Tech Specs

What's the wattage of the laser tube?

Glowforge has a custom CO2 laser tube operating at 10,600 nm that averages 40W for the Glowforge Basic and Glowforge Plus and 45W for the Glowforge Pro.

What's the optional Air Filter?

The Compact Filter lets you put the Glowforge anywhere. It’s about the size of a recycle bin, and it sits on the ground near your Glowforge, connected by a hose. It does a fantastic job of removing the smoke and fumes from the Glowforge unit and returns the clean and filtered air to the room. That means it’s safe to operate your Glowforge anywhere when the instructions are followed.

In fact, the filtered air from the Compact Filter has significantly fewer particles than typical indoor air. Alternately, you can use your Glowforge near a window with the included hose.

What's the size of the Glowforge bed?

The Glowforge Basic and Glowforge Plus bed can accommodate materials measuring 12” 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.

The Glowforge Pro adds a Passthrough slot to accommodate material that is up to 20.4” wide, up to 1/4" thick, and as long as you want.

What file types does Glowforge read?

Glowforge is compatible with JPG, PNG, SVG, PDF, and other file formats. You can create Glowforge-compatible files from a variety of different software platforms like Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Autodesk 360, & Sketchup - even Microsoft Word and Powerpoint. To print a file, just drag-and-drop it directly on our app, which appears as a web page in your browser. Alternately, you can copy the contents of the file and paste it into the Glowforge dashboard. There, it will automatically interpret the information and show you a preview of the results. You can drag the images around on your material to position them where you want them.

What type of power is required?

Glowforge is designed for world voltages from 100-240 VAC, 50/60hz. On the back is a female connector like those used on the back of desktop PCs (IEC 60320-C14). We may not be able to include the right cable/plug, but those should be widely available locally for a few dollars. You don't need a separate transformer.

What is the difference between Glowforge Pro, Plus, and Basic model?

All Glowforge 3D Laser Printers are quick to set up and easy to use. You can choose to work with hundreds of materials to make the kinds of amazing things that you see on our community forum or Instagram. All our printers come with everything you need to get started making magical things at the touch of a button.

  • The Glowforge Basic is our introductory model, perfect for personal home use.
  • The Glowforge Plus is our premium home offering for the ultimate personal printing experience.
  • The Glowforge Pro is our most powerful and capable model for big projects, businesses of any size, and shared use.

Here are more details to help you choose:

Speed (Pro is fastest.) The Glowforge Pro top engraving speed is 3x as fast as the Glowforge Basic, and cutting is 1.2x as fast. The Glowforge Plus top engraving speed is 2x as fast as the Glowforge Basic.

Warranty (Plus and Pro have 12 months.) The Glowforge Basic has 6 months of warranty coverage, while the Plus and Pro offer a double warranty of a full 12 months warranty.

Material Size (Pro has Passthrough.) All Glowforge printers can accommodate materials measuring up to 18” deep, 20.4” wide, and 2” tall.. The maximum printable area is about 11 x 19.5”. The Glowforge Pro allows you to make enormous oversized prints. The Pro Passthrough slot in the front and back allows for materials that are 20” wide, up to ¼” thick, and as long as you want. That means you can create huge, dramatic products like furniture. To use the passthrough, you print the first 10 inches (25.4 cm), then slide the material through the slot, and repeat.

Laser Class. The Plus and Basic models are a Class 1 laser (like a DVD player). The Passthrough slot makes the Pro model a Class 4 laser which requires the person using it to have laser safety training (included with your purchase). You should not use the Pro in public or around kids without installing Pro Shields, which are included with your purchase.

Temperatures (Pro prints up to 81°F (27°C).) The Pro is designed for printing all day in temperatures up to 81°F (27°C). The Basic and Plus will pause periodically to cool if used continually in warm temperatures; they’re designed for environments up to 75°F (24°C)

Technology. The Glowforge Plus has an upgraded linear system to support faster motor speeds and upgraded optics for maximum cutting capability. The Glowforge Pro has all that and adds a solid state cooling unit and an upgraded 45 watt laser for the fastest possible prints.

If you’d like to compare all of our models, navigate to Glowforge.com/order and choose “Compare Options” near the bottom of the page.

Whichever you choose, you’ll find it’s easy, fast, and fun to get started: within thirty minutes of receiving your Glowforge, you’ll be holding your first finished print.

What are the power requirements of a Glowforge?

The machine consumes 800W peak, but 300W is more typical - in the range of a desktop PC. Electrical costs are similar to running a desktop PC while it’s actually printing (and much lower when no print is occurring). The Compact filter has an additional 350W peak power consumption

Do you have to replace the laser tube?

The Glowforge tube is custom made - it's 850mm and has improvements for longer lifetime and smaller spot size. It's rated for 2 years, and the tube is covered under the warranty. Out of warranty, we'll replace it and realign it for you for $499, including roundtrip shipping within the US. We'll also have a replacement tube parts package available for purchase. Note that these are sold as spare parts only; the replacement tube parts package does not come with instructions.

What is the estimated lifespan of the Compact Filter cartridge?

There are a lot of factors that go into the lifespan of your Compact Filter cartridge. Some of those include how often you print, the designs you print, cutting versus engraving, and whether you follow the directions in the user manual for proper operation. For that reason, it is difficult to predict how long a filter cartridge will last.

To estimate, we tested Proofgrade materials with a standard Glowforge test print. It is 11 minutes long (the average duration of a Glowforge print, and is a mix of cutting engraving that reflects typical usage). If used only for cutting, cartridge life may be roughly half as long. If used only for engraving, it may be more than twice as long.

Note that we have only tested, and can only recommend, Proofgrade materials. Materials from other sources may work just as well, but some materials may clog the cartridge almost immediately. For example, MDF products (including Proofgrade Draftboard) will dramatically lower your filter cartridge life.

mats

What are the dimensions of a Glowforge?

Work Area:

  • Maximum material depth: 18" (455 mm) for Basic and Plus; unlimited for Pro
  • Maximum material width: 20″ (515 mm)
  • Cutting area: approx. 11″ (279 mm) deep and 19.5″ (495 mm) wide
  • Maximum material height: 2″ (50mm)
  • Maximum material height with tray: 0.5″ (13mm)

External dimensions:

Glowforge Unit:

  • 38" x 20.75" x 8.25" (965mm x 527mm x 210mm)
  • 55 lbs (25 kg)

Compact Filter:

  • 16.14” x 10.43″ x 16.92″ (L410 x W265 x H430mm)
  • 48.5 lbs (22 kg)

Shipping dimensions:

Glowforge Unit:

  • 45" x 28" x 16" (1168mm x 737mm x 406mm)
  • 70 lbs (32 kg)

Glowforge Accessory Pack:

  • 29" x 20" x 5" (737mm x 508mm x 127mm)
  • 40 lbs (8 kg)

Compact Filter:

  • 23" x 20" x 13" (584mm x 508mm x 330 mm)
  • 54 lbs (24.5 kg)

Glowforge Founder's Proofgrade Materials:

  • 23" x 3.5" x 13" (584mm x 89mm x 330mm)
  • 15 lbs (7 kg)

What do I need to know about the Pro model’s Class 4 safety rating?

The Glowforge Pro is a Class 4 laser. That means someone needs to be assigned as a “Laser Safety Officer” (LSO). The LSO makes sure your Glowforge Pro is used safely. We’ve worked with Pat Harris of Kentek Laser Safety University to provide training materials, included free, so you can be a responsible LSO for your Glowforge Pro.

The LSO training we provide recommends safety precautions to create “Class 1 conditions”. These safety precautions include using Proofgrade materials or Pro Shields. When Class 1 conditions exist, the Glowforge Pro does not create any additional laser safety hazards.

The Glowforge Pro should only be used in public or around children when the Pro Shields are in place.

For advanced users who create their own laser safety plan, additional safety precautions such as signs and the included laser safety glasses may be required.

How does the passthrough slot on the Pro model work?

The passthrough slot on the pro is 3/8" high but is designed in concert with the tray to work best with materials up to 1/4" thick. The material is cut or engraved. Then you push it forward, load a new file for the next part of the print, and repeat.

How do I vent my Glowforge?

The exhaust connection is a standard 4" exhaust vent, similar to what one would use with a clothes dryer. Your Glowforge comes with an 8 foot exhaust hose to use for outdoor venting. You need to have a window or 4” dryer connection within 8 feet.

Can you vent without an Air Filter?

The Compact Filter lets you use your Glowforge anywhere in the home, school, or office. The size of a recycle bin, it cleans the air coming out of your Glowforge. If you don’t use a Compact Filter, your Glowforge comes with everything you need to vent through a window.

How fast can the Glowforge complete a project?

Cutting speed depends on many things:

  • The 45 watt Glowforge Pro cuts about 20% faster than the 40 watt Plus and Basic.
  • The faster the laser moves, the more power is required.
  • Thicker material requires more power and more time. Twice as thick takes more than twice as long to cut through.
  • The chemical composition of the material makes a huge difference. Some 1/4" plywood cuts quickly; some 1/8" plywood is impenetrable.

This is why we offer Proofgrade™ materials - we want you to have consistent materials where you know that you can cut through every time, and you know how long it will take. If you use your own materials, you will need to do some experimentation.

For engraving, speed depends on two things:

  • How fast you move the laser head - slower makes the engraving deeper and, in some cases, darker.
  • How big the area to be engraved is. The head must move over the area to be engraved, and while Glowforge is smart about setting its path, two dots an inch apart will take longer than two dots right next to each other.
  • Your Glowforge Model: the top speed of the Glowforge Pro is 3 times faster than the Basic, and the top speed for the Glowforge Plus is 2 times faster than the Basic.

The average print takes about 12 minutes. The longest prints - full detailed engravings that cover the entire bed - can take up to 3 hours.

What is the accuracy/dot size of the laser?

The X/Y axis motors can position the beam to within 0.001", which allows the laser to engrave with 1,000 DPI resolution. The laser beam engraves or removes material in a circular pattern. The diameter of the circle is about 0.008”, but if you’re cutting, the width of material removed - the “kerf” - varies from 0.008” - 0.025”.

Can a Glowforge etch a glass or wine bottle?

Glowforge accommodates items up to 2" tall with the tray removed and can focus over a 0.5" distance. If you have something that will fit inside, like a spice jar or a hip flask-sized bottle, then it can engrave over the curved surface without difficulty.

If you need something engraved on all sides, however, then unfortunately Glowforge will not work.

However, you can cut a stencil, then use an inexpensive sandblaster to engrave the bottle. You can see an example on the community forum.

What are Glowforge's engraving capabilities?

Glowforge engraves at about 1000 dpi, with a spot size of about 0.008”. It can vary both the speed and power of the engraving, changing the visual appearance of the material and removing more or less. It can engrave multiple passes, removing a little more each time. It can change focus with each engraving pass, enabling it to engrave more accurately, more deeply.

It can even engrave where each pixel is assigned a different amount of laser power. To accomplish this, you use a greyscale bitmap. The darker the pixel, the more power the laser will use when engraving it. This allows engravings with variable depth, like this engraved pyramid on the community forum.

How loud is Glowforge?

The sound level varies because Glowforge changes fan speed based on the operation being performed. It can vary from a low rumble to a loud vacuum. You can also opt for slower cutting rates to keep the fan noise down.