How do I control what gets cut first in a design?

I have a circular design that has a bit of detail in the center. I know how to change up the control of which part of a design gets cut or engraved first, second, third etc. But how do I change it when it’s all cut in one design? I want the outer edge of my design cut last but it’s cutting it first, which makes it lower itself a bit and then the inside design doesn’t always cut through the best. Any help would be appreciated.

You do it via colors.

If you upload your art (or DM it me if you don’t want to share it wide) I can offer more concrete advice.

This will be of use too:


What they ^^ said, break up the design and assign different colors to each step. The palettes are handy to know what order they show up in when you load the design, but not essential as you can just re-arrange each step, as you already know.

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You can’t control this if they are the same color. The glowforge normally cuts from outside to the inside (for the same color.) And you run into the problem you’ve pointed out. So you break up your design into different colors. Unless you forget. I know better and I remember maybe two-thirds of the time.

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I made these into different steps.


… by changing each color value by 1. It’s annoyingly confusing. :wink:

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Did you get it to work? I tried that once and the GFUI recognized them as all the same color. Then I figured they are using 256 grayscale and I’m using three-byte color.

I uploaded the svg, go try it…?

It works fine with “three byte color”… each of those rings is only 1 digit off the next.

I just made my own. It worked. It did not work a couple years ago.

Yay! glowforge software team :shaved_ice::ice_cream::flamingo::flamingo::flamingo::pie::dancer::man_dancing::partying_face::partying_face:

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I know you’re right about that but I always wondered why it cut that way. Would it not be possible for the programmers to have it opposite and always cut inside cuts first?

Theoretically yes. IIRC dan said they use learning algorithms for path calculation. Usually learning algs that go into production are hybrids of black box AI and explicit programming instruction, but I have no knowledge of what glowforge does. It could be too complicated, not a priority or other.

Not sure what program you’re using, but you may be able to manage the selection/separation of cuts by how you “combine” the paths and group the objects.

Oh for sure I can change the color of the cuts and have them cut in any order I want however I think the program itself should automatically choose the inside cuts first. That would be helpful for anytime a user forgets to create a fewer extra steps.

I disagree, there may be lots of cases where you’d prefer this, but you either care or you don’t and if you do, I think it’s on you to issue the order.

This machine is basically a fire starter, I want as few automatic actions as possible.

What I do think we can probably agree on is that the UI should be simpler to use and configure settings, there are many ways this could be accomplished, but the current state isn’t optimal to me.


Well it’s not really something extra in the programming since it had to be programmed the way it is to begin with.

I’ll admit that it’s not insurmountable, but it’s also not terribly easy to decide what’s inside and what’s outside. Open paths, winding rules, all that. Color is definitely a more sure way to do it, especially considering how cross platform SVG/PDF creation is.


Correct. One (not too uncommon) technique for eking out some extra speed, truly square corners or eliminate start/stop notching on some materials is not to create closed objects but rather use overlapping but disconnected lines. So which line or object is inside or outside requires intelligent evaluation because inside/outside has no objective meaning.

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That’s the thing. It’s NOT programmed to generate operations in any particular order.

Sometimes it will cut inside first, then some other spot in the same job it will cut outsides.

Next day (or next minute) you can run the same job and it can have a different order.

If you want the control, just make the steps via color assignments.

A user that has developed the ability and desire to alter ordering of steps as a means to optimize projects has graduated out of “New User Class”. :slight_smile:

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Of course it’s programed but like I said initially it is very easy to set it up to cut anyway you want. I was only thinking of those very new users who may not yet be comfortable with the program they use to create their work and this could be one ste.p easily removed from their process. As for me, I don’t really care one way or the other as it’s never been an issue. Just thinking of others.

Good looking out, but the very new users don’t even have a concept as to why you would want to do that, like @mpipes said. I have a feeling that given its complexity and the sheer number of possible edge cases, true inside-to-out automation will never happen. IMO, it’s better not to do it at all if you can’t do it reliably. Best to give people the tools (aka colors) to do it themselves when the need arises.

I know it’s a complicated set of steps for new users, but by the time you’re designing something that complicated, you should already have skills like path manipulation, using clones, and selecting things by same color/style which makes color coding quite simple.