• Resources


    Here are links to plans, ideas and tools to get you started using our laser cutter.


    Project Plans

    Thingiverse - Thingiverse offers Creative Commons licensed plans for laser cutting and 3D printing projects.  Project plans are free to download, but searching can be a bit of a chore (try terms "laser cut" or "lasercut").  Be sure the project was made on a laser cutter and not a 3D printer.


    Instructables - Instructables has a huge library of DIY projects and how to's (Mr. Poser has even published a couple).  Step by step instructions and resource files for laser cutting are provided.


    Inventables - Inventables sells 3D milling/carving machines and materials, but many of their projects can also be completed on a laser cutter.


    Glowforge Forum - Lots of ideas from other Glowforge owners are posted in the "Made on a Glowforge" and "Free Laser Designs" category of the use forum.


    Pinterest - Uggh... Pinterest has tons of project ideas, but the social media interface and lack of working links/appropriate citations makes finding source files difficult.


    Rob Ives - Rob Ives sells plans for laser cutting, 3D printing and folded paper animations.  But he also offers some free designs, lessons, and videos of how laser cut machines might work.



    Inkscape - We can turn just about any picture, drawing, or sketch into cut or engraving on the Glowforge.  But if you want to design with very precisely planned cuts, you'll need to create a vector image.  Inkscape is free powerful software for creating vectors.  It's already downloaded on all of the school computers, but you might like a copy on your home computer.  Go to "Help" and "Tutorials" to find great instructions on how to use it.


    Woodgears - A Canadian woodworker, Matthias Wandel, made this nice generator for designing simple gears.  He has a fancier, more powerful downloadable version we will be looking into purchasing.


    Glowforge App - Glowforge uses an online application interface for printing.  Right now, only Mr. Linhart and I have access to our machine.


    Box Designer - Instant plans for finger-jointed laser cut boxs built to your input specifications.


    Mechanical Motions

    Make: Understand 1,700 Mechanical Linkages - Retired Vietnamise engineer Duc Thang Nguyen has documented and animated over 1,700 mechanical movements.  This Make article has links to his YouTube channel and downloadable PDF indexes.


    Hummingbird Laser Cut Mechanisms - Hummingbird sells robotics kits, but many of their robots are built from laser cut cardboard for which they provide free plans, videos, and detailed instructions. 


    Mekanizmalar - Simple animations of different types of mechanical movements.


    Gear Design

    Woodgears - Matthias Wandel does a nice job explaining how gears work and as useful links to related pages.


    Sculpteo - This blog post from instustrial laser cuter Sculpteo explains how gears and cogwheels work and provides tips for how to laser cut them.


    Design Inspiration

    Hand-Cranked Drawing Machine


    Laser Cut Stained Glass Windows


    Laser Cut Wood Relief Sculptures


    Laser-Cut Planes



    We can cut just about anything that burns up to 1/4 inch thick: wood, plywood, leather, cardboard, paper etc.  We have to be careful with plastics.  Some such as vinyl release toxic fumes, others melt and make a mess.  Glass can be etched but not cut.  No metals.  Flat is best and the max thickness to fit in the machine is 2.25 inches.


    The easiest materials to cut are the Glowforge Proofgrade materials (owner login is required).  The machine has pre-programmed settings for these materials (no need to test and calibrate) and they are coated in a paper to prevent scortch marks.  See Mr. Poser if you are interested in these.


    Otherwise, thin materials from Inventables, local harware stores, or industrial suppliers such as McMaster Carr can be used.