Is there an idiot's guide?

As I begin to submit my first post, I will put it out there right now that I feel so lost trying to navigate the tremendous amount of resources available. I need an "Idoit’s Guide to owning a Glowforge. So, keep that in mind as I ask what mind be “mindless” questions.

On Friday, Feb 2, 2018, “Glowlocity” arrived. I eagerly awaited as the UPS delivered the boxes. Although the boxes did not survive the trip (locks broken, rips and tears), the unit seemed to have survived the trip with one exception. There was a very, very light oily film over part of the back of the unit. Is that normal? I thought perhaps a tube had broken or was leaking. I went through the unpacking flawlessly. I did not noticed any leaking or drips.

I made the founder’s ruler along with the other items in the tutorials using the Proofgrade materials. Before I finished, I received a “Proofgrade Warning” indicating that the material in the unit was NOT proofgrade. What did I do wrong?

The next day, I anxiously awaiting started her up again, and I have to admit, I felt lost!! Yesterday, I had a “Glowforge” connection on my WiFi, today, it’s no longer there. Should it be there or do I have to load it each time? Once I have gone through the initial setup, is there an icon that is loaded to help begin the navigation process each time I want to use “Glowlocity?” Is there an owner’s manual or tutorial to help me understand the various features of the unit? And how to use them? What programs should I use to begin the creation process?

I assumed all of this information would be available when the unit arrived. Perhaps it is and I just don’t know where it is or how to find it. I purchased this unit to provide an enrichment opportunity for the underserved youth that I mentor each Thursday. Right now, I am feeling overwhelmed with my lack of familiarity with my unit and am starting to feel “buyer’s remorse.” I know I am just freaking out but please help!!

The STEAM Coach

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Chuckle! Deep breath! It’s not difficult at all, but it does take a little bit of time to get comfortable with. (Give yourself a week or so.) :wink:

Can’t help with the oily film, shipping issues, or Wifi…we’re all working around those at the moment and they tend to come and go, depending on factors that I don’t really understand.

The Proofgrade not found error can happen if the machine takes a measurement off of the material - it’s verifying the thickness and giving you a warning so you can check to make sure that the right material/settings are in there. You can ignore it if you actually are using the material shown. (Happens once in a while if there are cutouts in a sheet.)

What I can help with is the using of the software and getting started with the designing, and there are some tutorials that will help. Assuming you’ve gone through the First Prints that Glowforge explains, what I’d recommend reading next, in this order, are the following mini-tutorials:

After that, if you need more design tutorials, there are mini-explanations for all of the major design programs in the Matrix…accessed here:

Hope that helps! :slightly_smiling_face:


I see Jules is answering, so she’ll direct you to the index of tutorials.

I just wanted to say, “Welcome aboard!”

The non Proofgrade warning just means that it didn’t read the QR code. Either lighting was off or perhaps a previous cut had lopped off part of the label. Nothing to worry about. You can always select the correct material from the list by clicking in that rectangle wher it says the material type.


Hi rmelvin06! I can relate - my Glowforge arrived on Tuesday. It can certainly seem overwhelming - there’s a lot to learn. This is also my first post to the forum, although I’ve been lurking occasionally over the past two years as I’ve waited for the laser to arrive.

With regards to the oily film on the back, I’d suggest a quick email to to see what they think.

I also ran into the same problem with the machine not recognizing a PG maple sheet, but I noticed that a highlight from the LED lighting reflected off the QR barcode was preventing my machine from recognizing the material. Once I moved the PG sheet slightly so that there was no highlight, it recognized it. From your photo, it also appears that you have the same problem.

Hopefully someone can address your WiFi problems - I haven’t experienced that.

I see that Jules has posted some suggestions for design process and software- thanks! That will help me as well. I’m trying to adopt a long term perspective on learning how to use the machine. I expect that it will take slow and steady learning and experience to unlock its potential for me.


You haven’t done anything wrong. It’s ok, and you will find all the help you need here! None of us new to lasers and CNC knew ‘how to’ either until the first time.
Those tutorials will help fill in some blanks. Any more questions you might have, throw 'em out here. :+1:

The oily film would prompt me to pay attention to the tube and see if there are any bubbles in it. It is normal for there to be some air in the tube first time you start it up, but you shouldn’t see any more after that.
I would also inspect the interior for more evidence of that film or moisture, particularly on the left side around the coolant tank, and look closely at the tube for any cracks.

A good WiFi connection is needed for good operation. If the connection was dropped you may need to address that.

A post here opens a support ticket, so it isn’t necessary to email support about it, being redundant just slows them down. If there is a problem, the company will take care of you. Customer support has been great.

My bet is that hint of buyers remorse will vanish as you get to know your new tool!



To say “thank you” for this info is truly an understatement. I appreciate you sharing you knowledge and experience. Now I understand the success of Glowforge rests with us as unit owners. “Glowlocity” and I thank you.




Thanks for the wisdom. I will do the inspection as suggested. I will also await support’s response in terms of my help ticket.

I did see bubbles when I started it up although the initial print job was OK. I have been waiting well over 45 min for the WiFi to connect. I can reach all of my normal cast of internet characters but NOT Glowforge.


'Preciate ya.

robert aka The STEAM Coach

With the machine on, you can hold down the big button (about 10seconds) until it turns teal. Turn the machine off, and gently position the head under the camera and turn it back on. See if that connects.

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Here is an example of the “basics” I was referring to in my initial post. I did not know that I needed to go to to sign in once setting up the machine. I do NOT recall reading that anywhere. The light came on as I began reading the tutorials suggested by Jules. As a physical scientist, I have been creating my own “Idoit’s Guide” because this time next year, I want to be as asset to this forum and be able to return the favor.

I am going to put this out here right now. I love you guys. In less than 15 min, my “buyer’s remorse” has rapidly downgraded to neophyte angst. That was all done through this forum. Thank you all for being my new best friends.



You’ll need to sign in to see it, but there is a LOT of great info at as well as the excellent user-contributed materials that Jules referred you to.

Read it. Thanks for the follow up. About the oily film on my unit. Will anyone respond to that?

I love that Freudian slip in this post. You’re not an Idiot, you’re an I-do-it!


@Rita will when she comes up for air…

Thank you all for the fantastic links and help! In addition, any Glowforge user can access the manual by going to @rmelvin06, I see you wrote in to too and we’ve followed up there.

I’m going to close this post. If there are any other questions, please create a new post or email in!