Any ideas for an "anticipation kit"?

I’m one of those investors who didn’t really know much about laser engraving, but was charmed and intrigued by the product and went ahead and bought one. My daughter and I (she’s nine) are really eagerly anticipating our Glowforge.

Any ideas about what we can read, study, etc. before the Blessed Event? Software we should brush up on? Books or blogs we could read?? Materials we can stock up on before it arrives?

Also, ideas on what we should do to prep our workroom?


Inkscape is probably a good place to start without knowing what software you might already be using. There are tons of YouTube videos on lasering all kinds of things. There are tutorials on Epilog’s and Laserbits’ sites. And, of course, there’s a ton of information right here in these forums.

I’ve got a 19yo daughter, 11yo daughter, and 8yo son. None of which know we’re getting a Glowforge or even have any idea what a laser cutter/engraver is or what it might be good for. But I know we’re going to have a lot of new creations in our house very soon.

  • Tom

Hi, welcome!

You have a lot of thing you can do an learn in the meantime, here is a thread about softwares

Talking about materials, different kind of woods, veneers, plastics (avoiding pvc and vinyls) are a good start. Also cardboard and foam board, depending on what you want to do with your GF.


The more active members here have well, been more active. Click the magnifying glass at the top of the screen and try a few searches. I think you will find everything you are looking for.

Here is a very brief summary.

Learn some type of graphics package that does SVG files. Inkscape if free as a download.

Well, I see @thomas.alessi.jr typed the rest of what I was typing so see above.


Keep an eye on the forum over the next couple of months sondra - some of the folks who are more familiar with the various design programs are planning to put together some very basic beginner tutorials for a couple of different things that you can try, and as far as engraving…that information will come with the Glowforge in the User’s Manual, and it’s super simple. They will actually walk you through several basic projects to get you started.

If you want to start downloading some free files and fonts to try on the machine, start by following the links in these threads, and download and save as many as you are interested in, to get ready for when the machine arrives:


I’ve been preparing the Glowforge Nursery for quite a while now. I’ve masking-taped off the area on the desk where it will go so that I know I’ll have room (faq has dimensions of the machine and filter). I have storage cabinets from Ikea which have large, shallow drawers for storing flat materials like 1/4 inch proofgrade wood, paper, etc.

I’m planning to make boxes, so I’ve been watching lots of youtube tutorials wrt to making laser cut boxes, gluing finger joints, etc. and I plan to invest in band-clamps and finger joint cauls

k, too many things to list, so I’ve made my “for Glowforge” amazon list public:

I agree with all the others wrt learning vector graphics software. I’m using Inkscape which is free and there are tons of youtube tutorials out there.


also, check out
I want to buy pretty much everything they sell. :heart_eyes:


Here is a good set of links compiled by some of the forum members.


Be warned !! Once you go down this rabbit hole there’s no turning back !! Every time you go out you’ll look at items and think " Is that laserable… could I personalize that… will that fit in the GF… I could totally make that…" You’ll start hoarding cardboard, wood pieces, pinterest tabs… This forum will stat to eat away at your waking hours…

It’s great !!! Ask questions - look online for almost infinite information and ideas. :relaxed:

PS you may develop a squeeee :squee:


Spend the bulk of your energy learning how to design objects from scratch using any type of drawing program. Inspiration comes in many forms and you will have lots of creative ideas, but making them a reality from a design standpoint is what takes the most time for me. It can be a 2D program or you can just start with a 3d program. A practical skill is how to make outlines of large letters that you can make a sign or a stencil.

A good quality digital calipers is essential if you plan on using anything that is not ProofGrade from Glowforge, but also for designing things from real world materials.

Some utility knives and box cutters and craft cutters.

A black Sharpie.

Some white paper.

Some ceramic magnets, 3/4"

Some wide masking tape.

Some chipboard, which is a heavier weight type of paper often used in packaging. A lightweight form are the sleeves that 24 cans of soda come in or Kleenex boxes.


Thank you!


Out of curiosity, why ceramic magnets over, say, Neodymium?


You’ll need both, but larger rare earth magnets are a pain sometimes to move around. They work well for holding down thicker material. I use the ceramic ones to act as stops around the edges of small pieces. They hold enough to keep them from shifting, but are easier to take on and off. The other day I used a combination steel flat bar and two 1/2 neodymium magnets. I got a third one stuck to one of the magnets and like to never got them apart off the bed with the steel fortifying things.


I was testing a 1/4" cork roll sheet the other day that curved up. Here is the hold down that worked fairly well. In this case the rare earths were necessary.


Oh, that’s nice… :smiley:


Very clever!


Oh, that’s really smart!

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Sorry the cork was curved :blush:

Didn’t really make any problems. I have a couple of the flat bars and more magnets so I could get the whole sheet flat.