How to Use SVG Files with A Glowforge
SVG files can be used with a Glowforge to create a variety of different things. This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions for using SVG files with Glowforge’s laser cutter.
If you want to use SVG files, you might purchase from us or 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 with more advantage skills and can use apps like Adobe Illustrator to manipulate the files.
- DXF – These are for AutoCAD software, and I have had requests for these, so I include them.
Preferred File for Glowforge
I find the preferred file for the Glowforge is an SVG file, and this vector file makes cutting smooth and clean.
We design all of our files in Adobe Illustrator, and we never scan 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 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 look like this after I get the file ready to export as an SVG for you.
I’ve set all of my cuts to black and my scoring to red in this instance.
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 to go 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)
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, I’ve only been doing this recently with our files, I’ll group what I recommend should be on one board size, 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, and I think this is just how Illustrator exports the files. But luckily, you can drag and drop layers quickly in Glowforge’s software.
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.
Glowforge doesn’t keep them color-filled like our files, so 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 left thumbnail and dragging in order.
Some of our files will have text instructions showing that you can delete or choose Ignore as a layer. You can even right-click on something to ungroup and delete something easier.
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 wanted to process, and it should be engraved. So, I click on ENGRAVE at the top of the right screen.
I click on I want to score the red hearts for the next layer, so I know where to glue down my pieces.
Then, I click on the last layer and click on CUT at the top of the right screen.
As I said above, choose your material or leave it 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 is always more than one way to achieve the same results.