Laser Cutter

Use software to design and cut, score, or engrave a variety of materials—available during staffed sessions in the Main Library Creative Studio.

Glowforge machine with a phone stand and key ring sitting on top

Using the station

Ready to get started? Patrons ages 14+ can work on self-directed projects. Children ages 13 and under require an adult caregiver. Please read the laser cutter specs and guidelines below before:

Studio A Open Hours

3-7 pm1-5 pm1-5 pm1-5 pm12-5 pm

Laser cutter guidelines

  • The Glowforge is an introduction to computer number controlled (CNC) laser cutting for hobby-level experiences. 
  • Use of the Glowforge must be supervised by a Creative Studio staff member at all times.
  • Users are expected to engage in the design and planning of their own projects and can request staff assistance when ready to cut their project.
  • Laser cutter projects should not take longer than 25 minutes to complete. Longer projects may be required to be broken up into smaller sessions.
  • During Creative Studio Open Studio Hours, the laser cutter is available only for use for the first three hours of the session. Use will be first come first serve during the session.

Glowforge Pro specs

  • Has a CO2 laser.
  • Has a HEPA air filter exhaust.
  • Has these material size limits:
    • Maximum material depth: 18 inches (455 millimeters)
    • Maximum material width: 20 inches (515 millimeters)
    • Cutting area: approx. 11 inches (279 millimeters) deep and 19.5 inches (495 millimeters) wide
    • Maximum material height: 2 inches (50 millimeters)
    • Maximum material height with tray: 0.5 inches (13 millimeters)
  • Accepts .svg, .jpg, .png, or .pdf formats.
  • A trace and cut function (draw by hand and the Glowforge will scan your art for etching and cutting).

Approved materials

Library-provided material is available to users; up to 7 by 7 inches (49 square inches) of material can be used for free within a 60-day period.

Additional material may be brought in by users for use in the Glowforge as long as the material is on the approved materials list (see below). All provided materials must be Proofgrade* material from Glowforge and must have an intact QR code to be approved. Proofgrade materials must not exceed 12 by 20 inches.

Approved material types include:

  • Proofgrade acrylic
  • Proofgrade light plywood
  • Proofgrade thick plywood
  • Proofgrade hardwood
  • Proofgrade veneer
  • Proofgrade leather

Not approved materials include:

  • Non-Proofgrade materials (due to safety reasons)
  • Proofgrade draftboard and medium plywoods (in order to extend the life of the air filter)

*Proofgrade materials are laser-safe guaranteed materials from Glowforge and can be ordered directly from the Glowforge website or purchased from crafts stores such as Michael’s or JOANN Fabrics.

Additional limits & restrictions

  • The library reserves the right to refuse any laser cutter project.
  • The library’s laser cutter may not be used to create weapons or materials that:
    • Are prohibited by local, state, or federal law.
    • Are unsafe, harmful, dangerous, or that pose an immediate threat to the well-being of others.
    • Are inappropriate for the library environment in accordance with library policies.
    • Violate another person’s property rights. For example, the printer will not be used to reproduce objects or materials that are subject to copyright, patent, or trademark protection.
  • The library will not be liable for functional failure of, or injuries or property damage caused by, objects or materials made through the use of our laser cutter. We strongly recommend that the laser cutter not be used to make objects that could prove harmful or that would result in significant cost to the user if they fail.

Exploring more: Design resources & learning aids

  • Has easy-to-use templates and project ideas that can get you started designing custom items. Free accounts have access to some templates and tools; pro accounts have access to all tools.
  • Inkscape: Free vector graphics design software that can be used to create designs for use with the laser cutter. Download and install to use.
  • Glowforge’s browser-based app. Premium tools and the project catalog are available for use during Creative Studio Open Hours, but users also can make a free account and export projects to bring in from home.
  • Ponoko: Free laser cut project files that can be downloaded to use. Ponoko also offers a service that will cut the items and ship them to you if you don’t wish to use the library laser cutter or if the project is larger.