Lightburn with Glowforge

Hello! I design for the Glowforge on Adobe Illustrator, but inevitably owners of lasers buy the file, it doesn’t work with their laser or program, and people leave me a bad review.

This time it was from someone using Lightburn. They said my file wasn’t compatible, I downloaded the trial but it wouldn’t even let me get past the set up page without connecting a laser, so I can’t even play with the software and my file and try to get it to work.

I use compound paths, multiple layers, etc. Does anyone know if this makes it not compatible with Lightburn for any reason?

Thank you for your help!

I think you might be asking in the wrong place… someone here might be familiar but as a rule I bet most of us haven’t used it because we have the glowforge UI. I’d ask google:

Seems like there are a lot of results.


Thanks, I was hoping other Glowforge designers might also work with other lasers and design programs. I did try googling but was hoping to not have to learn an entire other design program before discovering the differences.

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Yeah who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and someone here will know and take the time to explain it to you. You know there’s an entire lightburn forum like this one?


Thanks, I’ll do some research there. I appreciate your reply.

No problem. Looks like lightburn uses discourse too, seems like everyone uses it for this kind of forum these days.

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You’re in a bit of a conundrum because other lasers can have different design specifications. The Glowforge is probably the most lenient in terms of overall requirements (or lack of). That said, owners of other lasers should have the wherewithal to know that any file is generally going to need some set up/modification to work with their system - whether it’s a specific stroke color or stroke thickness.

Are you distributing files in SVG format? That would be the safest bet, generally speaking as far as compatibility with whatever design program someone might be using. Though you may have scaling issues. Usually, providing a few file formats is the route to go: SVG, PDF and perhaps a native format of your design program (AI, CDR, etc.).


I do, I provide AI, SVG, PDF, DXF. I use the pathfinder menu to create segments of the same path with different colors so the GF recognizes it as a score vs. cut - not sure if other lasers can recognize that. I sell on Etsy and market my designs FOR the Glowforge (even making it part of my shop name) to try to avoid becoming everyone’s IT support, but it inevitably happens.

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Most, if not all, will have no problem identifying operations that have gone through the pathfinder tools. This is my from experience with three different systems and laser software. It sounds like you probably have a user problem rather than a file problem (which isn’t surprising) but if you want to upload an example file, someone, or I, can take a look and make a suggestion on what improvements could be made.


A friend of mine uses lightburn to design for his GF… but we have another friend who has a machine that DOES use lightburn… so he had to take his laptop with lightburn, and connect it to that machine, so that his lightburn would then function, believing it was making files for that machine.
So if you know someone with a lightburn compatible laser…

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Air force ornament.pdf (158.9 KB)
Air force ornament

That’s extremely kind of you. Here are the PDF and SVG versions. The file she was having a problem with is a compilation of these ornaments for the different services. (You glue front to back after cutting). Edited to add; Red is score, black cut

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Air force ornament

I would if I knew someone local, lol. We’re a military family, always moving. That’s good to know you just have to hook it up once to access the program though!

Did she mention a specific problem?

I didn’t see anything glaring in either the PDF or SVG that should cause an issue on any of the interfaces I’ve used.

The compound paths are a pretty clean way to present it to the end user to just load and burn. It would probably be an issue if the user is trying to modify something, if they didn’t realize compound paths could be broken apart/released.

From looking at a few posts in the Lightburn forum, it seems you should be able to specify a laser without actually making the connection for it to build a device profile. The profile is needed since features and how it builds the files are dependent upon the device chosen.


This is super helpful. Thanks a ton for taking the time to help, I really appreciate it!
I asked what specific problem she was having but she didn’t reply. I’ll try to get through to lightburn again tomorrow to see if I can avoid future problems-thanks again for your help.

You can install lightburn without a laser - I’ve got it on my PC right now - I think you select “manual” on install IIRC

I brought quite a lot of different designs into lightburn without any problem at all. I suspect user error. They are probably trying to read an SVG file as lightburn format or something stupid like that.


I found a couple makers on FB that use light burn and they tested it out for me. No issues were found. Thank you!!

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