How to cut on a basic model

I’ve asked and have received info but I still can’t figure out how to cut on my glowforge, everything I try says it can’t cut bitmaps! All help would Be Awsome!!

You need a vector file.

Follow the starter directions that GF provided and then head here:


Cut lines need to be vectors, and bitmaps (jpegs, png file types) can only be etched.

Inkscape is a great program (and it’s free to download) to use to create designs for cutting, and import function to add images for etching.

I’m sure others in the community will soon reply with more details & specifics–you can also search the threads, as there have been some very detailed responses before, too.


If you’re still stuck, it would help if you could give us an idea of what you’re trying to do specifically. :slight_smile:


And in your GFUI, when you upload a file, if it’s a vector file (e.g. .svg) it will automatically be set to CUT. You can click on the file in the left bar of the GFUI to change it to SCORE or ETCH, and customize the settings if you need to.

(The settings are are default for the material type you select, but it’s easy to adjust power, speed, material thickness, but you need to do so for each “file” in the left bar).

If the file is a .jpeg, .png, or .pdf, you will only have the options for ETCHING, but you cannot change this file type to CUT.

If your file has multiple types, e.g. vector and png combined, the GF will separate each one into either Cut or Etching, and you can adjust each.

Tracing will often have CUT for an outline of the shape, and Etching for the fill.

And you can IGNORE any of those “files” in the left bar, which is handy if you’re doing a cut and etching, and the cut didn’t go all the way through–I’ve learned before moving the material, to tap on it to feel if it’s been cut, if so, it can shift a bit due to the kerf, if not, I run another CUT pass with the Etching set as IGNORE.


Great overview, @bansai8creations! And thanks to @ChristyM for linking to that topic on vectors.

As others have pointed out, only SVG and PDF files containing vectors can be used for cutting and engraving. JPG and PNG files (bitmaps) can only be used to engrave. The SVG or PDF file needs to contain lines called “strokes”, which are turned into cuts.

We have a tutorial that walks you through creating a design so you can see how to create a file with cuts in it. It includes step by step instructions and illustrations, including how to use Inkscape, a free design program, to create shapes for cutting.

Please try out the tutorial, and I’m confident that you’ll be able to get cutting! If you run into any other trouble, you can start a new topic or email us at

1 Like