Tech Specs

What's the wattage of the laser tube?

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

What's the optional Air Filter?

The unique Glowforge Air Filter lets you put the Glowforge anywhere. It snaps right under your Glowforge. The filter captures all of the exhaust and passes it through fine particulate and charcoal filters. It's also tightly integrated with the software, so the filter turns on and off as it's needed. Alternately, you can use the Basic model near a window with the included duct.

What's the size of the Glowforge bed?

The Glowforge Basic bed can accommodate materials measuring 18” 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. 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 & the Basic model?

Our flagship Pro model is designed for frequent or shared use, like a small business or maker space. The Pro uses premium optics and a higher power 45 watt laser tube. This allows the Pro to cut as much as 20% faster.

The Pro has an upgraded linear system to enable faster motor movement. It also features a solid-state thermoelectric cooler coupled with a closed-loop liquid cooling system that allows for longer prints without pausing for cooling in temperatures up to 81°F (27°C), compared to 75°F (24°C) for the Basic.

The Pro Passthrough lets you print enormous things: 19.5" wide, then as long as you want. You cut or engrave the first 10", then slide the material through the passthrough slot, then repeat.

Note however that while the Basic model is a Class 1 laser (like a DVD player), the passthrough slot makes the Pro model a Class 4 laser, which does require laser safety training (included with your purchase) and cannot be used around kids. Should you decide you’d prefer to use your Pro around children or in public, though, we’ll include a set of Pro Shields that seal the passthrough slot.

Finally, the Pro offers a double warranty - 12 months instead of 6.

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 air filter has similar power requirements, and automatically turns on and off as needed.

How often do I replace the Air Filter? How much does it cost?

It's difficult for us to predict how often your filter cartridge will need to be replaced because it depends not just on how much you use it but on the material you use. Hardwoods aren't very taxing but plywood might be, depending entirely on the glue (which is usually hard to figure out). It's varies a great deal, with light users pushing past a year between changes, and heavy users who are cutting nonstop changing them as often as every month or so.

When you do need to replace the filter cartridge, though, Glowforge will notify you. It's a custom filter cartridge and we're working on pricing, but we expect it will be less than $250.

Do you have to replace the laser tube?

The tube is covered under the warranty. Out of warranty, we'll replace it and realign it for you for $499, including roundtrip shipping in the US. We'll also have a replacement tube part available for purchase.

What are the dimensions of a Glowforge?

Work Area:

  • Maximum material depth: 18" (455 mm) for Basic; unlimited for Pro
  • Maximum material width: 20″ (515 mm)
  • Cutting area: aprox. 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 Basic & Pro:

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

Glowforge Air Filter:

  • 38" x 20.75" x 7" (965mm x 527mm x 178mm)
  • 25 lbs (11 kg)

Shipping dimensions:

Glowforge Basic & Pro:

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

Glowforge Basic & Pro Accessory Pack:

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

Glowforge Air Filter:

  • 46" x 29" x 12" (1168mm x 737mm x 305 mm)
  • 40 lbs (18 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 the Basic model?

The exhaust is a standard 4" exhaust vent, similar to what one would use with a clothes dryer. You can see an example of one at Home Depot.

Both the Basic and the Pro come with an included exhaust hose to use for outdoor venting.

Can you vent the Pro without an Air Filter?

The air filter sits underneath the Basic and Pro version, capturing the exhaust and processing it. If you decide not to use the filter, you can simply remove it. You can run up to 8' of 4" diameter dryer hose to vent it out a window. All models come with a hose that you can use for outdoor venting, and we sell replacement hoses at shop.glowforge.com.

How fast can the Glowforge complete a project?

The easiest way to get a sense of the speed that Glowforge prints is to look at glowforge.com at the pictures of projects, each one of which has a print time. Just in case you'd like more detail, though...

Cutting speed depends on many things:

  • Pro cuts about 20% faster than 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 will be selling 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, cutting 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.

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.