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The Makerspace at the Health Sciences Library

Glowforge Specifications

  • Cuts and engraves materials including wood, leather, acrylic, and more.
  • Cutting area is 11" x 19.5"
  • Maximum material height is 1/2"
  • Engraving up to 1355 DPI
  • Uses the Glowforge web interface to print imported files including .jpg, .png, .svg, and .pdf file formats.

More information on the Glowforge (refer to specs for Glowforge Basic).


Setting Up and Running Your Print


Add your design to the Glowforge interface

1 Open the Glowforge app and log in using the credentials provided during your orientation. 

Click on "Create a new design" in the upper left corner.


Click on "Upload a file" and select the file you'd like to add. For cutting, Glowforge accepts .svg and .dxf file types. For engraving, you can use a .jpg or .png. 


Preparing files for engraving (.jpg and .png file types)

1 After uploading your file (which may take a few minutes to process), select your Material from the top of the left side bar. Glowforge-brand Proofgrade materials (provided by the library) will be labeled with the name of the Material that corresponds to the menu options. 

If you want to use your own materials, please check with library staff prior to your scheduled booking to ensure the material is safe to use on the laser cutter.
2 Select your file from the left side bar. Once selected you will see three options at the top of the menu, select Engrave (Engrave is usually selected as Default).
3 Glowforge has many settings that can affect the rendering of an engraving, as images must be converted into a grayscale image. Starting with a high-contrast image will yield a more detailed engraving.

Glowforge has three options for rendering the engraving in greyscale: Convert to Dots, Convert to Patterns, or Vary Power. You can either choose an engraving preset (recommended for beginners), or refer to the Makerspace Power and Speed Chart for best results for manual settings that might yield a better result.


Preparing files for cutting (.svg and .dxf file types)


After uploading your file (which may take a few minutes to process), click on your file on the left side bar. (Note: files may be placed as separate objects within your workspace, and therefore appear as multiple items in the left sidebar.)


Once you have selected your file in the sidebar, click on 'Cut', and the displayed workspace image should change from blue, to a red outline showing where the cuts will occur.

For any elements of your design that you do not want to cut, click on 'Ignore.'

3 Once 'Cut' has been selected, the choose a Glowforge preset (recommended for beginners), or manually input settings by referencing the Makerspace Glowforge Power/Speed Chart.


Printing your job


Once you're happy with the placement of your design and your job settings, you can click on the 'Print' button in the upper right corner. 


The laser cutter will run through a few processes to focus the camera and get an estimated print time. When the app says 'Magic Time', you are ready to go!

3 On the Glowforge machine, press the blinking blue button to start your job. Never leave the Glowforge unattended during the printing process. If you need to briefly step away, you can pause your print by pressing the same button, and pressing it again to restart when you've returned.



If the Glowforge is engraving your design instead of cutting, or vice versa:

  Check your print settings on the left side of the menu by clicking on the icon of your design, then verifying that the appropriate option for "Cut" or "Engrave" is selected at the top of the menu.


If the Glowforge is not cutting all the way through:

1 If using Proofgrade materials, double check that you have selected the correct material settings.
2 Under cut settings, increase the laser intensity or number of passes.


If the engraving quality is poor resolution or pixelated:


Try changing the bitmap settings (Vary Power, Convert to Dots, Convert to Pattern).

2 Try increasing the number of lines per inch in the Engraving Settings on the left menu. More lines per inch will give you a higher resolution engraving.


If the placement of your design does not match what you see in the app:


Use the 'Set Focus' feature  located on the main menu to click on your material in the place where you want your design. That will help the camera focus on the correct area and should help with minor placement issues. If issues persist, reach out to library staff for help with a calibration.

Need more help?

 Ask our at our service desk, consult the Glowforge user manual, or the Glowforge Community Forum.