3D Engraving as Proofgrade Prints get Prettier

New Proofgrade presets

Part of the magic of your Glowforge is that you can print without the frustration and hazards of experimental materials and settings. Today, we’re introducing some new Proofgrade engraving presets to make your prints even better. These presets are designed for different kinds of artwork, so each design can show its best.

These are all under continuous development - we’d love your feedback for how they work. Expect more refinements and options to come!


Use the Graphic setting for text, logos, or other images that have large areas of one color. It will give you crisp edges and maximum impact! Clip art, icons, and vector drawings are all great choices for the Graphic setting.

Our design team has worked to bring out the characteristics of each material - you’ll find that in addition to the regular Graphic, some natural materials have other tones, like the Dark Graphic setting, and acrylics will give you a Deep option.

You’ll have best results with text that’s 10pt and above and lines that are 0.01” (0.25mm) or thicker. We recommend converting your image to grayscale using your favorite image editor, then making sure that anything you want to see clearly is medium to dark gray (at least 20%, and more than 40% is recommended).


The key to great photo engravings is your photo editor. You want lots of contrast and liberal use of the “sharpen” effect! If you’re printing on clear or translucent acrylic, you may want to mirror the image (so you can view it from the opposite side) and invert the colors for the best effect.

Once you’ve done that, though, the “photo” setting will get you the rest of the way there. It’s terrific for making family photos permanent, especially on Proofgrade hardwoods, plywoods, and Draftboard.

3D Engrave

It’s finally here! One of the amazing things you can do with your Glowforge is engrave shapes with real depth and detail. You can’t use a regular image for this - you have to use an image that’s been specially created for 3D engraving called a Heightmap. A Heightmap is like a grayscale picture, except that the darker a spot on the picture is, the deeper it will engrave.

Proofgrade hardwoods, acrylics, and Draftboard all support 3D engraving. Thick materials have a second option, “Deep 3D Engrave”, that uses a second pass of the laser to achieve maximum depth.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll do with this!

High Quality Score

High Quality Score setting gives you a clear, consistent line to maximize the visual effect of your artwork.

Draft Score

Use this option when you’re prototyping - the Draft score setting is faster, but it’s lighter in the middle and creates dark spots on corners.

One last note: These new settings will replace the old settings -- but don’t worry, the existing ones will be there for at least a week, and labeled with “(Expiring Soon)”. That way, if you’re in the middle of a project and want to preserve the ones you’re using for later, you can click the arrow at the top of the Proofgrade Engrave or Proofgrade Score menu, then click “Manual” to see the underlying settings & write them down.

Decreasing veneer prices

Prices in the shop vary over the course of time and we usually don’t announce it, but we did want to mention that after working with our supplier, we managed to get rid of the $1 price increase for finished veneer. It’s so attractive and useful (for everything from stickers to wall decor), we think you’ll love it!

Referral code

Our referral program is going strong, and owners are scooping up new referrals every day. A few of you asked if we could make it easier to share. You got it! We got the domain “glowforge.us” just for you. You can see your new, shorter “.us” referral code here:



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The Gift of Good Measure, and Proofgrade settings changes coming

New starter design: “Gift of Good Measure Keychain”

Coming soon to your dashboard - a new starter print! We’re adding the Gift of Good Measure Keychain to the prints you have available. Based on all the love we’ve heard from you about the Founders’ Ruler, we made you a keychain with triple the measuring delight: it measures distances, radiuses, and curves. You can print it on even a small scrap of draftboard or plywood (we recommend against hardwood, since the natural grain may cause the thin loop to snap). It’s a great giveaway to show a guest what your Glowforge can do.
Even if you don’t use it now, make sure not to delete it - if you contact the Customer Success team for help, they may ask you to print it.

New Proofgrade settings menu

We’ve got changes in store for Proofgrade settings. In preparation for adding new Proofgrade settings for our materials, we’ve streamlined the interface to give you a description of each choice and leave more space for new options.


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Spare Parts & Pro Shields

If you’re the type that likes to be prepared for anything, you’re in luck. We now offer spare parts for your Glowforge printer, from fresh laser lenses to pristine packaging for safe transport. You can find them in the spare parts section of the Shop. And yes, you can even purchase additional pairs of the must-have eyewear, Glowforge Pro Glasses.

Extra exhaust spare part Extra pro glasses spare part

Pro Shields

Back in June, we announced that we were developing Pro Shields and adding them to every Glowforge Pro order. Pro Shields fasten onto the Pro Passthrough slots to ensure that nothing - material or laser light - comes in or out. They’re easy to add or remove with just two finger-screws that are permanently attached so you don’t lose them.

In the next few weeks, Glowforge units will start being delivered with Pro Shields installed already. If you have received your Glowforge Pro without shields, no worries - we’ll ship a pair to you at no extra cost to you. (We don’t have an estimated ship date for you yet, but will email you when they’re ready).

Pro Shields

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Simplified manual engraving options

You sent us some great suggestions on how to make the manual photo engraving options easier to use. Thank you!

convert to patterns new dither convert to dots new dither

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Veneer will knock your socks off, Draftboard in the starter pack, and referrals round the world

Veneer is now stunningly pre-finished

For those of you who’ve experienced Proofgrade materials, you probably noticed that our plywood and hardwoods had a beautiful semi-gloss finish applied at the factory. This premium water-based UV-cure finishing coat is applied by high-end industrial machinery. Unfortunately, it can’t be used on our veneer line, which is made of micro-thin flexible slices of real hardwood.

And that’s a shame, since some of our favorite projects are made from veneer - they’re particularly amazing for wrapping your laptop in real hardwood. The 3M peel-and-stick adhesive means they’re ready to use, right out of the laser. But applying finish to them used to be a real pain.

Well, we’ve finally found a process that can deliver that same amazing finish on our Proofgrade veneers. We’re delighted to be able to start selling the finished veneers in the store now (at a slightly higher price) - the unfinished veneers are just about gone.

Veneer finished all Veneer finished maple Veneer finished cherry Veneer finished walnut

Draftboard in the starter pack

As you probably know, every Glowforge comes with $150 of Proofgrade materials as a thank-you for the long wait. We’re shifting the pack contents around to include two sheets of Draftboard and upgrade the veneer from unfinshed to pre-finished.

We’re also adding a third sheet of Draftboard beyond the $150 worth of starter materials, at no extra charge. That sheet is for you to save in case our support team needs you to print on it for troubleshooting. We’ve seen some problems that can only be diagnosed by printing on Proofgrade material, so we want to make sure you have a piece of it if needed. Save this in case our support team asks you to use it for a test print.

International Referrals

Last week, we started sending out notices with each Glowforge where the buyer used a referral code: the referrer gets a $125.00 Glowforge gift certificate good for Proofgrade materials, designs from the Design Catalog, or even a new Glowforge unit! (They can also opt to receive $100 instead). This week, we’ve rolled out payments to our international referrers. So for our referring friends from overseas - thank you for your patience, and keep your eyes peeled for those referral payout emails.

Catalog and Shop: open to the people you invite

No longer will you have to share your precious Proofgrade materials or watch your friends gaze longingly at your chock-full-of-designs Dashboard. Now you when you invite friends to use your Glowforge, they will also have access to the Glowforge Materials Shop AND Glowforge Design Catalog. (Note that you must have access to a Glowforge, either as an owner or as a guest, to use the catalog and shop).

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Design Catalog and referral rewards

By popular demand: the Glowforge Design Catalog has officially launched! Starting today, every Glowforge owner will be able to browse (and buy) a variety of tried-and-true premium designs, created just for Glowforge printers. Look for the Catalog link on the new top navigation bar when you’re signed into the Glowforge app.

Design Catalog Dashboard v2 Design catalog product v2

We’re launching with a range of designs from quick to sophisticated - whip up a batch of dominoes for game night, a personalized wine caddy for your friend’s housewarming party, or a handsome leather wallet or clutch that no one will believe you made yourself.

Excited to build that picture frame or wallet/clutch, but worried about assembling it? Each design in the design catalog has instructions so you can follow step by step instructions on exactly how to build your personalized product. Simply find the instruction button on your workspace, and the workspace drawer will open to reveal step by step instructions.

Design catalog instructions button Design Catalog workspace v2Design catalog instructions Design Catalog instructions details

Of course, our amazing designers will continue to add products of all shapes and sizes, so check back frequently to see new things you can make.

Get Ready for Referral Payments

If you’re one of the thousands of Glowforge customers who shared your referral code, I have some terrific news.

You already know that if someone uses your referral code they get a $100 discount and you get $100. Well, we’re making that better.

Starting this week for US customers (and soon for international customers), every time we ship a Glowforge unit to its forever home, the person who referred that buyer will get their reward. They can opt for the $100 they signed up for, of course. But some of you had a better idea, and we decided to do it.

A $125.00 gift certificate.

That’s right: if you refer someone to buy a Glowforge unit, you can upgrade your reward to a $125.00 gift certificate good for anything Glowforge sells. Proofgrade materials, Catalog designs… even a second Glowforge unit! Just watch your inbox - when their unit ships, you’ll get an email asking you which you’d prefer, the $100 payment or the $125 gift certificate.

Finally, more good news: you can still achieve referrals! You can check on the status of your referrals or grab your link to share by clicking the Referral link on the top navigation bar in the app. Include your link when you post photos of your best Glowforge projects on the web. All your friends who are green with laser-envy can take advantage of the discount, and you’ll rack up even more referral dollars. Win-win!

Thank you, as always, for supporting us - we can’t wait to get everyone their Glowforge!

Fewer print errors

We’re making some fixes to our infrastructure that should reduce or eliminate the errors you might get when you try to upload and/or print large, complex designs. Just more examples of how your feedback is invaluable to help us find and improve our software for everyone.

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More Dashboard room for you to do you

Just one notable change this week: we heard that many of you have tons of designs in your dashboard and wish you had more space to see them all. So, we reoriented the dashboard UI to give you more room to do what you do best: print beautiful things. Of course, we also have assorted bug fixes and improvements.

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Upload improvements... ¯\(ツ)/¯

Paste Instead of Upload

Inkscape users, rejoice! You never need to save your files again. (Note: while technically true this is not actually recommended). Instead of saving SVGs and uploading them, you can simply copy your design with the copy command, go to app.glowforge.com, and hit paste. Boom! Ready to print.

Editing images? No problem. Copy-pasting JPGs and PNGs works too.

Adobe Illustrator? Well… it works in AI 2015, but we’re still working on later versions.

There one catch, though: you'll need to paste into the file upload page, not the workspace that shows the bed image.

Speaking of not being able to add things to the workspace...

Now you can add things to the workspace

You asked for it, and here it is, fresh from the hopper: You can add all supported file types to the workspace with the “Add Artwork” button.

What’s this mean for you? Previously, if you wanted to dress up a design by adding some more files to the print, you were stuck - you could add an engraving, but not more SVG or PDF files. Now, you can load up multiple designs and lay them out on one sheet of material, or throw a cutline onto a trace.

To add your files, you can either drag and drop them directly into the workspace, or click “Add Artwork” and then “Upload.” We’ll work on adding copy-paste to this, too.

Extended Characters support (✿◠‿◠)

Your Glowforge naming options have grown exponentially with the addition of extended characters! This will let our international customers name their Glowforge however they see fit...and give our US customers some amusing options (up to 15 characters). How will you ever decide?!

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