Where to get files for your Glowforge?


Make them, buy them, get them free, create them on the fly?


One of the biggest challenges new users face with their Glowforge is how to get files for it that they want to use. If you are coming over from Cricut and are used to Design Space and creating your files there, you may be in a for a bit of a shock as the Glowforge User Interface is not quite like that. The Glowforge User Interface is more of a communication vehicle between your computer and your laser - telling it what power to use at what speeds, and what paths to trace vs. a design tool where you're combining elements to make an image or a cut file.


If you have the premium software from Glowforge, you will have elements available to you - I paid for the subscription annually, so I have these and will use them for quick modifications to files as I'm working. So, what do you get in the premium software?




First - you have access to artwork - so you can add an element to your board and create from there - these are not full projects, but you can get some shapes that you could use to add a simple touch to a cutting board or other engraving project, or a simple cut shape, like a star for on the fly use.


Second - you have access to the text tool! This is probably the tool I use most if I want to add something simple to a design, a name, a phrase, etc. It is best used for engraving, as you can't easily weld letters together within this toolset. The fonts are Google fonts - which you can preview how your wording will look using https://wordmark.it/ and previewing the Google fonts. This is a great tool if you are a font collector like me, you can easily and quickly choose between many fonts on your computer.


Third - you have access to free designs in the Glowforge catalog. Anyone can purchase designs from the catalog, but you will have access to free designs, including on project monthly that is free only for that month - some examples of projects you might use are below:



What if you don't have Premium access?

Now, if you've chosen not to get premium access, but aren't designing your own files, where can you go?


SVG memberships

This is a great place to start, especially as you are learning your machine. You can then spend time learning what kind of materials you like, what projects you like completing and what settings you prefer, rather than buying a whole bunch of files you may not end up using, or getting frustrated not understanding if your design didn't work or if the materials didn't work.


The memberships I've seen range in price from $8/month-$35/month. Some will send you files monthly, others have open memberships that allow you to access everything they offer as long as you are a member. You'll want to look at what your use license is for each membership to ensure that anything you intend to sell is covered under your agreement.


My favorite is my Auntie Tay membership - she offers not only Glowforge tested files (with more coming every month), but other SVGs, Fonts and design elements that you can use as you step into personalization, or into designing your own files! Her membership for personal use only is $8/month, adding commercial rights is $13/month and for $25/month you get additional access to business trainings and support - perfect as you're growing your small business.



Facebook groups

Often facebook groups will offer free designs and have a rolling catalog of those they are offering. If they don't have free designs, you may find designers promoting their work, so you can go grab their files. Laser Elves has both free designs and shared links focused on Holidays - you can find them here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/laserelves


Etsy

A growing marketplace for Laser Tested (and often Glowforge specifically tested) SVG files is available on Etsy. Find your favorite sellers, follow their shops, and you may find your way to their primary site! Some of my favorite shops are below:

DESIGN YOUR OWN

I'll share another post on designing your own files, but quickly - my recommendation for designing yourself is a combination of procreate and Adobe Illustrator. My friend Jacquelyn has an AMAZING course that will teach you all you need to know in illustrator to get started designing for your Glowforge quickly! You can find more info and sign up here: File Maker's Academy


Happy Forgeing!!




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