I’ve been searching for a good design platform that would work well with the Chromebooks we have at our school. I’ve tested and evaluated a handful of programs, but none really compare to programs like Inkscape, Illustrator, or CorelDraw. The closet contenders have been vectr.com and gravit.io, but for a variety of reasons, neither of these platforms have been ideal for precise cutting and layout.
Recently, I decided to try using Google Drawings with my students, and I’m really happy with the entire tool-chain. I created a drawing template that has guides set for the minimum margins for any given vector or bitmap artwork. I think that Google Drawings will adequately fill at least 95% of the things that we need in our class.
Here are some general guidelines I created:
Design Tips / Notes
- Page Layout:
- Set Page Size to 20" x 11" – This is roughly the limits of the cutting & engraving area of the Glowforge.
- Artwork limitations:
Cutting - 0.01" left horizontal margin,0.01" top vertical margin
- 0.70" left horizontal margin, 0.01" top vertical margin – vector engrave
- 0.71" left horizontal margin, 0.01" top vertical margin – bitmap engrave (slightly different - not sure why?)
Maximum Artwork sizes
- Cutting / scoring: 19.48" x 10.98" (allowance for 0.01" margin)
- Engraving: 18.03" x 10.98"
Overlapping objects are joined / grouped together
Cutting, scoring, and engraving can be differentiated by line AND fill combination.
I bet this will be helpful for a lot of people!
Your directions say to save as a pdf, but I see you can save as svg. Will svgs created this way work with the GF?
Glorious! I just got a Pixel Slate so this is perfect timing.
Hi Martha -
Technically, you can use the SVG export feature, but the way GF imports SVG brings in an object for the background and doubles up the drawing. I struggled with this for a while. If you import using SVG format, but you’ll have to manually ignore the rectangle that represents the background and ignore one of the duplicated drawings. I found the PDF format to be more consistent and easier - especially when you’re introducing this.
I’ve bookmarked this, even though I’m an Illustrator user. Ya never know when an OS update will brick my old version of Illustrator.
Here’s a tip you might find useful. If you change the “/edit” at the end of your link to “/copy”, it will behave more like a template, in that you’ll be prompted to make a copy when you open the link. This helps to prevent accidentally editing the template file itself.
Here is an option that makes it a template:
Instead of “/edit” put “/template/preview”. Also using Google classroom is a good option for setting projects/making copies for all students.
I used Google drawings with our Year 5 (Uk, 4th grade USA) students to design Christmas decorations, as it was their first time using it there was a fair amount of tidying/setting the colours correct. I then combined them into files for whole sheets of materials using inkscape. It would have been great to have known as save as pdf being a better option back then!
Tip if you do resort to svg for another reason, select one of the “invisible” objects, then go to edit, select same “fill/stroke” to delete all duplicate invisible objects.
Install Inkscape! The Slate supports Linux apps… Runs nicely.
I didn’t realize that, it would be cool if I could use them. But unfortunately that feature is blocked by my employer.
The trick is to never update! My old laptop is still on something like Mac OS 10.7 (ie, olllllld).
We’re a chromebook school as well, so I’ll be integrating this into the various classes. You’re a genius! Thank you!
BTW incase you are you need to open an SVG in Google drawing you need to convert it to an EMF file then upload to Google drive, click open with, Google drawing.
You can upload an SVG to https://openclipart.org and then there is an option to download as EMF. Or another convert tool.
I’ve only tried it once to see if students could use an online box making tool. I had a problem though with the scale being wrong. If anyone has a go and the scale is right, let me know how. I will have another go at some point.
As I continue digging into this, the importing of SVGs into Google Drawings might be a limiting factor for me, too. I do like the ease of use and the familiarity of Google Drawings for ‘most’ applications. But I, too, want my students to make tabbed boxes and enclosures.
So far, I think the gravit designer is one of the best on-line drawing platforms. It looks like it recently got purchased by Corel. You can do everything you do in inkscape on this platform. I kept fighting the scaling issue, too – I think there’s a few mismatches in DPI for the SVG file format between some of these programs. In any case - if you export as a PDF at 150 dpi, these problems go away. I haven’t done any reliability checks, but based on the ruler in GFUI, my artwork appears to be 1:1. Gravit.io will also allow you to drag and drop / import SVGs and PDFs from programs like makercase or makeabox.
Gravit.io is a much more intense program that has a lot of features, but I think I’ll be pivoting my materials to introduce it to my students instead of Google Drawings.
Seriously thank you. I have been trying to use google slides and drawing to make stuff for gf but I was trying to save them as .svg not .pdf. It works great with .pdf. Thank you.
your youtube videos are very VERY HELPFUL!!! I am for ever greatful for your qick technique of getting text to print with such EASE!!! THATNKYOU THANKYOU !!
I have to agree with @mark.gerl on this one!!! Completely 100% on this one! You are GENIOUS!
@MANDYpalmer83 can you direct me to where these helpful youtube videos are? I’m glad I discovered this topic today. I’m creating ornaments with my 8th grade students on our Glowforge (for the first time as a new user and teacher). I’ve created a basic round ornament template but am not sure if this will work. I understand I will need to color the lines differently for cutting and for burning/engraving. My students have iPads so I haven’t found a good program for them to use. They do have google apps and tinkercad as well as notability and Autodesk sketchbook to use.
Any helpful resources in taking student work to make it glowforge ready would be greatly appreciated. I’m hoping to get these all done in the next week or so. Thanks!
You’ll need to use a vector program where you can export as SVG or possibly pdf. As just colouring lines in a lot of apps won’t work for cutting out if it is a jpg or PNG as the laser thinks you want to engrave prixels.
Or I advise signing up for glowforge premium as this gives you the ability to draw shapes like circles in the glowforge interface to cut round their drawings.