Changing from wood to food

Hi, so I have been using the Glowforge for some time for cutting wood and plastic. I’ve decided to change and now want to use it to cut food. Is there any specific way I should clean the machine or when cutting food should I cover the food with cling film etc… any advice please.

Once you’ve used your machine to cut both woods and plastics, it has been permeated with all kinds of really nasty toxic stuff that settles all over everything. (So once you use it for other things, it’s strongly recommended by Glowforge that you not try to use it to cut or engrave food.)

(Having said that, it’s your life. If you want to take the chance…go look through the Beyond the Manual section for tips. Glowforge isn’t going to give you any advice on how to do it.)


I don’t think there’d be a way to clean the machine well-enough for food. Imagine the tiny specs of melted plastics that are hiding in the machine. On the other hand, to each their own. If you don’t mind it, go for it. I’ve done it myself. Doesn’t mean it was a good choice. But I’m still here.

I imagine burning through that stuff releases something harmful. But you’d want to check with the specific wrap you use.


Unfortunately, the only advice we can give is that you should purchase a Glowforge that is dedicated solely to food if you intend to consume the food.

I’ve moved this post to the Beyond the Manual in case you would like to continue the discussion there.

The cling film won’t work or be safe as it would probably just melt onto the food. So if you want to do a quick test run to see if it’s feasible, give a really thorough cleaning of every surface and then cut a few things to see how it goes. I would never give something made from a used machine to other people, but I’ve cut and tried a few things myself. I can tell you they tasted like chemically burnt crap though. You may have better luck with different food though.


Hmm… I’m thinking there must be some sort of protection I could use for the food that wouldn’t let the smell, fumes or dust through… obviously after cleaning that is.

Ok I’m gonna give it a go and get back to post later when I get time. Thanks

The Glowforge pro cost me a good £7.5k but I’ve not been able to do much with it although there’s a lot I can make but not much market that would buy. I can only sell online really but it’s like your searching for a needle in a haystack.

Now I know the Glowforge stinks atm. Let’s see, il try something when I get time

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Thanks, could I ask what you tried cutting? The only thing coming to my mind is chocolate but I could give you a review of what you tried… If it works for me or not.

What did you try? Did you try chocolate? Did it taste bad because it was used for wood before or because of the laser beam? Isn’t it supposed to be usable with food so why the burnt taste?

Since Averly moved your post:


I cut some gingerbread and it tasted very burnt with an acrid aftertaste that was reminiscent of creosote and cut acrylic. The burned part was from from the heat of the laser having to cut though the ginger bread and I can only assume the acrid taste was from all the previous material I had cut in it. And yes, it’s usable with food and it did an amazing job on my gingerbread house, but the laser is a serious heat source that can scorch things just like any cooking tool. I’m sure most of my issue with the burnt taste was just from having to cut through such thick/tough material though so it wouldn’t necessarily be an issue with other food.


Oh thanks some really good ideas there. Will have to take some good time out to clean the machine up. When I manage to cut something il post it here :+1:

Wow that looks awesome… it’s a shame it was stinking. Need to try covering with something and see if smell reduces

What I learned in all those attempts: laser + carbs = rancid, laser + fat = tasty


The laser burns through materials. No matter what you cover it with, you’re burning the food itself, at least a little. And if you cover it with something, you have to burn through that as well. Whatever that is will get on your food, so that defeats the purpose of covering it.


Lol I hope so il have to try that too. I find it a big hassle and long job cleaning the machine thought. Feeling lazy

Yeah… I guess I don’t want the smell from the machines to get to the food but obviously somehow it will especially once it’s cut through hmm… will have to see. Have you tried foil? Anyone?

It’s not the smell that’s the issue. It’s leftover dust and debris. And that blows around.

The laser is not going to cut through aluminum foil.

If you’re going to do it, clean as best you can, put it on a clean laser-safe surface, and hope for the best. But I wouldn’t serve it to guests or anything.


Yeah I’m thinking of taking the tray out and clean it? Is it possible to wash. I have already once but there’s screws that can be opened. Any advice on that?

I know regardless of cleaning it still won’t be clean enough but il give it a try