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Glowforge Laser Cutter

How to design, create, and safely use the Glowforge at the Erie County Blasco Library Idea Lab.


The Glowforge is a laser cutter that can cut or engrave a material using a high-powered laser to create complex designs. The Glowgorge allows you to cut, score and engrave on a variety of materials.  It allows you to engrave using a .jpg or .png file and cut/score using a .svg file. You can even put your own pen and ink drawing into the Glowforge to be scanned and replicated. 

What You’ll Need

  • An ECPL library card with an Idea Lab Sticker. 
  • To take the Glowforge Certification Class. Visit the event calendar to see in-person class availability or take the online class here. 
  • File in .svg, .jpg, .png, or .pdf format saved to a flash drive or cloud storage.
    • You can create SVG objects in free software like Inkscape or paid software like Illustrator, which is available on all computers in the Idea Lab.
  • Material
    • Bring in your own material. Material must be approved by library staff, please bring in a receipt or tag stating what the material is made of. See the Approved Material Page for more information. 


Learning resources on this Maker Guide:

Glowforge Safety - how to operate the Glowforge in a safe manner. 

Approved Materials - lists which material you can use with the library's Glowforge and provides a list of suggested vendors to purchase materials from. 

Glowforge Interface- learn about the Glowforge interface, manual settings, and the image trace feature.

Designing for the Glowforge – learn how to use design software, Inkscape or Illustrator to create files that can be used with a Glowforge. 

Projects - offers a few beginner level projects to help you get started.



Glowforge Policies 

1. Patrons must have an Idea Lab sticker to use the Glowforge.
2. Patrons must become Glowforge certified to use the machine. 
3. Patrons cannot print dangerous objects or any objects that break the Library's Code of Conduct.
4. Library staff must approve any materials placed in the Glowforge. You must provide a receipt or tag that states what the item is made of.
5. Patrons are permitted two 2-hour sessions per week. Extra time may be granted if available.
6. Projects need to be finished before the Lab closes.
7. Patrons must stay and watch the cutting or engraving of their project for the entirety of the process. 


 General Idea Lab Policies 

To use the equipment in the Idea Lab, you will need a valid library card in good standing.

  • A signed Idea Lab Agreement is required of all users and visitors to the Idea Lab Makerspace and Media Lab. Exception is given to individuals or groups on staff-lead tours of the space.
  • Users (or if minors, their parents/guardians) are responsible for any fees incurred for loss or damage to ECPL property, not associated with normal wear and tear, that is the result of inappropriate or unauthorized use of tools, equipment, or consumable materials, or for clean-up of the tools, equipment or the space. ECPL is not responsible for any damage to, or loss or theft of, users’ personal property including electronic files left on ECPL computers.
  • Equipment and tools in the Idea Lab are available at no charge to library card holders, generally on a first-come, first-served basis during open hours.

At its discretion, staff reserves the right to disallow the use of any tools, equipment, or consumable materials, or to halt, delete, or disallow the creation of items that violate any library policy. Projects must be approved by staff prior to use to ensure that proper file format, size and materials are being used. Approval to use the Idea Lab does not constitute endorsement by ECPL of the uses to which the space is put or the products produced therein.


Made with the Glowforge