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Usage and Safety

The Glowforge Plus is a 3D laser printer that can cut and engrave a variety of materials. It is available to current UAH students, faculty, and staff. 

Those wishing to use the Glowforge will be responsible for designing or finding a design they would like the Glowforge to make. Makerspace staff will provide assistance in sending the design to the printer, and only Makerspace staff will run the machine. Users will also need to provide their own materials, and all materials must be approved by library staff. The materials will either need to be in their original packaging or have a tag or receipt identifying what the material(s) is made of. Please see the columns on the left side of the screen for a list of approved and unapproved materials. Located below is a list of retailers that sell Glowforge compatible products and other Glowforge safe materials. 

Materials must be no larger than 12.5 in tall, 20 in wide, and 0.5 in thick. Materials larger than 0.25 inch or 0.6 cm thick may require multiple passes or flipping it over when cutting. 

Flat materials will work in the Glowforge. Rounded objects such as pens or small bottles will also work if they’re 2 in (5 cm) or shorter when laid on their side. 

Purchasing and Recommended Materials

Some materials and brands will work better in the Glowforge than others. Proofgrade materials are highly recommended. These materials are created by Glowforge for use in the machine and are guaranteed by the the company to work well in the Glowforge. These can be purchased from Glowforge, Michaels, and select other retailers. 

Other brands are still acceptable. Any materials that say "laser compatible" or similar should work in the Glowforge. When using non-Proofgrade materials, it is highly recommended to bring in extra material for testing, as some setting adjustments and test prints may be necessary. 

The following retailers sell some materials that are safe for use in the Glowforge (please note that not all materials they sell may be safe; look for any that match the approved materials listed above or that say “laser compatible”) 

  • Inventables: recommended by Glowforge
  • Lowes, Home Depot, and other hardware stores
  • Dollar Tree
  • Joann’s, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and other craft stores
  • Smokey Hill Designs
  • The Ring Lord: Anodized aluminum tags
  • KW Laser Supplies: includes recommended Glowforge settings for each item
  • Cerulean Tides
  • GS2 Awards
  • CM Designs
  • Craft Closet
  • RCS Blanks

Creating and Finding Designs

Glowforge is compatible with JPG, PNG, SVG, PDF, and other file formats. There are a variety of software programs you can use to create compatible designs, including Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Inkscape, Canva, CorelDraw, GIMP, Autodesk 360, and Sketchup. Once you've created your design and saved it in a file format compatible with Glowforge, your design can then be uploaded into the print app. 

Additionally, you can use the Glowforge print app to trace artwork on an item and cut or engrave it on other items. To trace artwork, simply place it in the Glowforge and use the built-in Trace option. The artwork can then be cut or engraved into other items using the Glowforge.