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ISU Libraries MakerLab: 3D Laser Printing

This guide describes the technology available in the MakerLab.

Get Creative!

How to do a project on the Glowforge:

  1. Schedule time for the project using the button below.
  2. The patron is required to bring their own supplies (see accepted materials below).
  3. Bring the project file on a USB stick and the material to be used for the project to the Eli M. Oboler Library room 335 at the time scheduled.
  4. A library staff member will be in room 335 to help set up the project, provide safety goggles, go over safety rules, and start the project.
  5. The patron must remain in the MakerLab the entire time the project is being processed.
  6. A library staff member will return to the room when the project is finished to collect the goggles and help remove the project from the Glowforge.
  7. Enjoy the project!

Projects should take no more than 2 hours to complete. The patron is required to monitor the project for the entire duration of the cutting/engraving process.

User Agreement

Glowforge Pro

A 3D laser printer is based on laser cutting, a technology also known as a subtractive process. In this process, the material is cut with the help of 3D or tube laser to shape the object as per the 2D design. Because of the extreme accuracy of these lasers, one can manufacture intricate and precise designs with its use. Moreover, the material available for the laser cutting process is also huge. One can use fabrics, composite materials, wood, metal, etc. with laser cutting technology.

Did you know that you have two different choices here? Laser cutting and laser engraving. Both are used for different purposes. Laser cutting cuts the material and laser engraving is used to engrave materials. Using both the processes you can turn your designs into real objects.This manufacturing technology is widely used for prototyping as well as within industries for manufacturing different parts. One can use materials ranging from acrylic to metals. You can choose among cardboard, plywood, MDF and many other materials when working with a 3D laser printer.

Retrieved 07/16/2020 from

GGlowforge Pro 3D laser printer

Due to COVID-19 guidelines and to maintain social distancing, the use of the Glowforge is currently limited to one patron at a time.

Patrons are responsible for providing their own materials (see the list of acceptable materials below).

Patrons are required to wear safety goggles while using the Glowforge Pro. Goggles will be provided by ISU Libraries.

Project size limitations:

  • Maximum material depth: unlimited 
  • Maximum material width: 20″ (515 mm)
  • Cutting area: approx. 11″ (279 mm) deep and 19.5″ (495 mm) wide
  • Maximum material height: 2″ (50mm)
  • Maximum material height with tray: 0.5″ (13mm)

The University Libraries Glowforge Pro is available to all ISU students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Library staff is available to help set up the project on the Glowforge, but the patron is required to monitor the project for the entire duration of the cutting/engraving process.

The Glowforge laser printer is to be used for lawful purposes only. Failure to comply with the policies listed below can result in the refusal of future project requests. No one is permitted to use the laser printer to create material that is:

  • Out of compliance with Idaho State's IT Acceptable Use policy.
  • In violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
  • In violation of the ISU Weapons policy.
  • Prohibited by local, state, or federal law.
  • Obscene, pornographic, or otherwise inappropriate for the University environment.
  • A risk to or endangers others.
  • In violation of another's intellectual property rights as covered by copyright, patent, and/or trademark protections.

ISU Libraries reserves the right to:

  • Refuse any Glowforge project.
  • Photograph all projects. Images may be used for monitoring, marketing, and reporting outcomes.
  • Gather feedback from users.
  • Implement additional requirements not listed here.
  • Stop a project while it is in progress if the patron is not monitoring the project while it is printing.

Commercial use of the laser is prohibited.

Patrons are responsible for providing their own materials.


Can safely print on any laser-compatible material, with examples below. Glowforge recommends Proofgrade™ materials for automatic settings and perfect results. Purchase Glowforge Proofgrade materials.

Cuts & Engraves Engraves Only
wood glass
fabric marble
paper rubber stamps
cardboard stone
plexiglass (acrylic) ceramic tile
Delrin (acetal) anodized aluminum
mylar titanium
rubber corian
cork and more laser safe materials
and more laser safe materials  


Material Danger
PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)/vinyl/pleather/artificial leather Emits chlorine gas when cut                                           
Thick ( >1mm) Polycarbonate/Lexan Cuts very poorly, discolors, catches fire
ABS Melts, Cyanide
HDPE/milk bottle plastic Catches fire, melts
PolyStyrene foam Catches fire
PolyPropylene foam Catches fire
Epoxy Catches fire, smokes
Fiberglass Emits fumes
Coated carbon fiber Emits noxious fumes
Materials with sticky glue backing Coats and cracks lens

Full tech specifications

Glowforge manual



We do provide laser safety goggles for patron use while using the Glowforge Pro.  

  • Certified to UL standards
  • Safety sensors alert in case of bumps or unplanned movement
  • Safety sensors warn in case of overtemperature conditions
  • Safety sensors notify when fan performance changes
  • The Glowforge Basic and Glowforge Plus are Class 1 laser devices with no special training required
  • The Glowforge Pro is a Class 4 laser device and comes with all necessary safety training materials
  • Certified to UL/ANSI/IEC 60950-1-07 and CAN/CSA-C22.2 NO. 60950-1-07 (R16) by TUV Rhineland

Class 1 Laser Safety Notice

Glowforge Pro Class 4 Laser Safety Notice

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