How to Use SVG Files with A Glowforge
If you’re wanting to use SVG files you might purchase from us or even on Etsy you might be wondering how to use SVG files with a Glowforge (affiliate link – save $500 on a Pro and $250 on a Plus). I’m going to show you how to do just that.
These basic steps will make it so easy for you to become more familiar with how you can manipulate these files and work them to your advantage.
Our Laser Cut SVG Files
In our shop, we provide you with multiple files with each listing you may purchase from us so you can use them with many different types of machines.
- SVG – a vector app that works perfectly with Glowforge, Cricut and Silhouette – as well as the XCarve
- AI and EPS – these are also vector files, basically for those that have more advantage skills and can use apps like Adobe Illustrator to manipulate the files
- PNG – I am not sure why many people would want these, but I give it to them. These are not print and cut files as they tend to be separated out for laser cut use.
- DXF – These are for autocad software. I have had requests for these so I just include it.
- PDF – I do give a PDF file which typically can be opened in a vector app and edited if the file is set up for that.
Preferred File for Glowforge
I find the preferred file for the Glowforge is an SVG file. This vector file makes cutting smooth and clean.
We design all of our files in Adobe Illustrator. We never scan in things, leaving rough and fuzzy edges.
How to Use SVG Files with the Glowforge
Before I can show you I want to explain how I set up our files so it makes sense to you better.
When I design a file, I create it as if I want to see the final pieces all put together, like this.
That type of visual works best for me.
Then, I take each item and I will piece it out for best use on the Glowforge.
How Glowforge Sees the Files
Glowforge usually looks at color groupings as layers. So I know I can’t have the same color for scoring as I would a cut.
So the Feb 14 sign would end up looking like this after I get the file ready to export as an SVG for you.
In this instance I’ve set all of my cuts to black and my scoring to red.
I always include scoring when I can. This makes it so much easier to know just where to glue down pieces so they are straight. I typically make an offset so it goes slightly inside the area where the cut lines will be so you cannot see them.
Cutting Order for Glowforge
For this file you’ll notice I have the holes for the tiny banner a different color than the rest of the cuts, even though it’s a cut.
The reason for this is I like to make sure people can arrange their layers in this order:
- Engrave (scoring and engraving can usually be interchangeable)
The reason for this is that if you were to cut all the shapes first, then try and engrave or score, your pieces might shift around out of place and then everything is off. Running in this order avoids that from happening.
Here is one of the files with engraving (for the shiplap lines). Engraving is deeper than a score.
For this one I would run the layers like this:
- Engrave the shiplap lines first
- Score the hearts on the backer next
- Then cut everything else
Grouping Like Layers
Sometimes, and I’ve only been doing this recently with our files, I’ll go ahead and group what I recommend should be on one sheet – like anything that would cut out of a 1/4″ thick board and a 1/8″ thick board. And, I’ll place them close together to help you maximize space.
How to Import Files into the Glowforge App
To import files into the Glowforge app you would want to bring in the SVG files.
These may come into your app with the layers out of order. I think this is just how Illustrator exports the files. But luckily you can drag and drop layers easy in Glowforge.
Step 1 – Upload File
In the Glowforge app choose Create/Upload From File and locate the SVG file you wish to cut.
Step 2 – Arrange Layers
You may need to click on each of the layers to identify what is what. That’s why I like to give you the PDF reference with your Instruction folder (again, something new I’ve started doing).
Glowforge doesn’t keep them color filled like our files, so just do a little sleuthing.
Drag them in the order you want to run the layers. As I mentioned above, run engraving and scoring before cutting. Do this by clicking and holding down on the thumbnail on the left and drag in order.
Some of our files will have text instructions showing as a layer you can delete or choose Ignore.
Here you can see I have arranged my layers. I left the text layer on but chose IGNORE.
Step 3 – Set Process of Each Layer
With Glowforge, you can click on a layer then choose what you want that layer to do.
- For engraving I usually leave it at the default
- For scoring I usually leave it at the default
- For cutting – you will also want to tell it what type of cut if you’re not using Proofgrade materials. With Maple from Home Depot, I always use the Proofgrade settings for Maple. It works for me. But it may not be the same for you. Everyone’s materials and machine may need some testing and tweaking.
I don’t have my machine loaded right now, but this will make sense still. As you can see, I clicked on the first layer I want to process and it should be engraved. So, I click on ENGRAVE at the top of the right screen.
For the next layer I click on I want to score the red hearts so I know where to glue down my pieces.
Then, I click on the last layer and I click on CUT at the top of the right screen.
As I said above, choose your material or leave alone if you’re using Proofgrade, where you set up here. Mine says unknown because I don’t have my machine turned on.
Print Your File
That’s it! Then you can print your file and it will run in the order you set and do the processes you set to each layer.
Do you do your files differently? Please leave a comment if you do something different or can offer a tip or advice. remember there are always more than one way to achieve the same results.