Glowforge UI shows out-of-cut-area objects incorrectly

When a part of your design is out of the laser area, the Glowforge UI grays it out to show it won’t be cut or etched. This is the exact opposite of what it should do. Look at this snapshot. The objects that won’t be cut are almost invisible (not that the rest is so visible either).


The part that won’t get lasered should be highlighted “Hey, I’m not going to get cut!” rather than made more subtle so you miss it. It should be bright red and blinking. OK, maybe not blinking, but it should be more obvious, not less obvious.

One of my fundamental rules of UX is Don’t Be Subtle. More completely, “Don’t be subtle unless there is a compelling advantage to it.” Here, there is a compelling disadvantage, wasted material when you don’t realize what you’ve done until after you start the job and now it’s too late. Fortunately for me, every time I’ve done this I haven’t wasted an entire sheet.

A related but separate issue is whether there should be an option to cut/etch/engrave part of an object that is part in and part out of the laserable area. I think the former is a bug; this is more of a feature request.




It may not be a high priority, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t go on their list. And I would guess it’s a pretty easy change (I’m a developer myself, so I’m well aware it still has to go through a release cycle and even trivial changes have risks).

Their current colors also have problems with color blind people. For example, for those with Deuteranopia (5% of males), the “will be cut” and “won’t be cut” colors look identical.


I personally don’t see a problem with the not cut parts being grayed out. It makes perfect sense to me. Active are red and pink, inactive are gray. It took me about 3 minutes to learn and then I never thought about it again.


I tend to agree. Gray means “Hey, this is here, but it’s unimportant right now so pay it little attention.” Which becomes really important when you have something that has 10 objects and you’ve set 9 of them to Ignore. It would get very confusing if the parts that won’t cut get a higher priority to those that won’t.

1 Like

I’m not color blind, but I make sure all my software works for color blind people. Aside from color blind people, the existing colors would probably be fine against a white background. Most of my material is not white.

I also learned what the colors mean in about 3 minutes, but the subtlety means that I have screwed up multiple times. It’s about clarity, not learnability.

There is a huge difference between objects that I have set to ignore and an object that is clipped and is ignored unintentionally. In one of my cases, it etched an area, then didn’t cut it out, so the material was wasted (alignment was critical; I couldn’t just move and then cut). It happened because I missed spotting that a thin cut line was gray instead of pink against a background that made both colors hard to distinguish. There are lots of ways to fix this. For example, Glowforge already has striping in areas that don’t cut which display some of the time; when that striping is shown, they could make the clipped areas really obvious.


More and more I find myself making everything an engrave when I am arranging the various parts the location is obvious and overlaps are easy to spot. On the other hand cuts are very hard to see and accidentally going off the edge of the material is often the result of my missing that it went over the edge alternatively when I am printing the pins and I think I am moving them the bottom line gets left behind and I need to go back with a saw to cut them off.

Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll make sure the team gets them.

1 Like