What is a group of GF :glowforge: called?

I’m not even a little bit upset, it is really hard to find things in Discourse. (That’s a problem with the forum structure though…it’s a chat forum not a technical one.)

Anyway, if you want to know something, just ask, and folks can help you to find what you need or suggest something to try. Initial encounters with new software can be frustrating. :slightly_smiling_face:

I agree, but I am just want to remind people what this is. I had one perception of it, and I JUST want to make sure anyone else has had time to REALLY look at it and know.

When it first turned on, It was like looking into the face…of GOD!
ok…not God…
more like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. You just can’t explain it. It is awes and grinning!

We can’t complain too much tho, because software in beta, and it is what it is, we DID want it, well, we did agree to deal with it, and we are, but OMG the time, the work…I CANNOT wait for GF to complete that but I will be excited when it does. It’s like moving around in concrete.

I wish it would at least show us the cut/engrave lines :confounded:

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Yes, it is that experience.

Working in the IT field, I have just resigned myself to the fact ALL software seems beta. Otherwise, there would not be any updates to fix it.

I am missing what it is that you are referring to. Could you expand on that statement?


I guess I’m a little confused. Went back to the marketing video and other than the continuous autofocus and object recognition not yet working I didn’t see anything that claims something other than what it is. The second line in the video says start with a design that you download or create. You can download a design from the catalog or create one with S/W of your choosing. Of course GF could give us better documentation on the user interface but it’s not on them to teach us design. No where does it say that creating a design is non technical. The GF is certainly easier and quicker for simple things compared to the other laser cutter I have used. The thing that many people have a problem with is that it is not techie enough. It’s dumbed down a lot for the less than technically proficient.

The marketing video is the same as a tool manufacturer claiming their table saw or nail gun design makes building a house easier. I love my table saw and nail gun. They give me capability to do so, but I’m not ready to build a house on my own.


We were going to make coasters, so first we wanted to see how images printed, we chose an image, cleaned it up, added the ant trail lines We had the border in red for cut and the rest of the image in BLUE for engrave. Got to the GF to load the image and the image shows but but does not show any special designation, not like when you see the ruler in the bay ready for processing, with the two colors. Ours is just plain ( black and white ) Nothing special that shows what will happen when forge starts up for job.

It shows your image, but it does not show the cut lines. When you make a square around the image to designate it like the TESTED guys did, it does not work., Nothing happens when you do that box.

We just guessed our way through it, the interface buttons do nothing, there are drop down menu’s and there ya go.

@positiveforward - you need to read that first tutorial before you try to create something - it will help you to understand what you are seeing in the interface and how it interprets parts of a design

It will save you a tremendous amount of trial and error and time figuring things out.
(And miles of frustration.) :slightly_smiling_face:


Yes, and then it all got discombobulated somewhere.
I have things to do, I was just posting my update and I do not have time to play troll PositiveForward with the rest of you.

I have that PDF already, we BOTH read it again yesterday. I already told you this.
Not a big deal, R & D is my suggestion, that is all.

I’m so glad you are enjoying your laser. I agree, the information deficit for designing for the Glowforge is tough to master if you have no experience with lasers or with design software. And even with some experience with both, there are specific issues to learn.

Did you go through the tutorial on the support page of the app, Learn by Doing: The First Three Prints and then go through the gift tag from scratch? It does a pretty good job of isolating the steps for designing vectors and rasters. This step-by-step is good.

Updated and recent videos are needed.

What design software are you using? You mentioned GIMP above. Unless you are serious about retouching photos and bitmaps for engraving and want to use the Glowforge exclusively for this except for cutting simple outlines, this is not the first software to learn. A 2D vector program is essential. If you did your file only in GIMP, say, it would have saved it as a raster to engrave and you would not get any vector lines to call forth cut/score operations in the GFUI, much less the ability to tweak individual settings for the engrave, bitmap part of the design.

And you are welcome always to post a design file for help. It really makes a difference getting different eyes on it.


Everyone’s perception will be different, how could it be otherwise?
I have been taking things apart for 55 years since I could hold a tool, so I have a pretty good idea how things work - but I had zero experience with lasers or CNC and was able to use the glowforge within minutes of plugging it in.
Designing for files to use? No. In retrospect whenever I had an issue I thought was the machine’s, it turned out to be an issue with my file. I quickly realized the shortcomings were mine, not the machine’s.

Anytime I hit a wall, there has always been someone here who helped me or pointed me to the answer. Even though I never used a laser before, over two years of videos and reviews I did get a pretty good idea of the ins and outs of what was required to use a traditional laser, enough to know this machine was meant for people like me. Compared to anything else, this machine is simple to use - IMO. :sunglasses:

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When I got my unit, I read the setup instructions very carefully. Turns out I was over-thinking. It was so easy I found one could go from fully boxed unit to 1st cut in mere minutes. Took me longer to read the instructions than it did to actually act on them. When I was done I kinda went “Well that was easy.” And a few moments later my son was holding a home-made ruler.

I don’t want people to think any technical understanding is necessary. It really isn’t. Following the instruction from Glowforge really has everything needed. Any owner who is not technically inclined should absolutely not cancel their order. Instead they should accept, receive, and thoroughly enjoy their unit.


Please understand that people ARE trying to help you here. We might disagree with your opinion but I’m sure you disagree with mine. It not a personal attack. It’s a discussion trying to come to a common understanding.

If you have a problem with a function or capability even the most grumpy will gladly try to help. Can’t always say what you want to hear but if it was it wouldn’t be providing any real help.


I was not trolling you, we were genuinely trying to help, but if this was just an opportunity for you to express frustration, I now understand, it will be the last time. My apologies for bothering you and good luck learning to use your machine. :slightly_smiling_face:


Inkscape and GIMP, but I think we are going to move to Procreate so that should be fun getting familiar with that program.

The most frustrating thing was the UI was not responsive, we only guessed when we used the drop down menu options.

We were grateful tho, that we guessed correct and we got the successful print we wanted.
When I said WORK, I did not mean the actual programs, I meant working through the forge interface.
When it is loading, when you spend time pushing buttons that do nothing but acknowledge your press, is very wierd. Not being able use the square around an image for it to pop up and you can choose engrave or cut was frustrating. Maybe that is what took so much time, going back over and over and wondering why our files were not translating, when all along, it was the software not translating it to the image on the bed.
But it came out awesome for draft.


@Jules, You don’t troll, ladies don’t troll. Sorry I posted before it was complete.

Children troll, it is their nature to have a lack of self control and common courtesy or decency.

Such is the culture of today.

I am delighted to hear you got it working and so very sorry that our software and instructions were challenging out of the gate. I appreciate you taking the time to work through it and get to the other side!

I have a few ideas how we could improve things based on your feedback but if anything else comes to mind or if you can share screenshots that would make the difficulties clear, I would love to see them.


I noticed you stated that there is a PDF in the mix. I have not tried printing a PDF, but is the cut line part of the PDF?

I am in the process of learning Inkscape (YouTube training videos and the Tips & Tricks section of the forum). I have never used design software, but I have discovered that I am over thinking how to do things.

When I just do the basics, it has been much more successful. Eventually, I would like to be at the level that I have seen things in the forum (but I need to remember K.I.S.S. when trying what I have seen).

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If we had known the image would not translate the cut and engrave lines, we would have saved a LOT of time, the work was going back and redoing our image over and over because we thought the forge would not read it if it was not translating.
Jobs will go quicker now that we don’t have to keep readoing

The PDF I was referring to was the GF laser instruction manual
Our file was succesfully completed, I think this was the file or one of the adjustments we kept making

Strange thing, the black on her hip and the black in her collar are almost like deep engraves, lol

Nice image.

Do you have any pictures of the GF :glowforge: print of this?

After that drama, we were done for the day, lol.
This is the original


It is critically important that someone using any laser cutter understand the difference between raster (or bitmap) and vector image formats and tools. Raster images are stored in file formats like .bmp, .jpeg, .png, .tiff, etc. The primary vector format is SVG. PDF can also contain vector information. Even this distinction is vague, because vector formats can also mix raster and vector. But none of the raster formats can contain vectors.

Rasters store pictures as rows of colored dots, pretty much the way you see them on your computer screen. Vectors store pictures by describing how to draw the image, like, “Draw a black line from here to there, draw blue a rectangle in the upper left corner, draw a red circle inside it.”

The Laser Design Basics PDF that @jules linked above describes these in detail. What may not have been clear is what programs can be used to create the designs.

GIMP is a very capable raster image editor. It can import some things from SVGs, but can only use them as “paths” or by drawing the SVG into a raster image (a process called rasterization), and from then on it is treating it as a raster. GIMP can not save an image as vector.

Why am I going into such detail here? It is because laser cutters only perform cuts and scores using vectors. Engraving can be done with either rasters or filled vector shapes.

You seem to have been trying to control cuts with rasters. That won’t work. Laser engravers use the brightness of the colors in the image as a measure of how dark to burn the material or how deeply to engrave. The goal with an engraving is to mark the surface, perhaps deeply, but not usually to cut through the material. The reason your image only showed in the GFUI as one operation is because it was a raster image. And the only thing the Glowforge can do with a raster is to engrave it.

Two primary vector editing programs are Inkscape—free, open source—and Adobe Illustrator (AI)—not free. The GFUI treats the colors you assign to the vector strokes As groups of shapes to apply operations to, such as cut, score, or engrave.

In designing your coaster, you did the first part correctly with GIMP. You cleaned up the image.

Then you needed to combine the image with the instructions on how to cut out the coaster.

Using Inkscape or AI, position your raster image and then draw a colored circle (red, blue, whatever) where you want it to cut. Save as a “standard” SVG file (not Inkscape SVG, and in AI, turn off the “responsive” option).

Now, load the SVG file into the GFUI and it will show you separate operation steps for the raster image and the cut circle.

I hope that helps.