This guide provides resources for using the Hunterdon County Library's Glowforge Laser cutter/engraver. and Boss Laser cutter/engraver. The BossLaser 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 are present to "check out" machines, answer questions, and assist patrons.
Using the lasers in our spaces requires certification, we call it a "badge." There are safety guidelines, procedures for use and material requirements that are very important to know before using the lasers. Please visit the " Getting Certified to Use a Laser" page for information on how to complete the badging process.
Currently, the Glowforge laser can be reserved by making an appointment during Monday Maker Equipment hours (click on the appointment button) 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
Brand: Boss 1630 70 watt Laser
Max design size: 15.75 x 29.50
Location: Headquarters Library
Laser cutters can cut, score and engrave a variety of laser safe materials. Designs can be imported into the Glowforge Interface App (Glowforge Laser) or Lightburn Software (Boss Laser) from your favorite 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,. The Glowforge Laser also lets you put your own pen and ink drawing in to be scanned and replicated. The Boss Laser has the addition of a rotary attachment for laser engraving round objects.
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.
Boss Industries ⚠Laser Safety & Policies⚠
First and foremost, BE CAREFUL. Laser machines are a powerful tool and the proper precautions should be taken, just as if you were working with any other high-powered tool or machinery. These machines are designed to cut and engrave with highly focused heat energy and can be dangerous.
You should never leave your machine unattended while it is in operation and do not let an inexperienced or unfamiliar person operate your machine at any time. Always keep any access covers on and keep the top lid closed whenever the machine is in operation. Avoid any direct exposure and do not stare at the laser beam while the machine is operating. Notice and understand all the warning labels located on your machine.
The following safety measures must be strictly enforced and be abided by to ensure the safety of the machine and the individual operating it. BossLaser, LLC shall not be held responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from improper use or dismantling of the laser machine.
• NEVER operate laser machinery unless you have been properly trained.
• ALWAYS use protective eyewear (preferably wraparound goggles);Or keep the lid closed.
• ALWAYS be sure to keep the exhaust fan running while the machine is in use.
• NEVER set anything on top of the laser and/or on the worktable while not in use.
• NEVER leave the laser unattended while it is running. This will ensure that you are able to see or hear any abnormalities / potential hazards.
• ALWAYS maintain the machine’s environment free of heavy pollution, such as strong magnetic electrical interference.
• NEVER use unapproved or unsafe materials, such as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or any materials that emit noxious gases. These gases can cause harm to your central nervous system
• NEVER operate the laser near flammable or explosive substances. The UV light beam that is emitted is not visible and poses a fire hazard.
• NEVER lift the lid oft he machine while it is running
. • NEVER engrave or try to cut reflective material, the laser beam can reflect and deviate (bounce around) which can cause blindness or serious injury, requiring medical attention
. • NEVER push or pull the laser head and its gantry while the laser is running.
• NEVER dismantle the laser machine, this can disrupt the laser and its high voltage/pressure parts. This can cause harm or injury
. • ALWAYS clean out the collection tray(s) to prevent accidental hazards.
⚠ In Case of a Fire
1. Press the EMERGENCYSTOP button located above the LED Panel
2. Lift the lid.
3. Quickly blow out the flame(s), a Co2 fire extinguisher for serious flames
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 with the protection provided when the top is closed.
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