What am I missing?

I’ve been playing with my Glowforge for almost two weeks now, and try as I might I can’t seem to combine an engrave and a cut on the same design. I’m not even sure now how I managed to get the separate functions to show up once, but although it would let me engrave the design, it wouldn’t do the cut. It kept erroring out when I would try to print, so I told it to ignore the cut and the engrave went fine. I then told the machine to ignore the engrave, and do the cut, but it wouldn’t work. So how do I combine different functions into a single print?

P.S. my prints also don’t land where I position them, they print about .050 low and a bit right too. Is this simply a calibration error and if so can it be adjusted?

Have you seen the tutorials created by other Glowforge users? That might be a great place to get started:


In lieu of the tutorials and with the proviso that I’m still figuring this stuff out myself…, GF seems to segregate components of a drawing by color and by the type of image it is. Vector graphics that don’t have fill get turned in to CUT, if they have fill or if they’re raster images they become ETCH. Parts of the graphic that are the same type and color get grouped together as a single operation.

Layers may also play in to it, I’m not sure.

I did a cut of a mechanical part and needed to make sure the “inside” cuts were made before the “outside” (think of an object like a giant washer. I wanted to cut the inside hole before I cut the outside diameter). I grouped the various features together by layers in Adobe Illustrator, and then I gave all the objects in each layer the same color unique to that layer. the GF app didn’t guess right on the order of operations, but that’s easy to fix in the GUI. It did separate all the objects out the way I expected it to, though, so I could do all my cutting steps in the exact order I wanted.


This is pretty easy to assign in the design phase if you know the trick.


If you are using a program like Inkscape, you can import the graphic you want and then place a rectangle (or whatever shape) around it. When you upload the file into the glowforge user interface (GFUI) it will have one engrave operation and one cut operation.

As regards the landing position, glowforge considers being within a quarter inch to be acceptable. They say they are working on it to make it perfect, but not there yet. From operation to operation, the placement (assuming the laser head or gantry doesn’t bump into something) should be dead accurate. Note that if you run an operation and then when it is done look at the GFUI, the pink lines won’t line up with what was just done. This is normal. But if you print again, it will be in exactly the same spot regardless of what the GFUI shows you.


Thanks for the various answers, I knew about the different colors, but with the parts I’m trying to make the GF still didn’t want to work properly.

Here’s an example; I have a complex part straight lines, and 180 degree curves. I need a scribed 3 part line between the half curves leaving the right side of the left one uo at 45 degrees, about 1 " then a 45 degree angle down to meet the left side of the right one. GF sees them as separate operations, i.e. black cut lines, red scribe or score lines. But the GF will make the cuts, but not the score lines.

If you want to Zip the file and upload it here, someone can take a look at it and make a more concrete suggestion. What drawing software are you using?

By default GF will take all vectors and make them CUTS. If you want certain vectors to be SCORES then you have to change the CUT to SCORE on the left side panel.