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A laser cutter is a prototyping and manufacturing tool used primarily by engineers, designers, and artists to cut and etch into flat material. Laser cutters use a thin, focused laser beam to pierce and cut through materials to cut out patterns and geometries specified by designers. Apart from cutting, laser cutters can also raster or etch designs onto work pieces by heating up the surface of the workpiece, thus burning off the top layer of the material to change its appearance where the raster operation was performed.

Laser Cutting/Engraving Glowforge graphic
Glowforge Plus


The Glowforge Plus is a desktop laser engraver and cutter that is intended for home and office use. It’s compatible with a wide range of materials, including leather, wood, acrylic, glass, fabric, cardboard, and can even engrave metal materials like anodized aluminum and titanium.


  • Glowforge exterior: 965 x 527 x 210mm
  • Air filter exterior: 965mm x 527mm x 178mm


  • Maximum material depth: 455 mm
  • Maximum material width: 515 mm
  • Cutting area: 279 mm deep / 495 mm wide
  • Maximum material height: 50mm
  • Maximum material height with tray: 13mm


  • Cutting and Engraving: Wood, fabric, leather, paper, cardboard, plexiglass, Delrin, mylar, rubber, cork, sandpaper, food, etc.
    1. Wide Angle Camera: Mounted on the lid, provides a view of the entire printable area, accurate within 0.25″ (6mm)
    2. Macro Camera: Mounted on the head, provides extreme up-close information for autofocus, accurate within 0.004″ (0.1mm)Engraving Only: Glass, marble, rubber stamps, stone, ceramic tile, anodized aluminum, titanium, etc


  • Wide Angle Camera: Mounted on the lid, provides a view of the entire printable area, accurate within 0.25″ (6mm)
  • Macro Camera: Mounted on the head, provides extreme up-close information for autofocus, accurate within 0.004″ (0.1mm)


  • Laser Type: CO2 Laser — Custom CO2 glass laser tube capable of continuous operation at 10,600 nm; rated at 45 watts
  • Fixed Alignment: Factory calibrated optical system
  • Sealed Optics: Enclosed optical path with cleanable and replaceable windows protects the laser optics


Materials for Cuts & Engraves:

  • plywood
  • hardwood
  • leather
  • rubber
  • EVA foam sheets
  • acrylic (plexiglass)
  • sandpaper
  • cardboard
  • fabric
  • canvas
  • mylar
  • tile
  • cork
  • food
  • paper

Materials for Engraves only:

  • glass
  • rubber stamps
  • devices (like a laptop)
  • ceramic tile
  • anodized aluminum
  • titanium
  • stone
  • marble
  • corian

Some plywoods and hardwoods emit hazardous fumes when cut, either from the wood itself being burned or the glue that was used to hold together the layers of the plywood. Genuine leather is safe if it’s veg tanned, but not if it’s chrome tanned.

Items you NEVER want to cut with a laser:

  • PVC including Vinyl and Pleather (emits chlorine gas)
  • ABS (emits cyanide gas)
  • HDPE/milk bottle plastic
  • Fiberglass
  • Coated carbon fiber
  • Materials that reflect the laser (Chrome or Copper)
  • PolyStyrene Foam or PolyPropylene Foam

Proofgrade materials are a great way to get started! Designed and distributed by Glowforge, Proofgrade materials are specially formulated to work seamlessly with your machine. Each Proofgrade material is cut to the precise size to fit your Glowforge and contains a QR code on the corner. The machine will read this QR code to give you easy one-click access to the perfect settings for foolproof cuts and engraving.

Proofgrade materials are available in a variety of colorful acrylics, heirloom-grade hardwoods, plywoods, veneers, and leathers.

Glowforge performs well with many materials 1/4″ and less on a single pass. It can accommodate material as thick as 1/2″, but may require multiple passes or flipping the material over. For engraving, you can remove the tray and insert objects as thick as 2”.

The maximum cutting size for the Glowforge Basic and Glowforge Plus models is 19.5″ by 11″. If you are using a Glowforge Pro machine, the maximum cutting size is 19.5″ and infinitely long through the passthrough slot. (The passthrough slot is 3/8″ and designed to accommodate materials up to 1/4″ thick.)

To make a file for cutting, you can download these software or use them in the MakerSpace:

If you are making a simple drawing with text or basic shapes you do not need to prepare your files ahead of time. We will just show you how to create the file using Glowforge’s design software.