Stupid question about engraving vs cutting

Is there a stupid question category? :wink:

I have a hand lettering piece which I need to have engraved, then cut out of wood. I can’t seem to understand how to tell the GF to engrave certain parts and then cut out that part as a whole. Any help please? :smiley:

I see someone is replying, I moved this to Tips and Tricks so it can get the attention it needs. The problems section tends to get closed quite quickly.

Thanks! I wasn’t sure which category to put this in. Much appreciated. :slight_smile:

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Well I thought someone was replying, guess not.

Anyway, the key with anything generated in a program to make a SVG or PDF is color coding.

Pick one color for cut and another for engrave, then you can set them as you want in the GFUI
Always do your cuts last, you can do this by dragging that section to the bottom as things are in a queue from top to bottom.


Thanks Mark! I appreciate it…and just set up a file. However, the PDF I set up won’t load into my GF app. In fact, nothing happens when I press the ‘upload’ button. :confused:

Does this mean you have it on paper and you want to scan, engrave and then cut? This can be easy or a bit harder depending on the drawing.

A typical case is that you want the cut line to be larger than the hand drawn art and for that, I find it easier to scan in separately and use design software to generate the cut line (or draw it myself), but for some drawings you can do it all with the trace feature in the Glowforge.

There are tutorials for both methods in Tips and Tricks. Maybe a picture of your source material (if you’re willing to share it here) would be helpful in pointing you in the right direction.


I’m not the best here at troubleshooting these. You will need to upload the file if it isn’t sensitive. Also, try saving as an SVG and see if that works.

Ah, you’re not scanning, you’re uploading. If that upload button doesn’t pop up a dialog, that suggests a problem with your browser. What browser on what OS are you using?

@markevans36301 this is sounding less like a tip and trick.

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This is the file that I’m working with (my hand lettered logo.) It’s a vector file from AI, saved as a PDF. The orange is what I want engraved, and the pink is what I want cut.

Agreed, if we do have it working soon I’ll move it BACK to problems.

Using iPad with the default Safari browser.

There is an app specific to iOS now, you can get it in the store for free.

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WHAAAT?? That’ll make life easier!!

Okay, I see above that you are trying to work with a raster image, you will need to reduce it to two colors and trace it into a vector to make it work right. The GFUI will not cut rasters, only vectors.

I know, lots to learn but it gets easier! I don’t know what are program you are using so that is as far as I can take you right now.

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It’s actually a vector image. I just saved a JPG to share here.

I tried uploading a PDF but wasn’t able to, even via the app I downloaded (as per your suggestions.) Any thoughts? I appreciate the help!

If the original is a vector I am at a loss other that tring it saved as a SVG, sometimes one program or another saves something that chokes the GFUI. I’ve never had any trouble with PDF but I’ll have an SVG from one program work great and then try one from another and it will choke.

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Thanks! I actually connected my iMac instead of my iPad to the GF, and it seems to be uploading files ok now. And it’s recognizing the different colors for engraving/cutting! Will test it out after it’s done engraving the text image I’m working on now.

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The app actually works quite well if you can save it as an SVG from your iPad to the files area (I use Dropbox but other save areas would probably work.) Plenty of iPad apps will save an SVG (I have Inkpad and Vectornator). Then what you do is go to a saved file in your Dropbox account and Export the file then choose Open in… then choose Copy to Glowforge from the options listed. I haven’t been able to get this to work for pdf files but it does work for SVGs.

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Another newbie Q (still reading up tutorials & learning inkscape), so putting this here rather than new thread. I’ve been trying to get this for past 2 days, managed to understand get rid of clip masks too. Finally close but not quite.

If I want to have a gradient engrave and a score or cut around that, then I have to do it as separate files uploaded to the GFUI? The score (or cut) file I save as svg. I get layers. So I can have the gradient fill that is inside that score in a another layer (hidden when I save the score file), then unhide and save that (an hide the score layer) as png. (If I save as svg then of course no gradient - tested that). Problem is that if I save as png then when I ‘add artwork’ and upload it puts it somewhere else - not inside the previously loaded score. As opposed to the svg version that put it in the right spot (but no gradient).
How do I get around this?

Thank you! (+ for all the tutorials and matrix and amazing help on this forum)

No, svg is a container file. Everything can go in one file.