Laser Cutter

3D Laser Printing/Cutting

The Makery has a Glowforge Laser Printer. It can cut, engrave, and score a variety of flat materials of up to 11″ x 19.5″ in width and length, and up to 2″ thick.

Use of the laser cutter is available via a guided appointment. To get started with the laser printer/cutter, make an appointment (select “Laser Cutting”).

Engravings can be done with either raster or vector image files; cuts can only be made with vector path-based .svg files. A staff member will help look over the design and assist with using Adobe Photoshop and/or Illustrator to make sure it is optimized for laser cutting and engraving. You’ll then choose one of the provided materials and load it into the machine while the staff member logs into the Glowforge web app and helps set up the print. 

We provide plywood, hardwoods, acrylic, and leather for free use. Outside materials require special approval by our management, who will determine whether fumes created by the cutting process can be safely handled by our filtration system. This determination can be made much easier if you can provide Safety Data Sheets from the manufacturer of the materials, or can supply us with similarly detailed information about their construction.

Check out the Glowforge manual to learn more.

Safety Considerations

Safety is the number priority while operating and maintaining the Glowforge laser cutter. 

The Glowforge Plus is a Class 1 laser product which has been approved for use by the University. It is deemed not to be directly harmful to human vision, but care should still be taken when viewing the machine while it is in use. 

As a safety precaution, the Glowforge will only operate with the lid closed. Do not attempt to override this feature. Avoid breathing in any smoke, dust, or debris which may cause respiratory issues; it is advisable to give the machine a few moments after the cut is finished to allow time for all loose particles to settle. Always use the attached ventilation system while the machine is in use. 

If a piece of material comes loose or catches on fire while the machine is in operation, DO NOT open the machine lid or attempt to fix or adjust it. In the case of a machine failure which could pose a safety risk, turn off and unplug the machine and the attached ventilation system, cancel the cut in the Glowforge web app if needed, and consult a manager. 

As a general rule, we only cut or engrave surfaces which we can verify the composition of. This means in practice we almost exclusively use Glowforge Proofgrade materials. Other materials require approval by a manager.