This guide provides resources for using the Hunterdon County Library's Glowforge Laser cutter/engraver. A second Laser cutter is planned for the Headquarters Makerspace, currently under construction. Both machines are free to use after an initial training session. Materials used for personal projects are purchased by the patron. All materials must be laser safe, and approved by library staff before using them in a laser cutter.
Access to our makerspaces occurs during location-specific Open Hours, which are designated times the rooms are open for patrons to come in and use the machines. Staff is present to "check out" machines, answer questions, and assist patrons.
Using the lasers in our spaces requires a "badge." There are important safety guidelines, procedures for use and material requirements that are very important to know before using the lasers. Please visit the Badging tab on the left of the screen for information on how to complete the badging process.
The Glowforge laser can be reserved by making an appointment during Maker Equipment hours. If it is your first time using the laser a librarian will meet with you for a review of the safety procedures, answer any questions and get you certified to use the machine.
Brand: Glowforge Basic
Location: North County Branch Library 2nd Floor
Material Size - what will fit
The Glowforge is a laser cutter that can cut, score and engrave. You can do precise designs using a vector graphics programs like Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop . Other compatible programs include CorelDraw, GIMP, Autodesk 360 & Sketchup. You can import JPG, PNG, SVG, or PDF files to print, or put your own pen and ink drawing into the Glowforge to be scanned and replicated.
Everyone using the Glowforge laser cutter must be familiar with the safety guidelines in the Glowforge Safety Manual. Knowing this info is extremely important for your safety, our staff and the other patrons of the library.
Please read and ask library staff any questions on the following during your certification to use a laser cutter.
Glowforge safety Guidelines:
Do not put anything inside the Glowforge that is not laser compatible.
Do not stack materials; for example attempting to cut two or more sheets of material at a time. Multiple sheets are more likely to burn.
Clean out leftover bits inside the Glowforge unit when it builds up
Do not leave things on, or around the Glowforge.
Do not touch the head or arm of the Glowforge unit while the power is on. If you do so by accident, turn it off, then back on again to prevent the possibility of damage.
Do not try to service, repair, or modify the Glowforge unit
In the event of an emergency or malfunction, unplug the power cord on the back of the unit
When a print is complete, certain materials, like plastics, can remain hot. Allow them to cool down before touching them.
While in use
Never leave the Glowforge unit unattended while operating - always stay within sight.
Only operate the Glowforge unit when the filter is attached and turned on. If there is an odor check the fan level on the filter and turn it up higher if possible.
Some materials cause more smoke & fumes than others. To prevent smoke and fumes from escaping the unit, wait for fumes and smell to dissipate before opening the lid. This can take up to two (2) minutes after the job is complete.
Look inside frequently; the flame should move with the laser. If there is a lasting flame inside the Glowforge unit that does not extinguish when the laser has moved past:
Pushing the Teal button on top right will pause the print.
Opening the lid stops the machine
Pull the plug on the back of the unit if needed.
If flame continues and it is safe to do so, extinguish the flame with the fire blanket or a wet towel.
If that is not an option, when it is safe to do so, fire extinguisher. - Locate both the fire blanket and fire extinguisher before beginning the print job.
If the fire cannot be extinguished, or if it spreads outside the Glowforge, call 911 and evacuate the building.
Because the operation of this machine is a severe fire hazard and can cause real damage to the building and personal injury the consequences are very severe. If you are found to be not following these safety procedures, you will be denied access to this piece of equipment.
Coming soon to the Headquarters Makerspace. Learn about the construction going on now here:
There are some terms that you'll see frequently when working with the laser.
SVG Acronym for scalable vector graphic. This is a common file type used with lasers
Class 1 The Glowforge is a class 1 laser. It's safe to look at.
Digital Caliper The tool used to measure the thickness of material. When using any material not made by Glowforge the setting for the thickness needs to be put into the Glowforge App.
Uncertified Material This is the term Glowforge uses for any material put in the laser that isn't made by Glowforge.
314 State Route 12, Bldg. #3
Flemington, NJ 08822