Friday, November 27, 2020

From GRAVIT to Lasercut Design for the GlowForge - Getting Started

 The following is the third in a series of posts that I started to increase possibilities for students and teachers using makerspaces in their schools.   The first few blog posts in this series included

While is is possible to use Google Drawing to create ornaments or badges like these,  it does require some hacks or work-around to get an SVG file that your laser cutter can cut. 

The ideal way to approach this tasks is to use software that was designed to created vector graphics and that  can export your creation as an SVG file.    Two of the most popular software tools for designing for laser cutters are Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw.  If you have access to these, you will find lots of tutorials online that can help you use these tools in your maker-space. 
A free alternative to Adobe and Corel's tools for creating vector graphics is the open source program, Inkscape.   The beginning of this Inkscape tutorial does a great job helping you understand vector graphics as well as introduce you to Inkscape. 

However, none of these tools work on a Chromebook. After much research, I have concluded that the best tools for students using Chromebooks to design their own vector files  for laser cutters  (or vinyl cutters) is GRAVIT.  Gravit is a COREL product and  has a FREE and Pro Version.  The Free version is accessible to students on Chromebooks.   Students can even easily sign in with their Google Accounts. Because it is cloud-based, it  also has the benefit of allowing a student to start a project at school and easily finish it anywhere - anytime.   

Note: Your school should  get parental permission to be COPPA compliant when using Gravit with students.  As of this writing,  I have not been able to find a signed student data privacy agreement for Gravit. You can find updated privacy information for this product here.

The first part of  this tutorial will introduce you to some basic features of Gravit that you need to create aa simple badge, ornament, or sun-catcher. 

Start by creating a free account at   I sign in with my Google  account.

This 30 minute tutorial -- Creating a simple ornament or badge will provide an easy project based introduction to Gravit where each of your students can cut a personalized name badge using simple shapes. 


Coming next in this series - Ornament Part 2 - Adding more personalized graphics and fonts to our ornament.

For a great resource on using Gravit with kids, check out John UmeKubo's Gravit tutorials.

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