I just want to cut out a piece of Maple

Im new here and I haven’t had to use a lot of programs like Inkscape before, but it seems to me that a simple task like cutting and rectangular piece out of wood would be very simple. Draw a box around a project and cut, but after hours of trying to figure it out, Im still baffled. Every time I export it out of Inkscape and upload it to my file and try to print it, Glowforge thinks I want to Engrave!!! I click on it on the left and when I try to push the cut it says it can’t cut a bitmap. Do I export it different? WHAT AM I DOING WRONG??? Getting very frustrated!!

First thing: check to assure that the Fill is colorless and it’s the Stroke (outline) that has a color.

Also: Welcome to the community!


How do you make the fill colorless? And thanks for the Welcome. :))

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Select the rectangle and go to (from memory here, don’t have my home PC with me…) Object and click on Fill and Stroke. Alternately I think there is a fill color band in the lower left corner you can click on. Either way, the Fill/Stroke window should pop up. There s a Tab for Fill, one for Stroke, and another for Stroke Style.
Go to Fill, make colorless; go to Stroke, make a color. You can also go to stroke style and make it a thin line.

Side Pro (“Pro”? that’s a laugh…) tip: I started out where you are a few years back, learning Inkscape to support my efforts with this laser. Looking through YouTube tutorials is a MUST. So much good info and great walkthroughs. Very worth your time.

OH! I just remembered: assure you are changing it from an object to a Path. This may not be Strictly needed for what you are doing, but getting into the habit of knowing what kind of object (Raster/Vector) you’re working with will pay off for you. Search here on the forums for tutorials on all this. There are a ton of them.


One thing it is always good to have your art board set for 20x12 for sizing reference and stability. in File > Document Properties.

Convert your rectangle to a path.

Object > Fill and Stroke

Note that this is a filled object and it has no paint for the Stroke paint.

Note that in the Fill tab it has a defined fill color.

Now it has no paint for fill or stroke.

Now it has a defined stroke paint and no fill paint.

You want each object to have either stroke paint for cut/score and no fill, or a fill with a paint with no stroke color to engrave. If you want to engrave a square and then cut out the square, you would make a duplicate of the object and then define the stroke and not engrave. (Or you can use the same object and manually convert it in the GFUI to a cut after engraving it or vice versa but that would call for a second print.)

Check out the basics tutorials in the Tips and Tricks sections. There are tons of good examples of these basic procedures.

And welcome @mpn to the forum.


If you are giving it a bitmap then it can only engrave the bitmap but if you hand it a vector then it can engrave or cut depending on your setting. But you do need for the SVG to have vectors.

I use the fill all the time to help define the work. No matter if the fill is active or not either seems not to make a difference as you can choose either in any case.

This is an example of my designs . As you can see there are many where the box shapes are only cut out but all are filled and the only two cases that it is hard to tell are cases where they are not filled. or the horizontal line that could not have a fill.

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Is that determined in the export as to whether it is a bitmap or vector?

David Smith

On several occasions, I have chosen first one and then another, cut, score. and engrave can be chosen on any closed vector.

Hey there @mpn, I’m here to help!

So far, it looks like the information provided by your fellow community members is already a great way to put yourself in the right direction – thank you @UrJac and @marmak3261, we always appreciate the help!

@rbtdanforth is totally right here. Basically, only SVG and PDF files can be used for cutting and engraving, while JPG and PNG files can only be used to engrave. The SVG or PDF file needs to contain lines called “strokes”, which are turned into cuts

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to create a shape to cut. If you’d like a little more depth, we have a longer 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, I don’t doubt you’ll be able to create amazing things! I’m going to close this thread now, thanks everyone!

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