Millennium Falcon from... A not so nice place!

Lets start at the end. I made a millennium falcon. It cut. It engraved. It finally worked. Here it is:

Now, lets go back to my first night with my Glowforge. I was excited to get started (see “Hello World! Meet Emmet”), and following the success of my founder’s ruler and my son’s pokéball drawing (see Pokéball, Gotta Forge 'Em All), I turned to our house guest and decided to engrave him a small Millennium Falcon from Star Wars. Soon after, he had to leave empty handed because I couldn’t get it to work.

Now I’m new to this whole laser world, but I’m a professional designer who can hack his way around just about anything. Add to that I’m typically the guy when someone has an issue, even if I don’t know what to do, can typically search the web and find the answer on the spot. However, this one made me feel stupid. I mean REEEEEALLY stupid. I can’t get something, that clearly everyone else on these forums with a Glowforge can do, to work. After spending a long time digging through forums for a solution, I send a lengthy email to Glowforge Support (again, sorry about that one @Dan_H, @Rita, and whoever else :cry:) about their need to offer solid next steps for getting your own artwork through the machine because it’s really not obvious what to do once it’s all up and running.

I was about to throw-in the towel when I got a response from @Dan_H at 1am to my email (10pm Seattle time, I believe—Thanks for your gracious response at such a late hour). He sent me a link to: Learn By Doing: Your First Three Prints which was only slightly helpful as I’d already done most everything in there (though it seriously needs to be included in the manual or early on in the interface).

However, it did trigger one thing. I started with the SVG outline I had made and uploaded it from the home page first. Next I added the raster engrave image, lined them up by sight and suddenly everything worked. I didn’t realize why that worked at the time—I just thought, “Hmm, random fluke that I did the same things as before and it decides to work all of a sudden.” So yeah, finally able to print something again, which triggered my wife and I staying up another several hours into the early morning enjoying the Glowforge again.

Then, this morning, my wife and I tried to add a unicorn picture to a puzzle for my daughter and it was gonna take 35 min. Hmmm… Must be because it’s raster. Tried tracing it to vector and that only cut it down to a 29min task. Assuming that’s the best we could do, I started it. And then it came out all pixelated and blurry. It was strange.

Later, I came across @takitus’ comment in “SVG from illustrator turns into a raster image?”. Apparently using the “Add Artwork” button automatically treats any file you choose as a bitmap. I had been trying to add my SVG to a job I’d already uploaded rather than starting with the SVG file (which is why the order I uploaded made a difference on the falcon). It also explains why my vector trace on the unicorn puzzle came out so crappy (which I’m going to have to test out again now that I know what NOT to do).

Now, all that to say: @dan, I believe it would be a solid win for Glowforge to include some helpful instruction beyond unboxing your Glowforge and connecting to the app. I know your stress and focus is on production of a quality product and getting it into the hands of your backers, but don’t forget about what happens after your product is dropped on our porch and we turn it on—make the next steps more accessible.

Don’t get me wrong. This machine is incredible and SO worth the wait! I’m grateful to have it in my home. You guys are doing good work and I know you have a lot to deal with. Just figured while I’m sharing all the good, probably helpful to point out the weak points since I want you guys to succeed, too!

EDIT: Alright, enough with the frustrating project… Let’s get to the fun stuff: Day 2 with Emmet: It’s a Party!


It does seem to be surprising behaviour and it catches people out. I wonder why adding vector artwork rasterises it? From the outside it would seem simpler to merge the vector artwork as vectors, more useful and less surprising. The only issue I can think of is how colours would get handled. I.e. if it was the same colour as the existing vector artwork does it merge into that settings group?


Try the tuts…they will save you weeks/months of figuring things out on your own. :slightly_smiling_face:

We can currently only use the Add Artwork button to add raster images to open vector files in the Glowforge user interface. And rasters are always engraved.

It makes a big difference whether your own art is raster or vector as to how it is treated in the interface. You might want to read through the first tutorial at the link shown above, and through the Workflow tutorials for information on how to get your own art into the interface. (You have different options depending on how you design the file.)

Hope those help get you started quickly. :grinning:


I always combine all of my artwork etc in illustrator beforehand so that everything is in one file, and I know that it’s all aligned exactly how I want it.

This way if for some reason I have to rotate or scale it, everything else rotates or scales with it. … and I don’t have to use that add artwork button =P


Yeah, as my ability to wield design software develops, I am likely to just spend the time making the file whole and not succumb to the temptation to throw in the fundamentals and add to it.


Plus, if you do your layout in the design software using the 12"x20" artboard/page size, if there’s a time you run a project that does not use all the material, you can re-open this same file and position artwork for the next job using that same material. Basically you get precise, predictable and repeatable artwork positioning without having to manually move stuff around the GFUI once you’ve imported the file.

You could even add a small bit of text to your artwork with the file folder location and file name, like Plot Stamping used in CAD packages, that you can engrave directly onto the material to remind you where that file lives.


Good tip, Thanks!


@Jules I found the tutorials (which when they first started showing up thought, “Awesome! I’ll have to look at those,” then decided to wait until closer to my unit arriving which I figured would’ve been much closer to October. Next thing I knew it was “Oh crap, this thing is coming NOW?! Awesome!” and a mad scramble to figure out what to do to get ready), but in my quick scanning to troubleshoot in the moment didn’t see what I was looking for initially. Thanks for suggesting a place to start! I will most DEFINITELY be looking more intentionally through those over the next few weeks.

@takitus Good call. By the end of the day yesterday I’d run several prints and each one gave me something new to try out. That’s basically what I started doing with the files (embeding the raster images on their own layer, and my cut shape on a separate layer).

I wasn’t seeing the handle in the Glowforge App UI to rotate anything I uploaded, but it was there for the Glowforge templates (like the puzzle & luggage tag). Am I missing it?


ROFL! Yeah, everybody does that. :laughing:

Click on something on the bed to select it and the handle pops up.


No rotate handle on raster images that you upload. It’s something we want but hasn’t shown up yet. I can’t remember if you embed an image in an SVG whether it allows you to rotate or not. Will have to check.


I did have the object selected but there was no handle, but if what @rpegg says is true there’s a good chance the random times I noticed I happened to be working with a raster image. Haven’t needed to rotate anything in the UI so far anyway, it was just something I wondered about.

Thanks guys!


That’s been my experience. Left me wondering why it was there sometimes.

1 Like

My wife just cut a set of small charms to make bracelets and I noticed the rotate handle was on the vector objects when I uploaded.


Thank you for the great feedback - we’re definitely working on it!