Larger Project Issues and Bitmap Issue

I just got my glowforge pro last Thursday and I have been very frustrated with the whole process so far. And now that I have it I realized all of the bigger project ideas I had have been trumped by the fact that the cutting area is only 11" by 19.5" which I guess I overlooked because I was so excited when I saw that the material that could fit through was 20" by unlimited. I don’t want to have to cut separate 11" long pieces and glue them together and I don’t understand the purpose of the passthrough slot so does anyone have any advice? Is this laser worth it or should I find something else? I’ve tried to look around through the forums but didn’t really understand anything. I’m only 19 (yes I am a 19 year old who spent almost $8000 on a laser rather than a car or an apartment because I have my own little art business) and don’t have a lot of experience with adobe or inkscape so I guess if the answer involves that then I need it to be dumbed down a lot. Thanks in advance.

Also, for different question, one of my larger project ideas was to cut out a huge version of the world map and put it on a huge piece of wood for my friends apartment. Now I realized that I obviously couldn’t make it as big as I wanted to originally but I figured if I sliced the SVG around each continent then I could scale the pieces as big as the cutting area and do it that way (I know Ill need to be sure I’m keeping everything proportionate). I cut the world map up in my procreate Ipad app but when I went to change the first continent from an engraving to a cut it said bitmaps can only be engraved. What does that mean and can I get around it? Thanks again to anyone who can help! I attached a picture (ignore the designs by kni image as that was my first cut and the image hasnt refreshed)

1 Like

Well, first off…let me tell you I think you made a wise decision as far as the laser you chose, because you will be able to use it to make very large 20" wide things. Soon. :slightly_smiling_face:

The bad news is…there’s a bit of a learning curve ahead of you. It’s not something that you can’t handle if you don’t get into too much of a hurry about it, but you will probably want to give yourself more than a week to pick up a few things - maybe start a little smaller and build up to the super-sized world map.

There’s another reason for my suggesting that…the official Passthrough software that will make that process extremely easy has not been released yet. Once it is, you will be able to tackle that map very quickly.

In the meantime, if you absolutely have to do one now, you can, but it gets into some slightly more advanced knowledge of how to use the design software that you’re not yet familiar with…which gets you back to learning a few things first.

The first thing you need to do is learn the few rules about preparing your files for the Glowforge interface - (like bitmaps are raster images and they can only be engraved - there is no cutline associated with them), so I’m going to point you at a few short tutorials that explain working with vectors and raster images in the interface.

(You can probably adapt them to work with the program you are using, or one of the free alternatives, but I’m not familiar with Procreate, so can’t give you any direct suggestions.)

Read through these though, in this order, and you’re still going to be months ahead of trying to learn them yourself, and a heck of a lot less frustrated. (Most are just a couple of pages long.)

Here you go:

Then if you want to learn how to use some of the popular Design Programs quickly, the Matrix has a lot of tutorials and video links showing the best of the tips and tricks:

For using the Glowforge:

For Using Photoshop, GIMP and Paintshop:

For using Illustrator, Inkscape, CorelDRAW and Affinity Designer:

For using Fusion 360, OnShape, Openscad, Rhino, etc.

Just remember to have fun along the way! You’ll be knocking them out in no time. :grinning:


Where are you located? Maybe there is a Glowforge owner with some experience that can make the learning curve a little less steep.

You definitely can make large items with the passthrough slot and even without it.

As Jules said, there are some basic concepts to get down before you can make things efficiently and effectively. I understand your thing that the size limitations were minimal. I was thinking 1/2 cutting made easy. It’s possible and not too hard, but it does take some learning of the alignment work arounds.

Ask questions on the forum and play around with design software. Your purchase will pay off in some great stuff.


I’m very happy with this forum as that is the quickest response I have by far received involving this machine so thank you so so much for the reassurance! I think I had just gotten so excited about everything the video said it could do and how easy it seemed that I was expecting it to be a lot more simple than it was. I definitely don’t mind learning at all so I will “take a chill pill” and sit back to go more in depth with learning it. Thank you for all of the links as well!!:))


I am near Nashville, Tennessee. I had asked around to see if anyone around me had one or anything similar, but all I could find were people on Instagram halfway across the country who ran their business using one and I saw all their pictures and asked around about what kind of laser they had and this one lady had great things to say about her glowforge so I ran with it. It would be so awesome to find someone though!

@marmak3261 great idea!

@Jules, thanks for being awesome — this is a great list! I want to add just a few more links:

The most recent version of the Glowforge manual is at

The main support area for the app is at

It contains: Learn by Doing tutorials as well as Troubleshooting for the most common problems.


I’m going to close this thread but please don’t hesitate to open a new one as you develop more specific questions.