How to cut out an etched design?

I burned a picture of a .png file, 512x512 pixels, now I need to cut around it. I saw something about using the Trace command in the GFUI but after drawing my square around it, it said something about clicking the white areas to cut away, I don’t want to mess it up. I tried to draw a square in Inkscape but got a square that was filled in and can’t see the menu to find stroke for an outline. I have a really high res screen and it makes some stuff in menus really small. I even used the .manifest trick but…anyway How can I just cut the square out around my lasered image? Very frustrated :frowning: thanks
Now my tags disappeared and I can’t add any, this is not going well…

Best to put a circle, box, or something around the image before saving. Can make a non-filled element like that and outline color it Orange or something. Then the Forge will see it as something different and you can select it to CUT.
After the fact, can try to line up just a square the size of the origin picture.
Trick is to have a no fill vector and as said, best to do it before the SVG save…


Sorry you’re so frustrated. For a short term fix I can attach a square cut line that might work for you. You can save it and then load it into the GUI. The thing is you are going to have to line it up with your image that is already engraved. I would suggest bringing the square into the GUI and making it the size you need. Then tape down a piece of paper on your tray and score it with the square using the fastest speed and a power of 1. This will give you an outline of where to place you engraved piece. When everything is in place, go ahead and cut the square out.

here’s the file

In the long term, everything you need to learn how to make this on your own is in the help section :slight_smile:

Good luck!


Thank you! I downloaded the square, overlaid it and it cut out fine, it was nice to have a good, simple example of a cut border. I’m familiar with xml and svg and have found more ways to convert file types.
Before I did the etching the original design, was I supposed to peel off the front clear film? I did not, I used birch veneer and now have a very sticky mess on my design, what is good for removing it?
BTW, I always search the forum for answers 1st and believe it or not, I can never find them.
Thanks much,
R.L. Hamm


Proofgrade materials come with a paper-based mask and I’ve never had to remove it before doing something. Acrylics from Inventables and other sources often have a clear film and from what I’ve read here, yes you should remove it first or wind up with a sticky mess.

Gorilla tape is a popular option for weeding, although to remove a sticky mess???
A plastic razor blade (sold on Amazon) may help:

Otherwise it’s looking like solvent time. Alcohol would probably work. If it is acrylic, use whatever. If removing from wood you want one that’s as close to 99% as you can get. The IPA sold in drug stores is about 70% alcohol and 30% water and that much water can be bad for some wood products. Don’t use acetone on acrylic as it is an acrylic solvent.

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What you’re looking for in inkscape for highlybdetailed settings is the fill and stroke dialog.

However, if all you need is to remove a fill or change colors, there’s an easier way. Highlight your shape and click the red x all the way on bottom left, to the left of the color palette. The red x means “none” for color value.

Shift-clicking a color will change the border color, shift clicking the red x will remove the border. Once you get the hang of it it’s pretty easy.

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Thanks for the replies, all I had was some 70% isopropyl alcohol, it didn’t dissolve at all so I don’t think a higher concentrate would either. I tried hydrogen peroxide with no luck, finally a hot air paint stripper gun, when it cooled it was still just as sticky, and it warped and cracked the veneer. It was just a test, a 3"x3" piece, no loss. I will peel the front film from now on. I did leave the QR code, does that need to stay?

If you want the glowforge to automatically detect the material, then the QR code needs to stay. However, any of the proofgrade materials may be selected by clicking on Select Material. Not all materials show up in the drop-down list automatically. If the one you want does not, simply type what you want in the search box. They are all in there one way or another.

I’ve never seen any proofgrade with a clear film. What are you using? If you can get a good photo of the sticky mess and post it here someone familiar with the material may be able to offer suggestions. In my experience, the default proofgrade settings, when used with proofgrade, should either leave the paper backing and adhesive so it can be weeded with gorilla tape or a scraper, or it should be burned away. I am not as experienced in engraving photos (I prefer trenches) as many others here. So who knows?

A 3D engave can leave the paper burned off but the glue remaining for the lightest engrave portions may remain. Sometimes the color in the pic or graphic looks white but it’s not quit fully white so it fires the laser enough to burn the paper but not enough to get through the sticky layer too.


I’m using proof grade Maple veneer with 3M tape (finished) 411-03. I printed a .png with about 16 unique colors so I’m thinking it used really low power on the lightest colors which was just enough to melt it. Is that film just to protect the wood for storage or does it help the laser process somehow?

It’s used to protect the material during storage and can help keep smoke from cuts off the wood. But since it’s pre-finished, smoke on an unmasked piece can usually be wiped off with denatured alcohol. Way more useful for unfinished wood where it saves you from having to sand it after you cut it to get rid of the residue - alcohol won’t always/usually take it cleanly off unfinished wood.

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Thanks James,
I think while in practice mode I’ll remove the film since I’m making my designs small as not to waste material, then on good wood I’ll leave it on to protect, by then I’ll have speed and power dialed in so the film will get burned up good like it should. That’s my plan anyway :slight_smile: