PDF keeps identifying as a bitmap

I have been trying to load a PDF so I can do a cutout and it keeps giving me a masking error; but when I attempt to select the file to select cut it keeps telling me it is a bitmap and only allows for engraving. I am attaching the file in question. Could use a little guidance. What am I doing wrong?

Skull and Flag Cutout.pdf (136.1 KB)

You need to convert bitmap images to vectors in order to “cut” them. Depending on the design application you have chosen, there are various ways to accomplish this conversion. In inkscape, you would use “trace bitmap” - although it would probably be a little easier to edit the image in a raster editing application first, as it is extremely low resolution.

Because I like to experiment (and my daughter might like this for one of her cars), I played around with this.

Open in Gimp, fill areas you want to keep, widen the “bridges” to keep the whole thing from falling apart, import to Inkscape, “trace bitmap”, and you end up with this:

Skull and Flag Cutout

(my machine is tied up with an hour-long engrave or I’d show you what it looks like when cut…)

Forgot to add - the PDF file you uploaded does only contain a bitmap. PDF, like SVG, are “containers” that can contain vectors and rasters (bitmaps) - yours contains just a bitmap.

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Gotcha. I am using the adobe creative suite. typically in the past, I would create the cut in inDesign and export it as a PDF - never had any issues. this one I pulled in a jpeg into photoshop, traced it and then exported it to inDesign, then converted it to a PDF. clearly doesn’t want to work that way. i have the inkscape software loaded, just not very good working with it… I will play around a bit more and see if I can create a cleaner image, etc. independently before trying export. Thanks for your assistance!



Because I was curious, here it is cut from acrylic in “ear-ring” size:

not too shabby!

I just went and bought the CAD which gave me an AI file as well. I think this may be easier to work with and resolve my problem. It is very clean! best 2.70 i ever spent. lol

Since you have Creative Suite you might find Illustrator better suited to make Glowforge ready files than InDesign :slightly_smiling_face: You can even copy paste directly from illustrator to the Glowforge dashboard.

It’s fairly easy to make a vector trace in Photoshop and send it to illustrator, if you like I can elaborate.

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I am sorry you ran into trouble with your file.

Thank you so much for the help @eflyguy! Were you able to get your file to cut using the provided tips? If not, please let me know and I will look into this further.

Yeah, i am slowly realizing that. Thanks


I ended up just buying the file at this website. Turns out they have 1000’s of them for pretty cheap too that I can manipulate in the adobe creative suite. Pretty plug and play.

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I am glad you were able to get your file printed. I am going to close this thread now. If you have any other questions please feel free to start a new thread or email us at support@glowforge.com.

Happy Printing!