Laser Cutter

The Glowforge Plus laser cutter is available for community member projects. The Glowforge Plus is a Class 1 laser product which contains an embedded Class 4 laser. The Glowforge Plus bed can accommodate materials measuring 18” x 20.4”. The maximum printable area is 11 x 19.5”, and it’s reduced somewhat when the laser operates at high speed, as it can take space for the laser to decelerate. There’s a tray for materials that are up to 0.5” thick, or the tray can be removed to accommodate materials up to 2” thick.

You can design with any software that saves a PDF, including choices like Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Autodesk 360, and Sketchup. Glowforge can print JPG, PNG, SVG, PDF, and other file formats.

Project Photos1

Materials

Patrons using the Glowforge are encouraged to use Proofgrade materials, which are guaranteed to work well with the Glowforge. A variety of Proofgrade materials are available for patrons to purchase to use. Patrons can also purchase Proofgrade materials directly from Glowforge here.

Patrons must confirm that any outside materials are compatible with a CO2 laser. Digital Library staff must approve all non-Proofgrade material. We reserve the right to refuse material if we deem it to be unsafe for use in the machine.

Accepted Materials

Thickness varies by material. The Glowforge can cut some ½” (13mm) hardwood and acrylic; for best results, ¼” (6mm) or thinner materials are recommended. Digital Library staff must approve all non-Proofgrade material. We reserve the right to refuse material if we deem it to be unsafe for use in the machine.
Material Type
Cuts Engraves
Wood Yes
Yes
Acrylic (cast or non-toxic)
Yes Yes
Cardboard (with supervision)
Yes Yes
Cork Yes Yes
Leather Yes Yes
Paper Yes Yes
Fabric Yes Yes
Glass
No Yes
Ceramic Tile
No Yes
Marble No Yes
Anonidzed Aluminum
No Yes
Rubber Stamps
No Yes
Titanium No Yes
Stone No Yes
Corian No Yes
Slate No
Yes

Prohibited Materials

These materials are never allowed in the Glowforge, as they may cause damage to the machine, or endanger the user.
Material Type
Danger
PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)/Vinyl/Pleatehr/Artificial Leather
Emits chlorine gas when cut
Thick (>1mm) Polycarbonate/Lexan
Cuts very poorly, discolors, catches fire
ABS Melts/Cyanide
HDPE/Milk Bottle Plastic
Catches fire and melts
PolyStyrene Foam
Catches fire
PolyPropylene Foam
Catches fire
Epoxy Burn/Smoke
Fiberglass Emits fumes
Coated Carbon Fiber
Emits noxious fumes
Any Foodstuff
The laser is not designed to cut food, and people cut things that create poisonous/noxious substances such as wood smoke and acrylic smoke.
Material with Sticky Glue Backing
Coats lens, cracks lens

Additional Resources

Glowforge Proofgrade Materials - Link to purchase Proofgrade materials for use with the Glowforge.

Glowforge Safety - Safety information about the Glowforge Laser Cutter

Glowforge User Manual - Link to the most current version of the Glowforge User Manual.

Inkscape - A free and open source professional vector graphics editor.

Thingiverse.com - MakerBot’s Thingiverse is a thriving design community for discovering, making, and sharing 3D printable and laser cuttable designs.