Glowforge Software Questions and Tips and Tricks

Hi GF community I am new to posting here. I am sure some of the questions have already been covered but sometimes I find it hard to sort through the answers.

I find that the Webapp for Glowforge is very limited and even though I am using Adobe Illustrator CC I’m having challenges when uploading files.

Q: Recently I uploaded a whole page of herbs which I want to engrave on some sticks however the software automatically groups them. Is there a way to ungroup them? Alternatively, is there a maximum number of items that can be uploaded before the software auto groups items?

Thank you for your time I hope to share some of my designs and help others as I figure stuff out myself.

I started my own insta page Toronto_laser_designs feel free to follow me and some of my work. :slight_smile:

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Nope, at least I haven’t found it if there is.

I’m sure there is but GF isn’t telling.

As a workaround you could group rows in AI and color code them. They’d be different steps in the UI. It’s not ideal but it’s what we have at the moment.

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Oh excellent point and thank you for the idea! I downloaded the greyscale swatches and colour ones that were recommended on here and also from Chris Mastos Youtube tutorial. Which one is better to use?

I don’t even know what the greyscale ones do.

I tried your method but arranging it in steps didn’t really do anything for me. I really need the items to be seperate and not just steps to turn on and off. I find it very confusing that way. Any other thoughts? I am also going to play around with the limits of how many items I can upload without grouping.

Well, now that you’ve make rows of them, are they still grouped, or can you move the parsleys around relative to each other?

I guess I need to know more about what you’re trying to do.

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If you put a box around the one(s) you do want grouped that’ll do that - and you can Ignore the box in the steps…

They are still grouped on the main screen or the bed the difference is that now I can select ignore on each step to turn some of the printing off but they are still 1 giant box.

it worked uploading 1 row at a time which is fine. I still hate software limitations.

no group.

The two images you posted here are PNG files. Is that what you are sending to the Glowforge? That will only let you engrave them as images and the entire file is considered one image. If you want to be able to move the words around individually, you would need to upload the file as an SVG.

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Or copy/paste from AI to the GFUI

Assuming I’m understanding what you’re asking, you can definitely do what you’re trying to do, but I think @jay_nabedian is right. And they need to be separate objects to begin with. Your text is saved as all one object (like a single text box in Word).

But I say that with the caveat that something has changed with the grouping behavior in the the GFUI and I obviously wasn’t paying attention when it happened!

This has been in place since at least May.

Thanks. It hasn’t caused me any problems, obviously, but I definitely can see that my older files are now behaving differently. I still have some with elements that can be moved independently, perhaps because they don’t overlap?

First thing you need to think about is what you are trying to do, and set up your artwork file to do just that. That is the simplest approach, though not always the fastest. But with your images & questions, I haven’t figured out what outcome you want–are you just trying to etch a list of names all on the same board, or do individual tags, or??

As others have pointed out, if the elements are grouped in the file, they will be treated as a group in the GFUI (usually). So key is with larger file with multiple elements that you may want to manipulate separately once in the GFUI, is DO NOT GROUP them.

There may be some exceptions based on file type, as haven’t paid enough attention to my own work to tell which file types stay completely grouped or not, and like @ChristyM, seems something has changed, but really not sure what/when…

But I also am often too lazy to create separate files for each item I want, e.g. shape for cutting and an image for etching, so load files and move within the GFUI to get what I want–then you have to make sure all are selected to scale & move together.

And from the file, it can be pretty fast to edit the large text file to be exactly what you want to etch and “save as” and the undo and then make the next edit to “save as” until you’ve created all the different files for what you want, and still have the original large file…

Hope you figure out what works for what you’re trying to do!


I only uploaded screenshots as examples. Thank you so much everybody for all your comments I think the easiest way for me to figure this out was to play around myself. Perhaps it was hard to articulate what I wanted to do but yes I want to each individual item to be able to move independently not each letter but each word. I found depending on how many items I uploaded to the file I can’t even get each letter to move on their own as long as they’re not overlapping.

Now That I have spent a little time with my Glowforge I realize it’s much more beneficial for me doing cutting then engraving and finding engraving takes too long and it’s very hard to get a good result perhaps I should open up another question for this but anyone else having this issue? The projects that I’m gonna do for business are probably going to be ones that I had and not engrave

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