Glowforge 101: How to Use a Laser Cutter


The Glowforge is a really cool piece of equipment and very user-friendly, but there are a few things you need to know to operate it safely.

In the first half of the class, we’ll cover the safety checklists you should always follow when using the laser, what materials are laser-friendly, how to format files for the Glowforge User Interface (GFUI), as well as how to use the GFUI.

In the second half of the class, you’ll have the opportunity to use the Glowforge with supervision on a project you’ve brought with you or a starter project (a Decatur Makers key chain fob with your name on it).

This class assumes students have some vector design software on their computers. Inkscape is a good free option and the one the instructor is most familiar with. The class won’t cover how to do vector graphics, but the instructor may be able to help with some basics during the second half of the class. The GFUI is browser-based, so no additional software will be needed, but students will need access to an email account. Decatur Makers members will receive a login to the Glowforge system, but non-members will have to interface through the instructor’s computer.

Min age: 12 years old - adult

Max number of students in the class: 8


= $25 for non-members of Decatur Makers (for more info and to join, click here (

= FREE for members of Decatur Makers (please pay here, and you will be reimbursed after the class if you attend. No-shows won't be reimbursed unless they change their RSVPs to Not Going at least 2 days beforehand)

The instructor, Kevin Arne, has more than a decade of experience in workshops making everything from bookshelves to knives. When he's not making stuff, he's tutoring high school students and helping teachers incorporate more maker projects in their classrooms.