Laser Design Basics 🤔

This is a great resource! Thanks!

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Just downloaded too - very good document to have. As a new users of Glowforge I got some questions:

  • So we don’t need to highlight the cut area in a .001 stroke ? We just highlight the cut stroke in a different color than engraved area and mark it in the UI as such?
  • I am used to etching, not so much engraving. Can someone clarify what is the difference between etching and engraving and what scoring means?
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The stroke can be any width, stroke size is independent of the path underneath it, and for Cuts and Scores, the default path is right down the center of the stroke line.

You’ll want to set up a separate shape for Engraves than for Cuts or Scores. The Engraves will have a Fill color and no Stroke. The Cuts and Scores will have a Stroke color but no fill color.

A Score is just a shallow cut that doesn’t go all the way through the material. (Used usually for decorative purposes.)

And an Engrave is nothing more than a way of filling up a large area with burned lines. The head will move back and forth over the area one tiny step at a time until the entire area is filled. Etching is often used interchangeably with Engraving, but they are different processes. Etching is just scratching or marking the surface, very shallowly. We can etch things like anodized aluminum…just scratch them. We cannot engrave down into it or cut it.

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Thank you Jules,

appreciate your prompt response.

you mean it cuts on the lower part of strokes in the middle of it instead of starting on the left top corner?

In adobe you usually have one file for all of it. By separate shape you mean, setup one file for the cuts and one for Engraves and overlap? Isn’t there a way to just highlight those as such in the UI as indicated in the manuals if I use different colors? or do you mean it is better if I run the process twice or three times using different files on the same spot, each time for a different process?

Basically score is a deep etch/engraving but not as a fill but as a line or point, correct?

Engraving vs. etching. I do need to do etching on the fabric, not engraving. Is there a way to do that with Glowforge? Fabric is pretty thin and engraving doesn’t work.

Than you

There’s a second tutorial here that expands a little on the concepts that you have asked about here. (Easiest way to hit most of the questions in one go…you’re on the right track.)

Thank you very much Jules,

will definitely review it all.

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I went through lots of the documents you shared Jules - they are fantastic. One problem I am encountering though is that GFUI can’t deal with dashed lines, it changed them to solid lines and as result the design changed. Do you have any tips on why this could happen?

Here is a video Jules did regarding dashed lines. One of the great things about this forum is the search capabilities. I suggest you type “dashed lines” in and you will find much more on this topic.


Thank you for the tip, but I am not using Inkspace, I do all my designs in AI. I have already created a dashline in AI, but GPUI changes it to a solid line.

We have a tutorial for doing them in AI as well. (It’s different in different software, so you always want to specify which program you’re using when asking about anything.)

Dashed lines are an appearance, they don’t actually consist of short paths. We have to convert them before loading them up to the GFUI.

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Thanks Jules, will do :slight_smile: interesting that we have to create a brush for this. There is a dashed line in the stroke section and with Epilog there is no problem just to etch/engrave them as such. Very surprised to see that Glowforge requires a certain method to create them and then you have to convert them.

There are many ways to create them. In inkscape they can be dashes, or space aliens or whatever depending on what you want.

Yeah, different strokes. :smile:


A dashed stroke is one of many styles that can be applied to a path. The GF doesn’t interpret stroke styles, it just follows paths. Developing additional capabilities to interpret styles would cost $$ - which is part of the reason why commercial products like Epilog cost significantly more.

GF is the Cricut/Silhouette of the laser world.


If you want to see what the Glowforge will “see”, go into outline mode ; control or command - y.

The reason they need different methods is because of how they interpret vector elements.


Thanks for sharing!

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Thank you so much. This helped me sort out the difference between cuts, scores and engraves.


Great! I’m glad it helped! :grinning:

There are a couple of other tutorials here that will get you up and running very quickly:


Welcome to the Glowforge Community @LuckyV!


I’m new here and I have just gotten my Glowforge. Ran two different things last night. One engrave and one score and this information would have been super helpful last night, but going forward, this is going to be a huge help! Thank you so much for putting this together!

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