SVG Files & Bitmap encounters

Hello lovely Glowforge Crafters! Me & hubby are still newbies to this whole machine. We’ve only had our machine for a week, but are super stoked about the few creations we’ve managed to create! Buuuuuut I am a little overwhelmed on finding the best program to use for cutting out our designs. The whole bitmap and SVG files are a little confusing for me. I have had 2 successful ornament cuts (which I am totally proud of) but I keep running into the problem of images not being up to par to glowforge’s cutting standard and I keep cutting discourged little by little. Is there a program that you prefer for this specific method? Anything would by very much appreciated! (Sorry for such a long rant)


Not sure what you are asking - application suggestions? Inkscape and Gimp are free.

Have you gone thru the basic training on the machine.


This is outside the scope of Support, so I’m going to move it to Everything Else, where you can get help from your fellow users. (Posting in Problems and Support opens a support ticket.) :slight_smile:

After you’ve worked through the “First Three Prints” that @eflyguy linked to above, take a browse through the Glowforge Tips and Tricks section. There’s a ton of stuff there to help you figure out specific tasks in various vector drawing programs. :slight_smile:

Welcome to the forum!


Yeah what he said. Gimp didn’t work for my brain so I use PaintNet (also free) instead for my bitmap stuff - but you’re going to have to either take the time to learn them by playing - or read through instructions - or follow YouTube tutorials. Graphics programs are great but they all have a learning curve!

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If you can give a more specific example of something that didn’t come out the way you wanted, people here will probably fall over themselves to troubleshoot it with you.


I’ve been using PaintShopPro for years, mainly optimizing photos for my on-line shop, but also creating text and editing other images for signs and silk screen images (namely all as jpeg files)…

But like you, with the Glowforge, had to learn the world of creating SVG files, too. Had used CorelDraw before for some work, but turned out the “student” version I had wouldn’t allow me to do some functions necessary to create good cutting files.

Inkscape saved the day. Once you start playing with it, and figuring out nodes and paths, it is empowering. Most of my learning was try something, and UNDO. Best function ever. :wink:

And use “IMPORT” to add a jpeg or png file that you want to etch. (if just copy & pasted in, it will error out when you try to upload the file to the GF).

And if you want to cut around that, select the image, then Path>Object to Path then with it still selected, Path>Trace Bitmap. There are different type of outcomes (I did google that to understand what the different options mean). But usually a trace creates multiple lines, so after you move the trace off the original image, select the trace, hit the nodes, and start deleting the elements you don’t want… can be seem overwhelming, but once you get going (& have favorite music & drink on hand) it’s usually easier just doing it than thinking about it…

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