Odd lines showing up in my engravings

I’ve attached some photos for y’all to check out. This is the largest engraving I’ve done so far and everything was going great. The printer head started at the bottom and worked it’s way up. And for some reason, only in the middle of those two center words, did those odd lines appear. It’s like the laser didn’t cut off correctly. I plan on cleaning my GF thoroughly but I don’t see how a dirty mirror or lens would make this happen.

I made my artwork in Illustrator and I’ve read that sometimes using the shape builder tool can yield odd results when that artwork is used in the GF. All text was converted to outlines too. The only thing I didn’t do that I’m reading MIGHT have helped was to rasterize the artwork.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Home address sign

Very strange behavior. Just to be clear, the black areas in your SVG file were set to “score”? Is that correct? Also, can you provide a screen-shot of your Glowforge settings for this operation? :sunglasses:

Rasterizing the artwork would have avoided this. The only explanation can be the Glowforge motion planner and AI disagreeing on how to process the nodes in the vector design when rasterizing it. AI has to rasterize it to display it on your screen, GF has to rasterize it to make the motion plan for engraving. I’ve run into enough weird glitches in how GF handles vector engraves over the past few years that I now always rasterize engraves to be sure I don’t waste any material. Also keeps things simpler with only having to manage one set of saved custom engrave settings, and you can run at speeds over 1000.


The black areas in my SVG were set to engrave actually. And I’m using the preset for “Medium Walnut Hardwood” which has worked flawlessly in the past for all my hardwood engravings.


Always a pain to learn this stuff the hard way. I’ll also try to remember to do test prints from now on too haha. I should have done that to begin with. It wouldn’t have helped me solve the problem but I wouldn’t have wasted a board.

Thanks again.

The worst part is that a test print won’t help! These processing errors with certain vector designs are non-deterministic. Printing the same design multiple times may not result in the same output. If you search the forum for something like “random lines” or “random circles”, you’ll find other threads where people have printed the same design over and over, and only every few prints do they have the unexpected output.


Oh wow… that’s horrible! lol Nothing worse than chaotic errors like that.

IMHO this is not your fault. You should contact Glowforge support via email, reference this post, and expect a refund for the material that you wasted. Hopefully this degenerate behavior will be fixed by Glowforge. :sunglasses:

IGNORE THIS! See my comments below.

I suspect it’s due to being confused about the extra lines you have stacked on top of each other. (there are at least 3 copies at each highlighted location)
You can spot them in AI’s outline view

Unfortunately no, the file has extra data.


Thanks Ekla, that’s good to know. I did use the shape builder tool and those items specifically did cause me trouble. I thought I cleared out all the extra data but it seems not. I didn’t think to check the outline view cause I assumed I got it all! That’s very helpful.

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What @ekla said! And I take back what I said. It’s clearly your fault—somehow! :sunglasses:

I found 35 black circles in the center of the “LOEBICK” letter “O” alone using Inkscape after moving aside objects in the SVG file! How did you do that!!??? :rofl:


AI and the GF planner disagreed on how to handle those stacked paths when rasterizing. Both of our explanations are correct.


haha no idea! Sometimes odd artifacts will show up like that due to program translation. It’s not like that in AI that’s for sure. But it’s good to see how other programs (and therefore the GF) might be translating my work.

Oh it is, I gave up counting how many middles of that “o” you have - there are a LOT.

This button is your friend after Shapebuilder activity (try it, it gets rid of all your stacked lines):


That’s insane. I can’t even begin to explain why there are so many of those shapes. I’m no Illustrator newbie either. I’ve been a professional graphic designer for over 15 years and haven’t seen shape replication problems like that before. I guess I was just overconfident and didn’t check my work.

Thanks again.


Oh that Shapebuilder is mysterious and relatively new. It does different weird things with each new version of AI.


I should have just used the damn pathfinder tool but I always lose where it lives and thought “screw it, I’ll just use the shape builder” and I knew better…

Guess I was just too lazy to use the Help/Find function… *sigh Oh well…lessons learned.

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Looks like it was a mixed bag of problems. Thank you both again for helping me figure it out. @ekla my file was jacked up for sure. I since fixed it but for whatever reason, I was still getting some lines in it. Not as bad as it was but some. I’ll play around with it more to see if I can’t eventually figure out what’s going on.

@dan84 Your suggestion to rasterize my file worked wonderfully. No more lines. What’s odd though is when I did a test run, the engraving wasn’t nearly as deep and at the same settings. I can always crank up the quality to HD Graphic though.

Thanks again folks. I really appreciate the quick and very helpful responses.


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