Tecnologically challenged grandma can't seem to find a savable file type to cut

I am trying to cut out christmas ornament blanks to paint. I have used adobe fresco to clean up the drawing and uploaded to inkscape and then tried to save as a plain svg, but when downloaded into the glowforge app it will only engrave. It says it’s a bitmap. I would ideally like to have a files on my computer that I can use over and over when needed. I just don’t know enough about saving files. If I use trace (I haven’t tried yet) will I be able to save in a reusable format onto my laptop? Any help is appreciated.

I’ve moved this from Problems and Support, as that is for opening tickets with support staff for problems with the machine or the interface.

It sounds like you just want to cut simple shapes. Putting a bitmap into a SVG file still leaves it as a bitmap “embedded” in the file. You need to convert it to a vector (yeah, the file format name makes it confusing.)

If you’re using Inkscape, then you need to use the “Trace Bitmap” function under the Path menu. That will put a vector path around the shape. Depending on the design, it may put other paths in there as well, so after using it, delete the bitmap, then ungroup the different paths and delete the ones you don’t need. It can be handy to switch to Outline view mode (View menu, Outline) so you see the actual paths, not the “Strokes” it might create - which have thickness, which the GF will ignore.

Inkscape has some great documentation. You can access it from the Help menu. Here is the page for using the Trace Bitmap function.

Finally, any design you create in the interface - including traces - can be exported using the Export Design option under the dots menu menu.

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Thank you for your response. I will do my best to get that to work. It’s probably going to take a few tries so hopefully not too many. This was my first post and I will try to get any future ones in the correct catagory.


If you haven’t, work through the first few cuts that :glowforge: uses to introduce you to it. Getting a firm grasp on the difference between a vector and a raster (Inkscape can do both) is critical.


This - the Your First Prints tutorial is priceless :slight_smile: Also, someone posted a “basic vector shapes” design you may find useful.


See if these will work for you to get started. If you need something else, just send me a message and I should be able to send you what you need.


Thanks everyone! I’m going to leave this open a little while so we can make sure you’re all set!

Thanks to everyone for their input. I’m sure that I will get better at this. The little one that is fairly(haha) scorched was my try at bitmap tracing with Inkscape and uploading the image. A lot of work needed there. The single was my first try at a glow forge unit trace. Not too bad but I had to go to the store before my husband’s doctor appointment. The stack of 3 was my next attempt. They didn’t turn out the same size as the single but I had to start the machine trace over since I couldn’t figure out if it was possible to use the last file I cut. I did try. So at least I have some to paint from the replay of the class I missed since I didn’t have the blanks to paint. I’ll try to post an image when they are finished. I will definitely have to get that copy image step to work so I can multi task while it is cutting. Even if I’m limited to designing. :grinning:


I did the first little key ring thing. Of course I had hit the button that flipped the image horizontally without realizing so I ended up cutting it twice. I kind of shied away from the next two prints since I had already tried to order more proof grade and found almost everything unavailable, not that I want to use expensive surfaces for craft sale offerings. I’ll give it a go when I can Squeeze it in between other tasks. I have one more other design that I’d like to give a go to before my online sale. Thanks though. I’m very much a visual learner and YouTube is a fantastic source for that.

Thank you Pearl for your offer. I’ll check them over soon. I bought the glow forge so I could finally do more of my own designing of flat ornaments and not to be totally dependent on ordering online from other tole painting sources.

I will almost guarantee that you have 2 lines so it’s cutting the entire thing twice. When you trace in Inkscape you need to either switch the default option to centerline trace (so it only traces a single line) or after you trace you need to break it apart and then remove the duplicate (because it traces both the inside and the outside of every line)

There are a few tutorials on that on here if you search for double lines - this one is video:


A used toothbrush and some Fast Orange will clean that up (usually).
It also comes in wipes for the smaller oopsies or edges.
After cleaning it may need a moist alcohol wipe. I have also used a dry brush to whisk on the project and remove any residue from small cracks.


It looks like you’ve made great progress and the topic has quieted, so I’m going to close this now. If you have another question, or a continued one, please create a new thread. Have fun!