Help, No sure I am thinking the way I need to be. LOL

Hey everyone. Well haven’t received my Glowforge yet. (Feb 12th estimated ship date). But I am trying to get ahead of it all so I can start printing soon.

Here is my question. In the file below.

Lets say the blue is the wood and the white is empty space. Is there a way of making any part of the lettering in the blue part an engrave and the red part on white a cutout?

I’m thinking I might have to create multiple objects in Illustrator.

Am I on the right track or is my way thinking wrong

Thanks in advance,
Mark S.

Asset 1


Yup, there are ways to do it, it involves breaking things apart and using booleans to get what you want. One sec.


Hey Evansd2
Well at least I am not thinking wrong.


OK so, this is all in inkscape, but the steps hold true in illustrator, you’ll just need to translate to illustrator commands.

Start with your art.

Immediately ungroup everything and then break the paths apart. I then set a stroke on everything so I can see the actual paths.

Now I make a copy of the inner rectangle and the words…

… and run a difference:

That’s your engraved section. Add a fill to it.

Next, you want to make the frame a single path by excluding the inner rectangle from the outer one:

You can see the nodes selected to show that this is one path now.

Excellent. Now, snap your fill into place, it’s easier to do it now so it snaps to the existing words:

And then do a union of the letters and the frame:

Doesn’t look different, but if you make copies and separate them it looks like this:

Now, and this is optional but best practice, break your frame apart and color code the inner and outer parts so that you can cut the inside step first:

and you’re done.

Here you go:

Asset 1_fix


Wow, Thanks Evansd2

No worries. Learning how to do booleans is one of those things that is clutch when designing for the laser. Definitely spend the time get really familiar with them, it’ll pay you back over and over.


I will say that as a design consideration, I might consider engraving the entire letters, generally the contrast between inside and outside (engraved and not) looks a little jarring. Up to you, of course, but there have been other projects like this where I thought they looked a little harsh. That’s the beauty of having your own laser, you can try it out, and if you don’t like it, just tweak your design and try it the other way :slight_smile:


Yea, My original idea is outline the letters in blue straight into the cut out on the rest of it.


Yup – I do this frequently with booleans in Illustrator (Pathfinder tool is my preferred tool palette for this).

Since you’re using Illustrator you can also accomplish this much more easily using the Live Paint and Shapebuilder tools :slight_smile:

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