Just Don't Get It

Hi All: As I have said before I’m out of my league to try and figure out this Glowforge. They say it’s easy and I guess it is if you are a computer wiz, which I’m not so I have a very expensive piece of equipment which I just can’t figure out. I have made 2 gifts of good measure and the snap and store box so I’m not totally incompetent. Everything else I try to do just puts me in a deeper hole. Inkscape won’t download correctly on my Mac so I am stuck with just using Glowforge software. I have read, studied and printed on my regular printer everything I can and it is still Greek to me. I do know how to read etc. and that’s about it but nothing is working in my favor. Guess I need hand held help step by step and even though the Community and Glowforge have made every effort to help me I am just not getting it. I now have 2 new pieces of furniture as I also got the Air Filter so I guess it’s time to realize I’m just not smart enough to master this complicated machine. I was hoping I could figure it out especially since I’m home most of the time and it would be an outlet for me during these difficult times but I was definitely wrong.

I want to THANK all of you for trying to help me it is greatly APPRECIATED.



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Inkscape would definitely help and I think a used windows laptop might be very inexpensive and get you over many humps, The included images you get by pushing that plus button are great for engraving and you can use either the shapes or the outline widget to have something to cut out.

I would bet that you could make some nice coasters that way til you got the hang of it.

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Oh Marci, the despair! There’s learning curve to anything. You definitely aren’t totally stuck without Inkscape. There’s plenty of other software you could choose. Inkscape is just free. At the less expensive end you could try Silhouette Studio Business Edition or Affinity Designer - they both have free trial versions. See if either of those fits your learning style better.


So, forget Inkscape for a moment. Is there some design software you prefer? You might be able to use it to create Glowforge-ready projects. And, speaking of projects, might be easier to guide you if you tell us what you’re trying to do. What’s your current idea you want to see come into existence?


There are several different software programs. I happen to use Illustrator but it isn’t cheap. Before that I used Silhouette Studio Business Edition that @ekla mentioned. To learn both of them google and youtube were my friend.

Don’t give up, just pick a program and put in the time. Nothing comes easy in life. Do you have any friends that know any of these programs? If you were local I would be more than happy to help you :slight_smile:


I was once where you are now…honest! Don’t give up. I use Affinity Designer on my Mac. Go to the app store and check it out. Since you use a Mac, you might find that it’s more user friendly than Inkscape (which is what happened with me)…but, even so, there are other options. Just hang in there and keep trying. If we can help you, we’ll be right here. Also…Affinity Designer has a huge bunch of video tutorials available to use online that will help a lot.


Ditto on Affinity Designer. I’d also recommend using the free files in the forum or shopping for laser files on Etsy. Maybe seeing things in action will help with your understanding.


Please don’t give up. The Glowforge can be an outlet for you and you will feel great when you master each step along the way to making great stuff. Open the app. Click Create new design. Use the shape tool and draw a circle. Click the + button and browse until you find an image or two that you like. Click on the image and it will appear on the bed. Click the text tool and type something. Select the text and browse the options until you find a font that you like. Size the text and the image(s) in your circle. Use a little piece of proofgrade material and use proofgrade settings. Make sure you do the cut option last. Hit print, then press the button and you made a coaster.

Another idea it to browse the Free Laser Design category until you find something kind of simple to try. One other idea is to engrave a cheap tile from Home Depot with some images from the interface. Color it in with sharpie and you have an art tile. Search the forum for “tile” “ceramic tile” for inspiration.

You don’t have to design and build elaborate structures to have some fun.


Are you downloading from a link or directly from their website? Many links in the forum are out of date, here is the current file that runs on Mac

just select the Mac option and it should work.

Something to help take the sting out of the learning curve is to use chipboard/card stock. I went to a local paper company and bought 100+ sheets of chipboard/cardboard/cardstock for about $20 and they cut it dow to 12X20 for a small charge. Now when I want to try a new design file, I don’t worry about wasting a piece of expensive wood or acrylic.


Maybe look into a different software? I use professional CAD software and there is one, Fusion360, that should run on your MAC, though it will also have a learning curve. The reason I prefer CAD software, specifically parametric design software, is that I can make adjustments to measurements easily.

You will need to find the software that works for the way you think.


This also may be a time where it’s worth seeing if there is someone local to you who could help you get started! Sometimes it’s SO MUCH simpler when someone can point and say “click that, see what it did?” than trying to follow instructions online :slight_smile:


@tikilou I’m so sorry for the struggles! I hope you don’t give up!

It sounds like the community is providing some good advice on ways to help get you started, so I’m going to move this post and keep this topic open.

Sweet Marci,

I am going to help you. We will do this together step by step over the phone.

You do NOT did to learn any type of design software to create and make beautiful things with your Glowforge.

The Glowforge interface has everything you need.

Moving forward I want you to private message me. Click on my name and you will see the option to send me a private message. I need to have your phone number and a time to call you.

I promise after one phone conversation with me —- you will be posting on the Made by Glowforge forum.


I don’t know what the score is now but Autodesk married Microsoft in a sort of shotgun wedding years ago and all the Autocad versions for the other platforms were strangled in their beds without apology. Microsoft had been laying out its own cad system and that too got strangled in the deal.

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