Pro Arrived and I'm Not a happy camper

Isn’t the major selling point, that you don’t need to be an expert, and you can just plug it in and play?

Seems that there is a lot of doublespeak on that point around here. :thinking:



Yes, you’re right - the glowforge was designed as “no way a person can fail at what they are attempting.”

Sure looks like the majority of examples have been plug it in and play.

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My experience is that the GF is pretty close to WYSIWYG. But it doesn’t have DWIM.


Pretty much. If I tell Illustrator to export the SVG with “responsive” checked, the GF app will faithfully display it for me exactly the way it’s asked.


It’s a good thing you are smart and know that.

Is that in the manual, or the getting started guide for new and inexperienced users?

So much of this is institutional knowledge that is buried in 10`s of thousands of posts from the last 2 years. It’s not at all a user friendly environment when a problem arises. Hence, the obvious frustration seen from the unhappy first time users that are, and will continue, to pour into to the forums when they can’t easily find an answer.


"Use the Force, Luke."

This is a good place to start to learn what it is the laser software is looking for:

After that, there are a ton of helpful little tips and tricks (and specifics) linked in the Matrix here:

Start with the Laser Design Matrix, pick some Design software that you want to learn (2D or 3D) and there are all kinds of tips on how to use it.

Everybody needs to just give themselves a little time to get familiar with the software…it’s not a race or a contest. :slightly_smiling_face:


@Jules, this and the matrix are fantastic resources.

Do you realize, though, that most people have no idea that those exist, or where they are?

I’ve been here for a while, and I just managed to track them down a couple weeks ago. And, honestly, it’s a little bewildering when you see that mass of links.

Crowd sourced docs are great and all, but people really need some actual manufacturer provided documentation.

The fact that there is great debate about how the current features even work is a testament to that.


I don’t really disagree with you (except the part where I’m smart – I’d have to cite a lack of evidence), but the point I was making is that the Glowforge isn’t a design tool and can’t be expected to know what you meant instead of what you said. There are a lot of applications that can create SVGs and each one will behave differently. I certainly don’t expect Glowforge to include a “how to” for every one of those applications. In my case I didn’t know how to use any of them, so I didn’t have any preconceived notions that I knew what the hell I was doing. If I was an Inkscape expert and my SVG didn’t work properly on the Glowforge, it’s possible I might assume the Glowforge was at fault. At the same time, however, there’s plenty of evidence (namely, all of the projects that people are posting) that the Glowforge isn’t a piece of junk that can’t even read a SVG properly. Hopefully at that point I’d just ask if anyone else was having a problem similar to mine.

Edited to add: I agree with you that it would be great if there were more documentation, though. There was a thread a day or so ago where Dan listed a couple of keyboard shortcuts that I never knew about. Something like that really should be documented on the website.


Yeah, I know. I try to point people towards them when I can. (If you guys would do the same, it would help a lot of beginners to get past that initial OMG! hump that happens.) :slightly_smiling_face:

Glowforge was too busy building a machine to do those kinds of tutorials on design. They don’t have the resources for it, and it has to do mainly with learning to use outside design software, so that is something that people pretty much need to pick up on their own. A bunch of us volunteered to put that together to help people get started in doing their own designs.

Unless you’re buying a design that someone else has already created (catalog) then everyone needs to learn a few basic design concepts if they want to do anything past engraving on objects using visual placement, or tracing a drawing with the interface. That’s all the functionality that we’re going to get with the laser. (Maybe a few more bells and whistles later, but it’s just so much easier, and more accurate, to do the designing and aligning in something that was made for doing design work.)


Yeah, I can’t imagine that would be an easy task.

An alternative could be to recognize common problems with the SVGs when they are uploaded. I’m not wise in the ways of SVG inner workings, but can’t the GUI detect that the SVG is not "responsive " and direct the user to some general guidelines about properly prepping an SVG? (I fully realize I may have just completely changed the direction of this topic).


We can add a tutorial or listing of specific keystroke commands to the tutorials area…honestly, I was holding off on doing one until I saw if they included it in the manual. (Wasn’t going to tread on their toes any more than I already do, KWIM?) :wink:

There are easy shortcuts and functionality that a lot of beginners won’t stumble across for a while, and they are always adding new goodies…I’ll see what I can put together.


I hope they at least pay you in Proofgrade.


Oh, I’m perfectly content to see all the goodies coming out of the Made on a Glowforge category.
(I get paid in ideas.) :wink:


Totally agree with you here and the seeds are there if they will grow. Right now we see that for elements that they cannot work through like text that has not been converted into curves.

I thought about adding a comment like that to my post. The problem with that, in my opinion, is that it makes Glowforge responsible for keeping up with the idiosyncrasies of third-party software. It’s possible you could limit that to just Illustrator (since it’s the market leader), but as soon as Adobe adds a new feature that “breaks” a SVG on the Glowforge (like the “responsive” option), everyone will be up in arms that Glowforge didn’t catch it. In this particular case, I suppose the app could give an error message that the height and width of the SVG isn’t set, but I still think in the end they would end up having to support applications other than their own. A lot of people would think that since Glowforge knows there’s a problem, they should be able to tell them how to fix it.

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See, that is a damn useful error message.

First time I tried to engrave some text without converting it, I was clearly told what the problem was and how to fix it.

Bonus: I didn’t have to wade through the underbelly of this forum to find a solution. Yay GFUI!


That just might be the price they have to pay if they want to be the most user friendly laser on the market.


Possibly. On the other hand, they could set up a forum where people could ask for help (both official and unofficial). :wink:

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A simple click two spots and tell me the distance between them function would work wonders. It wont tell you 0.010 resizing but it will show you if its 1/4" out

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Hey folks… To be honest I’m not concerned about the SVG file printing off scale. That was my first test and it is obviously in the file. The second attempt was with a PDF of the same file. That worked perfectly so I at least have cut capability which is the main thing for me at the moment.

I guess my frustration was ill timed due to quite a few people experience some issues with calibration and the GF going off line for no reason. Just so happens I was setting up for the first time when these issues had happened to others. So I can live with that.

Today was definitely better than yesterday. To me the app seems more like an Alpha than a Beta. I tried an engrave and could not find how to cut the perimeter after the engrave. That should have been obvious? I then wanted to cut in a certain order like inside to outside so that the center parts do not get out of alignment. Every other laser provides a choice to select line color for queuing the cut and or engrave. I’m sure that I saw that somewhere but I could not find it? It would probably help new users if more features are on the Main control page instead of another that other page where you load files. Its just not that obvious in the beginning. Just simple stuff arranged better would make this App so much easier to navigate and understand what is happening.

One thing that I did find was that using an iPad is near to useless for moving the part to cut around the screen for placement… I tried a mini and a full size and finally gave up and had to use my Mac in another room.

I’m not sure what Adobe Max is supposed to be after viewing the movie. I certainly hope that I don’t have to get a copy of Adobe. Or is it an App that is being developed for GF instead of GF Company having to do one.

As for not being able to engrave text…Wow!. All my files have descriptive placement and part numbering on them. My normal order of cutting on other lasers is engrave text, cut oder via color denoting scoring, sequential cutting order and power levels for each. Without these minimal requirements then I’m screwed regards my business.

It would also be nice if I use my own materials that once I have them cutting correctly that I could save off my own material files. I must be honest that the proof grade quality is nice but is around ten times the cost of the same or similar materials that I source locally.

What an adventure…