Well, I am learning there is alot I dont know!

Hello all,
My GF has finally arrived! I had all of the grand plans on how I was going to be able to just drag in an image and engrave it on some wood and it was going to be a piece of cake! I couldn’t be more wrong! While I have figured out how to search for a design and place it in the GF app and cut it out thats pretty much it. I was hoping this would be like using a toaster :slight_smile:

Here is what I am currently trying to figure out. I have an image that I sent myself from work as a PDF (someone misspelled or… not me :slight_smile: ). Swim of Die Logo.pdf (108.1 KB)

What I am trying to figure out is how I can get rid of the words in the image and engrave and cutout this image onto a piece of wood.

I realize to many of you this is probably super simple but I have zero experience with any drawing programs like inkscape or photoshop. I have a slight familiarity with fusion 360 for making 3D printable stuff but I know there is alot I don’t know how to use on that program also!

So, where is my best starting point? I have been watching dozens of tutorials on youtube for inkscape and my brain is starting to hurt.

Sorry for the completely newbie questions, I could have been studying this stuff for the past 2 years but I am one of those types that likes to learn as they go…

Thanks everyone!


I love good YouTube videos but like having a baby, you have to play. If the PDF is vector this will be easy if it is raster it should not be too hard either. If there are not any great answers by the time I get home I’ll mess around with it then.

Hey @helifrek, glad you got yours!

Got a bunch of getting started tutorials in the Matrix…look at the Table of Contents in the Tips and Tricks section of the forum.

It’s just about toaster easy with a little reading. :wink:


I’m right there with you. I have had years of cursory experience with CAD, illustration, and “photoshop”. Generally I can get them to what I need.

I’ve even had a cheap laser for a year and a half.

There is still a learning curve, and you are working with “Beta at best” software.

No shame in that.

1 Like

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. If you are keen to do this particular image that might have come to you only in a bitmap file format, you would have to have some type of imaging editor to get rid of or change the text. You could of course use white out or white tape to cover the text in a printed copy of the image and then use the trace function to bring it into the Glowforge. Use the control plus/minus to change contrast to get just what you want to engrave. To be able to cut a rectangle around it, you could just draw the rectangle on the printed copy. You can’t make a rectangle vector to cut in the interface. But you can upload them as an svg.

I’d begin with the learn by doing first prints in the support tab of the GFUI. Do the luggage tag from scratch. It may take a while, but you have to start somewhere. It will be worth it learning a design program. Lots of great tutorials to go through but assuming various levels of fluency in design.

The Glowforge business model is to provide ready to print designs and ready to use materials. That is the focus. They have however made it so that you can do custom designs and bring them into the interface and use custom settings. To do anything custom, you either have to be a wizard on the scan/trace functionality and be satisfied with the accuracy and resolution that it provides or be prepared to learn at least a vector design program and some basic image editing software to get the most use out of your Glowforge. Scan and trace has potential, but doesn’t have the capabilities for complex designs mixing cuts and engravings.

Yes, the Glowforge is simple to use, but the initial designs are limited and you will quickly want to roll your own. For that you have to use design software. They may or may not add design tools to the interface in the future, somewhat like the Cricut or Silhouette does, but it doesn’t seem to me to be anywhere near the horizon.

But once you get the design stuff down, you really can be productive on the Glowforge. It isn’t quite as easy as using a telephone. It requires some technical literacy to be productive with things you come up with.


I have been playing with the image. I couldn’t quite convert the file so I opened it up full screen, hit the print screen button, pasted in paint and cut out some of the junk (didn’t cut out the words but should have) and then i saved it as a PNG file.

So, I was the able to upload that into the GF app and I could engrave the image but I am trying to figure out how to cut out the image (I would like it to be traced around the image versus cut cutting out a square).

My wife has a Cricut and with that I was able to upload the image and get rid of the text and trace the image for it would be ready to cut but I cannot save it to use in the GF app.

I realize that I need two layers, one for engraving and one for cutting but trying to figure out how to cut the image out is what is baffling me the most. I was thinking of just engraving the image and then see if the trace tool would work for cutting it out.

Will keep plugging away at it, I know this is probably so stupid simple and I will laugh at myself later but I guess this is how I am going to learn…

Thanks again everyone!


Don’t sweat it, I started in the same spot you’re in.

So the quickest way to start (for me since I have the Adobe Creative Cloud) is to bring the image into Photoshop. Your screen grab was a good way to get a bitmap.

Next, I created a second layer with a copy of the image (after clean-up like removing words, deleting the background, etc.) and then did a control click. I expanded the selection by 4 pixels, then grabbed the black and colored in the entire selection area.

I pasted both layers into Adobe Illustrator separately.

The image with the gray scales and colors I left alone

The black blob I ran Object -> Image Trace on to make it into a vector. I deleted the white areas, changed the fill to none and added a stroke in red that will be your cut line.

Then I aligned to layers to each other.

I would probably clean-up around the sword handle so I didn’t have the extra cut areas, but you might like this just fine.

SwimOrDie.zip (135.0 KB)

When you bring the file into the GFUI you’ll note the engrave and the cut.

Check the tutorials as noted above. I’m sure there are better ways but it took me less time to make the attached image than it did to tell you about it here :slight_smile: Please also note, I didn’t start being able t do this as quickly as I can now. I am working on learning AI because I never really took the time before and it has been very useful for me since getting the laser. Good luck.


Seven months ago I had never used anything CNC or laser, or hadn’t much understanding of design software. The first thing I learned was that I was in the right place spending time on the forum and asking questions! :sunglasses:
With a few fundamentals you can begin to make things happen, and then it starts to really get fun. The tutorials and reading related posts are the best investment of your time.
Welcome to the club!


Here is a file of simple shapes. You can resize them and rotate them. There are only two rectangles, but at least it would be a start. Right click on the image and save it to a place you can find. After you upload a graphic in the GFUI, you can add artwork and select this SVG file. Delete the shapes you don’t want and position around the graphic that you want cut out. Alternatively you can start with the shapes file by uploading it in the design space and then add artwork once it’s in the operations space.

This is a simple way to do it and comes in handy on occasions. Learning how to use design software will come, but this will get you going. Each shape will come in as a separate operation. Once you click on each individual shape, you can delete it or transform it as you wish. Hope it helps.



That was really nice to do.

Good thing is it gives a “target” to try to match.


Thank you very much for doing that for me, and for describing the steps in detail. I Think I need something like a crayon box for my first steps! Back when i started doing 3D modeling I started with 123D design which was extremely simple to use but let you really learn the basics. Now I can breeze though alot of 3D modeling stuff but I always start from scratch.

Thanks again. I will “print” the file you uploaded!



Thanks for the help everyone.

You can also learn more about how to design for Glowforge with this tutorial that shows you how to make a Gift Tag from scratch using Inkscape.

I’m going to close this thread - if you have another question, go ahead and post a new topic. Thanks for reaching out!