How to get a file to cut instead of engrave


so I just got this glow forge and i can get it to work great when i just throw an image on and scan it, but I am trying to make a sign for our fab lab door and i want the banner graphic to be cut not engraved. I did some research and found that it needs to be an svg file so I made the banner in photoshop using shapes and exported as svg. this did not work. Ive tried pdf and jpeg but none of them work, they all engrave. can someone give me some clear instructions on how to prep a file to cut?


Welcome to your new Glowforge!

The answers you’re looking for are in the matrix:

You are asking for clear instructions for something that doesn’t have just one answer, in order to help you out, we’d need to know what program(s) you’re using, and what you’ve tried, and maybe even see your file.

That being said, some less clear generic instructions: you need to convert your raster image to vector paths. Often the simplest way to do that is with a trace, inkscape and ai can both do it, you’ll need to hunt around for specific instructions on that, either via google or on the forum.


Photoshop creates raster images, which are engraved. You will need to create vector paths in order to generate Cut lines.

There’s a tutorial here that explains the difference:

If you have Adobe Illustrator as well as Photoshop, that would be the place to take the jpeg you created and do a Live-Trace on it to turn it into cut or score lines. (Or Inkscape is another option that’s free.)

The link that @evansd2 gave you will take you to a Matrix of tutorials on how to use the outside design programs to create files for the Glowforge.


@cmazzoli There is a good example of this if you visit and click on the “Support” tab. There are 3 projects they walk you through, and I believe it is the 3rd one where they actually walk you through using Inkscape to do just what you’re talking about. I found it to be very easy to follow and very helpful. This is my first time using Inkscape, and I’m excited to learn more about it.


Here’s a direct link to the tutorial Bruce mentioned:

Jule’s reference is excellent as well – should be required reading for all owners. :wink:


Thanks for the answer @evansd2 and @Jules, those are good references. I’m going to close this thread - if you run into any other trouble, go ahead and post a new topic. Thanks for letting us know about this!