Student Design?

We have just received our GlowForge at school, but where do my students design their images? I know we can download free images, but what if they want to combine images and text? What platform can they use before they save it as an SVG?


I recommend you go through the first three prints and get comfortable with your machine.

Your students can use a huge variety of programs to make their designs. A few free programs include Inkscape for vector graphics, GIMP for bitmaps, and Fusion360 for 3D design.

You and your students need to learn what constitutes a vector and a bitmap and how those are contained in a file format like SVG or PDF, both of which can be used with the Glowforge.


Welcome to the forum and congratulations to you and your students.

How old are your students? There are many options for them to makes their designs, including the premium subscription tools.


They are 7th and 8th grade (13-14)


They are lucky students!

If you have the premium subscription, they can do many things while they learn a graphics program. The outline tool enables them to cut around an item they draw by hand and integrate into the interface via the trace function. There are many fonts and design elements within the premium tools. Have them work through the tutorials and explore these powerful, readily available tools.


If your school has an Adobe subscription, then Adobe Illustrator is their vector graphics creation program. If not, Inkscape is a free alternative students can download and use at no cost.


To echo what @ben1 said with links:

Inkscape is what :glowforge: uses in their tutorials, so always a good choice for vector editing to start

I use PaintNet for raster editing, but any program (GIMP, Photoshop, etc.) will work.


Welcome to the Community!

The GF staff put together an excellent multipart tutorial on how to get started with your GF. I highly recommend reading it (even better – work through all the examples, including the introduction to Inkscape!).


Check out the posts from @theroar84

Profile - theroar84 - Glowforge Owners Forum


I would vote for Inkscape as well. It’s easy to learn and lots of help here on the forum…


Every journey is made of individual steps. Start simple and progress.


  • what can it cut, what will kill it
  • modes of operation (engrave, score, cut)
  • cut a simple premade design
  • make a coin (bonus: two sided)


  • what is kerf (width of the cutting “blade”)
  • join two parts (joinery, kerf correction, bonus: no glue)
  • thinking in 3D (discuss planning, software)
  • make a small tray or box with Inkscape

What follows is endless choice. Usually it just takes igniting the ember and providing the air. Everyone has their own interests, but for those crippled by choice suggest guided projects. Browse the catalog for inspiration, have your students make their own versions of things from scratch.

  • toys (e.g. a rolling car from a single material)
  • mechanisms (e.g. gears, hinges)
  • multi material ornaments
  • multi layer art (e.g. mandalas)
  • practical cuts (solve a personal or classroom need, e.g. a repair, doorstop, hook, holder, whatever)

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