I have a few suggestions based on my experience so far.
#1 - Printing/cutting .jpg files. I printed one picture and it tuned out awesome. However, I had to take it to my bandsaw to cut it out. Can you make the app automatically add separate border artwork for cutting out a picture. I suggest several different shapes that can be moved around the pic to cut out only a certain area. It would also be nice to crop a photo to focus on a certain area - that would save time and materials. Finally, on photos, I cannot rotate the photo. I had to rotate the board in the Glowforge to place it how I wanted.
#2 - Cutting .pdf files. The main reason I bought a Glowforge was to convert 3D .obj files into 2D files and cut them out. So far, I have used Fusion 360 Slicer for this - free is nice!! Of the 360 export formats (.dxf .eps and .pdf) I could only get the app to recognize a .pdf. It seems the app only recognizes the first page of a .pdf file. I know I can edit .pdf files to remove pages, I just haven’t figured that out yet. The 360 program may let me only save one page of a .pdf, but I haven’t figured that out either. My point is, can you program your app to allow me to select certain pages from a .pdf to cut.
#3 - Saving user defined cutter settings. I would like to save my settings when cutting a material other than your proof grade materials.
It may be that I will discover these features as I gain experience - if not . . .
1. Oh, you definitely don’t need to take it to a band saw to cut out your photos…you can create a simple Shapes SVG file and drag that onto your opened engrave file and line it up that way. (Or just embed the .jpg file into your SVG file to get better alignment results than you can get from the camera.)
There’s an alignment tutorial that describes the process here, and I’ll share one of the Shapes files that I’ve used below. Just unzip it and drag the SVG file over onto whatever you want to cut out, then use the one you want. This one is presized for standard photo sizes, with a few other handy shapes.
You will probably still need to set colors and fills in a 2D program like Inkscape or Illustrator though, so I prefer to export DXF from Fusion using the DXF for Laser plugin, and make adjustments to the layout and whatnot in Illustrator. (That one allows for kerf adjustment, which can be handy in certain cases.)
3. The Auto-save will automatically capture settings information for similar materials like Proofgrade, but if you are cutting on something different, those material settings should change - they’re not going to be the same. So they can’t really capture settings for unknown materials for us - too much possibility that we will forget to adjust them, and then wreck the material. I’ll switch from cutting wood to acrylic and back again with the same file - I don’t want them capturing settings with the file on those. Guess they’re saving us from ourselves.
Guess I’m a little confused about your autosave comments. If I am using an unknown material the UI does same my power, speed and focus settings. Sometimes there is confusion when I go back about whether it is supposed to be PG or Unknown but if I choose the Unknown material then the settings are the same as when I last used the file.
Yeah, I thought about that after I typed it and it is confusing. It does save material settings if you are using the same Unknown material thickness that you used to set the file up originally - but switching to a different material like from PG to Unknown (thickness) can cause them to reset to 1% power.
I don’t actually get nailed with it very often but it does still happen. Guess I need to pay more attention when it does.
In Illustrator you can easily do both an engrave and a cut. Load in the image as a bitmap, then so ‘live trace’ using the ‘outline’ preset. Depending on the image, you may need to delete interior traces, so you end up with just the outline to be cut out. Or, worst case, if the line that you want to cut isn’t high contrast (e.g. a person in a photograph with a busy background) you can use the pen tool to draw an outline manually around the person.
The advantage of having the vector cut and the bitmap engrave in one file is that then it’s all done by one job on the Glowforge, and everything aligns perfectly.
Re: #3: I think what Schafe’s looking for (and so am I) is the ability to build our own “library” of materials that aren’t Proofgrade and save the settings for each of them.
For example, I’m using laminated sign plastic regularly. Why not let me save the settings for that material, or a unique wood I’ve found? Love the PG materials, but there’s a world of things to laser! Where’s the cat??
I’d love that. As a workaround, I leave a saved design for each material that I use, with the manual settings saved on little objects in it for a cut, score, and engrave. First I use the design to test settings until I find what works, then later I can refer back to it to remind myself of the settings.
I used to use a notebook, but I’m apparently better at keeping track of digital things than physical things.