Middle School Project Question

I’m teaching a few middle school classes in grades 6, 7 &8. My students are excited about using the glowforge and we have done some simple 2D projects already. As I look through the catalog of projects, I know there are several they would want to make, but I would rather them work on making the projects more their own. There isn’t a way to export the .stl files from the design app in glowforge out so they can edit the files in Illustrator, right? I could have the students customize some pieces by adding custom engraves into projects downloaded from the shop, but I would like to give them more flexibility than that. Maybe if exporting from design isn’t a valid option, is there a website for downloading 3D stl files similar to the 2D ones on TheNounProject.com? I’m guessing I just need to get better at Illustrator to make things on my own from scratch, but time is always the issue, and with this age group I need to give them something to start with to help them be successful.


Catalog designs cannot be exported, but your students could prepare individualized modifications which can be added to the catalog designs.

I believe that stl file use is only for Glowforge premium subscribers, but I could be wrong about that. Others in the forum are much more familiar with stl files and will weigh in. For now, here are some threads regarding stl files: Search results for 'stl' - Glowforge Owners Forum


I’m confused about your use of Stl files, which are generally 3D print files that you would use on a 3D printer. Do you maybe mean svg files instead? Glowforge does not use Stl files. You would use an svg file in Illustrator or other vector design program, to customize it for the Glowforge.


As stated, STL is a format for 3D design and creation, and neither the Glowforge nor any 2D vector design app can work with them.

The SVG files you can download from TheNounProject are suitable, but be aware that site is designed for print, not laser cutting/engraving, so you might encounter the occasional issue - but in-general, they mostly work OK, which is why Glowforge uses them for it’s “premium” artwork.


Also, speaking from personal experience, unless you are prepared to pay for files from the Noun Project, make sure you have read their TOS. Myself and at least one more forum member were disheartened to find out that what appeared to be free use is indeed not free.


What sorts of things from the catalog would you want them making?

Are there designs you could use in the Free Laser Designs section of the forum? Or other online resources? (There are a number of these, including Thingiverse and Instructables).

What about teaching the kids to make their own designs? Maybe start with a simple box of some sort, teach them about finger joints, kerf, making measurements, etc. You could start with a box generator or, do it from scratch in Inkscape or AI or whatever.

If that seems too complex, maybe a 2-piece phone stand? There are free existing designs you could use as a reference to copy while re-creating it from scratch.

There are almost certainly existing curricula for this, too. Nation of Makers might be a good resource for that. There are a lot of teachers involved. There is a Slack system to chat with them.


There are a host of design generators out there that could be the starting point for a project. boxes.py has a bunch


I think Cuttle would be a good solution for you and your students.


You might find some inspirations from @theroar84 posts on here. He also makes quite a few YouTube videos.


Huge fan of designing with Tinkercad for laser cutting. This is my website. Challenges The right side of the challenges has server GF projects.

Here is the YouTube channel. HL ModTech - YouTube

Feel free to reach out if you are looking for something. I am always creating new stuff. =)


Sorry! My bad. I meant .svg file. We do a fair amount of 3D printing as well so I just misspoke.

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