Trying to use the passthru on my pro... but I don't know how to layer my Ai design. HELP!

Hello! I am BRAND new to using my glowforge pro… or any laser for that matter. I’ve figured out how to do simple designs and lettering as long as it fits in the size requirements. However… using the passthrough for larger items … I just don’t understand. I am trying to cut out a simple wreath design… but I am lost as to how to do this using Ai. I got all the way up to separating and layering the design so it’s 2 different cuts… :thinking: I’ve tried reading whatever I can find… but I don’t understand it enough to “get it”. Is there a “how to use the passthrough feature for dummies” anywhere? I have a Mac if that is important to know. Help!

I would first start with what does not need the pass through, The GFUI only works on colors as layers so if parts are different colors the will be on separate layers. Note you have to change both the field color and the outline color. Each photo will have its own layer.

There are a couple of tutorials for it here:

(I’d read the third one Inkscape too, it’s laid out a little more “step-by-step” and easily adaptable to Illustrator.


What those tutorials are trying to explain is fairly simple in concept albeit a tad more difficult in practice.

  1. Insert material through front slot (properly supporting it.)
  2. Load your first file and push the blue button.
  3. Push your material a bit.
  4. Load your second file and push the blue button.
  5. Repeat as necessary.

The trick of course is lining up your material as you push it through. You need a guide on the side. And you need to know that your design file has to be on a 12x20 inch artboard. And the placement of your design inside the file is just as important as the positioning of your material in the glowforge. If all of this strikes you as, well duh? Of course, then you will be fine. If you’re thinking OMG I’ll never get it, yes you will, don’t despair it will simply take a while for everything to click. So read through the tutorials and just figure it out.


This is helpful I think! Here’s my struggle… how do I “slice” the design without making cut lines? Where the line goes through the middle is where I am trying to separate it just to learn. Each time I think I am doing it… I am not.Master%20Wreath|500x500. :weary:

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So I can only help you in that I can describe what I do in AutoCAD to accomplish this task. Some of these steps might help you think through how you’d do it in Illustrator.

  1. I create my cut / score / engraves as a single piece.
  2. Draw out boxes of approx 18"Wx10"H
  3. Copy and stack these boxes until my single design fits within the overall stacked boxes.
  4. Copy the design multiple times depending on the number of boxes. If it takes 4 boxes to encompass my design, I copy the design 4 times. I create each copy next to each other in Model Space, and I only copy 1 box per copy. In your case you’d make 1 copy.
  5. Starting with the lowest box, remove everything outside the box. Create a layer - change the properties of all entities in the box to that layer. Make sure each layer has a different color. I usually keep the boxes on a seperate layer as well that I will bring into the GF software, as a different color, but tell it to ignore these lines / color.
  6. Rinse / repeat for the other boxes.
  7. Once all “pieces” have been separated into boxes / layers, move all pieces back into place as to the original design. AutoCAD is a breeze with this - Move / snap into place.
  8. At this point I should have the original design as drawn, but broken into 4 different colors in boxes no larger than 18"x10"

From there I can load the file into GF and then cut / score / engrave depending on color. Ignore everything but the section you’re cutting / scoring / engraving. You’d also have different colors if you were cutting / scoring / engraving, and it can get a little confusing sometimes as to what you should be setting up for a c/s/e or just flat out ignoring.

It does kind of suck with this method as you have to tell each color what to do each time you want to “print” but you’d be doing that if you broke it out into 4 separate files as well.

Hope that helps some.

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Use the Guides to drag out a guideline. Then use the Scissors tool to cut the path every where it crosses the guideline. Ungroup.

That’s it for that step. Be sure to use some indexing marks of some kind. (Second tutorial above.)


Thanks so much! I FINALLY got it! I didn’t get it lined up just right yet… but it worked!!! YAHOO! Thanks for helping me get through it folks.


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