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The Shop Equipment and Technology

Information

Wood cut and etched on a Glowforge laser cutterLaser cutting is available at The Shop which houses a 40W Glowforge Basic and a 40W Glowforge Plus, which uses a beam of light the width of a human hair to cut, engrave, and shape designs from a variety of materials.

The Glowforge Basic 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. To print a file, just drag-and-drop it directly in app, and then adjust the preview to your liking. 

Note: All patrons must complete the Glowforge Laser Cutter Certification class before using the Glowforge. The Glowforge is only available for use by patrons 18+.

Accepted Materials

The Library does not supply materials for the Glowforge.

Patrons must confirm that their materials are compatible with a CO2 laser.

Accepted Materials

Materials appropriate for use in the Glowforge are dependent on the job that the machine will do.  Due to the weaker power of an engraving, more materials are allowed for this than if the Glowforge is set to cut through a material.   

  • Materials must be ¼” (6mm) or thinner for a cut job
  • Materials up to 2" can fit into the bed, but must only be engraved

Library staff must approve all non-Proofgrade material. We reserve the right to refuse material if we deem it to be unsafe or inappropriate.

Please note: The Shop does not allow the use of MDF (including Proofgrade Draftboard) in the Glowforge.

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
Anodized Aluminum No Yes
Rubber Stamps No Yes
Titanium No Yes
Stone No Yes
Corian No Yes
Slate No Yes

 

Prohibited Materials

Material Type Danger
PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride), vinyl, pleater, artificial leather Emits chlorine gas when cut
Polycarbonate/ Lexan more than 1mm thick Cuts very poorly, discolors, catches fire
ABS Plastic 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 
(meat, seaweed 'nori' sheets, cookie dough, bread, tortillas, etc...)
The laser is not designed to cut food. Organic items can create poisonous/noxious substances such as wood smoke and acrylic smoke.
Material with Sticky Glue Backing Coats lens, cracks lens

 

Glowforge Safety Certification Class

Glowforge Laser Cutter Certification Class: Learn everything you need to know about creating files for the Glowforge laser cutter and using the machine.

This class will go over the basics of laser cutting, safety procedures and the required software (Inkscape). Students will then be required to design and successfully cut a simple .svg file.

Prerequisites: Basic PC skills; previous knowledge of design software is recommended.

Addtional Resources

Glowforge Manual - A manual for the Glowforge Laser Cutter.

Glowforge Safety - Safety information about the Glowforge Laser Cutter

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

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 things.

BoxMaker - Plug and play online software to make an assortment of hinge fitting boxes.

LinkedIn Learning - Use it for Free with your Library card and PIN: Learn business, software, technology, and creative skills to meet your personal or professional goals. Engaging, top-quality video courses taught by recognized industry experts, organized by skill level and subject. Learn a whole course or just the section you need.

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