the screen in the GFUI.

The guides do not get pulled over into the GFUI. But the disadvantage is you have to set them every time…no way to save guides. (I don’t think there is…I was wanting to see if I could write an action for it, but I always get busy on other things.) :smile:


If you’re using Adobe Illustrator, you may find that you don’t need to make the artboard any particular size to have things load in the same place you put them. For example, here is a 1"x8" artboard, in which I’ve placed a 0.5" diameter circle at exactly 0.75" across and 2.5" down. Despite it being a bizarre shape nowhere near 20x12, it still loads exactly where I placed it.

This whole 20x12* thing is a bit over played. I used to make more of an effort to explain it, but I got in a bit of trouble for that, so I won’t go into the details. Suffice it to say, it’s solving a problem that Illustrator doesn’t have.

* I think most people use the width x height convention when talking about dimensions.


It appears that objects in the app use the upper-left corner as the origin, so I guess your artboard only needs to be as big as your object plus whatever space is needed to get it into position.


But you may want to avoid other sizes that have the same aspect ratio in a dimensionless svg (10x6 for example) since apparently GFUI will guess it was really 20x12. I think that’s where the recommendation for 20x12 comes from.

Yes, dimensionless svg’s can also be avoided, but that’s also not the currently recommended method.


I find that in Inkscape, I just do whatever I’m going to send to glowforge, then as a last step, I simply select all and set the x and y to be 0,0. This places it properly in the UI so I can find it. I almost always manually move the entire cut/engrave to fit my material, I’m stingy with it and want to put it where I won’t waste too much space.

The whole “place each object exactly in the SVG” thing is kind of pointless since we can’t place the material in a reliable position, nor does that even matter when you’re using scraps, which is about 80% of the time for me.

When I have a ton of parts and do need everything to fit exactly in one engravable area, I start by either setting up the page size or just drawing a 11x17" rectangle and then arrange my parts in Inkscape. The UI isn’t the best for rearranging 200+ pieces, so I find it much easier to do it at this stage.

Then as a last thing, i select all and move it to 0,0, and I’m off.


I managed to save the guides and artboard by saving as a template in AI CS3. Sweet!


Well there ya go…never thought of a template. Sweet! :sunglasses:


I have been playing a lot with Landscapes in 3D but am not so sure what could be done on Glowforge but I have over 150 places here


If you can save a top-down image in a grayscale heightmap format that goes from black to white mapped to height, you can engrave it nicely. Basswood has had good results, here:

And here:


I’ve just been diving into Illustrator, and that More Options button was hiding that it was only saving to 1 decimal point. I was getting frustrated with a design not printing, but I made it 3 like you have in your screen shot @Jules, and I feel like I’ve unlocked a whole new level (like 100 times maybe?) of awesome in my forge :smiley: Thanks so much for what you do!!!


3 decimals if you are designing in inches, 1 decimal if you are designing in cm.


glad to have the meaning behind it!


On the Mac, running Inkscape under XQuartz, I was able to use the following procedure to change the default page size:

  • Bring up the Applications folder in Finder
  • Right-click on Inkscape
  • Select “Show Package Contents”
  • Open Contents/Resources/Share/Inkscape/Templates/default.svg
  • Make changes in File->Document Properties…
  • Save file

In Windows, I was able to change the default page size by opening
C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\templates\default.svg
and going to the File->Document Properties… dialog.


Thanks - worked perfectly!


Jules! That really helped me out! Do you take apprenticeships? :wink: Seems like SO MUCH to learn. These tips really help out someone new to this.


Chuckle! It creeps up on you over about a year of testing. I got a jump on things with the PRU, and just wrote it down as I went. (It doesn’t take long.) :slightly_smiling_face:


So glad you wrote it down. It is very much appreciate what you and all the others do for this community. It’s a bit difficult when time is limited to learn all you need to know.

I am trying to learn as quickly as possible as I am trying to get our Makerspace (with a 501c3 educational outreach for the community) back up and revitalized. The money we earn is going to the fund to try to get a physical space again and that is going to take quite a bit of money (aka sold items) to have enough to float us until we can grow the group again.

I am working with Illustrator for the first time (I know Photoshop pretty well) and hoping once I show the few members we have that this is doable, that they will jump on board with ideas or assistance to get this in gear! so all this assistance/tips/sharing of ideas is so appreciated!


ROFL! Oh, no problem…I’m pretty sure the offer to document was what got me into the PRU program in the first place. (By that point they had probably figured out that I can be a bit “wordy”.) :smile:

I don’t know if you are aware of the Matrix…if you are just getting into learning Illustrator, there are two of them that you need to check out…lots of really good information in here:


I had one but not the other. There is SO much to learn there and so appreciated. I try to find something as I go along, I should have started way before I got the GF but I didn’t know I would stumble into a FREE version of Illustrator 3 until it happened…so now I am learning on it.

Hmmm if anyone else just happens to have the CS3 version of one of the Adobe programs but doesn’t have the whole suite (I only had the Photoshop program), let me know and I’ll tell you how I got the whole suite this year.


That’s something you’re not alone - it’s a familiar refrain here :grinning: