What have I got myself into?

I think I have myself freaked out. I ordered the GF and as I am looking through the images, community etc. I have a bit of buyer’s remorse. Can I do this? Is it a huge learning curve? Where do I even start? Inkscape… how hard is that to learn? What was I thinking?!? I wanted one for so long and now that it is a reality (or will be when it arrives) I am scared!
Help! I can do this right?
Tell me where to start.


You will not need a Glowforge to use and learn Inkscape :slightly_smiling_face: You could download it right away and start playing with it. I had never touched Inkscape but dl’d it and played with it at every opportunity, not looking for a finished product but trying to see what each command did., I was able to learn quite a lot, though I am still learning new things three years on.

Some folks don’t learn best that way but there is a manual you can read online as you are working and a great many Youtubes going into different aspects. I would also recommend Gimp for dealing with raster images though that is not an immediate need. A second screen is another good thing to have for placing the Inkscape or Gimp commands to not take up so much of your main screen. They are a lot easier to see what you are doing and a cheap second screen is quite enough.

When the Glowforge arrives there is very detailed instruction from opening the box to making your first three things. Follow that closely and do not skip anything as they will inform you about issues you do not currently know about, but will look like a huge problem when your first prints whatever they are do not act as expected.

The great news? Unlike nearly everything else similar you do not need to be a programmer or electronics magician to own a Glowforge as indeed I am neither, as I found out getting my first 3D printer.


Thank you! I am going to dl inkscape as suggested and fiddle with that.
You lost me at Gimp and raster images lol, but a little at a time I will learn. I am just overwhelmed already and don’t even have my machine yet. I appreciate you taking the time to help!


Thousands of people have felt what you expressed, and thousands are now happily using their Glowforge. You got this and you have joined a community of people that will help you.

Start by getting comfortable with designing and preparing a physical space for the Glowforge. Other things will fall into place.


Due to startup issues I did not get my machine for nine months or so while others had to wait years after jumping on very early.

Basically there are two things the laser does: It can cut lines along a path and that is what inkscape is very good at, or it can go back and forth eroding the surface and usually darkening that surface much as you might do by hand with a wood burning tool and that uses normal photograph type images of rows of pixels and that is what Gimp is good at manipulating. Like inkscape there is a manual and tons of Youtubes to help there as well. Neither Inkscape or Gimp does very well in the others strong points which is why I use them together.


Hey you’re gonna be fine.

You might like this post, it has a ton of info for you:

The important thing to realize is that you don’t need to know everything all at first, there is so much you can learn as you go, when you need it.

For example, to this day I haven’t learned the ins and outs of leather stitching, but if I wanted to make a wallet I would dig into the concept. It’s ok to only focus on the things you want to do :slight_smile:


Thank you so much, I was certain I couldn’t be the only one feeling this way! I have the space all set up, and will fiddle with Inkscape. I learned with my Cricut, (though not as daunting as this seems) so I know that eventually I will learn all this as well. I so appreciate the reassurance!


Thank you!
This community is already making me feel better :slight_smile:


You can most definitely do this. GF has some starter lessons in Support, so you will definitely want to start with those. Browse through the forum and see what other people are doing and how.

It can definitely feel overwhelming at first, but it’s not so bad at all.

Good luck!


I highly recommend https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=logos+by+nick for all your Inkscape needs.


someone I know has a glowforge 2 days (I sold them the machine (my old plus))

  • THIS is what he made so far:



You have opened the door to a new adventure, don’t be intimidated because what you see is unknown. It was for all of us, none of us knew how until the first time.
This community is absolutely the best accessory for your new laser, I wandered in here in the same condition 6 years ago. The exploration of this machine and the technology is the most fun I’ve had in many years.


There’s quite a variety of different ways you can use a Glowforge. Some of them are exceedingly technical and engineering-y (e.g. designing in CAD software), and others are pure creativity (tracing a drawing on paper with the built-in software).

Depending on what you want to accomplish, there’s an entire spectrum in between. Glowforge Premium offers quite a bit of functionality without having to ever leave the Glowforge interface, if you can stomach the subscription fee. Inkscape is free but (in my opinion) not the friendliest program to use. There are new kids on the block, like cuttle.xyz. Or you might get by entirely by using existing designs, whether free or purchased.

I guess what I’m saying is you have options. Start with the basics, go through the tutorials, and see where it takes you. The community is happy to help guide.


Same for me.


Me too ! You can do this and in no time you will be amazing yourself at what you can make. So glad you have joined our group.


If I can do it, as well as many others, you can too! The forum is very helpful as well. Be sure to do the first projects as already stated. It gives you a feeling of success and helps you understand what the machine does. Good luck, it’s so much fun!!


I had the same pit of the stomach regret after purchasing my GF. That was three years ago, and I have absolutely no regrets. Not only is inkscape very learnable, but this community is full of friggin’ geniuses. And most of them are extremely helpful!


Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your purchase. It’s hard not to feel a little anxious with large purchases … and fire … but do a search on the forum for questions. If it hasn’t come up, you can drop a question and someone will help. It is an awesome group of people.


Second this. And if you do think you know everything - at any given point - you’re not trying hard enough! I learn new laser stuff all the time!