Proofgrade materials


Peace men! I didn’t ask a question that way. :wink:

Personnaly, I understand both point of view but the common order for a glowforge team’s answer with threating to cancel is not my cup of tea. I’m steel enthusiatic but nospam’s question are not totally foolish for people who don’t know much about lasercutter and choose Glowforge for simplicity promises. I explain:

  • It wouldn’t be possible to provide table of settings because product are very variable from supplier to supplier and even batch to batch? So proofgrade will also be variable batch to batch. and settings won’t change.

  • I work in food industry. Materials used are natural ones, very variables. But we have settings to transform products. Those settings are adaptable to materials but there are settings to not reinvent the world each day. Why would it be so impossible to have approximative settings for common materials. Not a guarantee of success but a start to adapt?

  • If those settings are available easely elsewhere, it will be easy for Glowforge to copy/paste or what is the specificity that makes it impossible with Glowforge?

  • As a reminder, Glowforge is marketingly sell as a easy to use object that even a child can cut anything, even chocolate. Will there be proofgrade chocolate ? Or will there be an approximative setting for chocolate? :joy:. If just proofgrade material are easy to use, what is the difference between it and a basic chinese laser cutter

  • And I understand also the argument that proofgrade are made for me (a total beginner in lasercutting). But I m overseas and for now, I have no idea how proofgrade material will be available in my country.

  • And at last, I don 't see any glowforge in “flesh”. I can’t see or have a pre release Glowforge. So I have no idea what’s the interface looks like, the level of difficulty to determine settings with it. So as a complete newby, I m searching for answers to know if I will be able to use glowforge if I can’t find proofgrade material.

I don’t write often in the forum but I read it a lot and I don’t remember (tell me if I m wrong) that introduce the way that interface works on Glowforge. Maybe it s confidential for the moment? But if not, I m curious to see how easy or not is the interface.

As a conclusion, Glowforge with duty and shipping costs are a very expensive purchase for me and so I try to be reassured that my skills are compatible with this magic tool.

Sorry, I don t know if my english and my questions are not very understable.

And be my guest if someone can share some answers to my questions

Take care.



Not really, we are told the GF has a smaller spot than most tubes, so should cut a bit deeper. Also the better optics in the pro mean more light gets to the target, so again it should cut better than a cheap 45W machine if they exist.

It doesn’t seem like it is rocket science to find a setting with trial an error though.


I appreciate your clear and detailed perspective on this issue, especially the observation that sometimes the refund/nuclear option/take your toys and go home response is invoked before addressing the substantive issues that are brought up in the post.

I myself was a bit put off by the all/or nothing manner of Some of the interventions. It’s difficult to respond to the reasons of the post when the tone of a post is so inflammatory.

How would one craft a hypothetical response to a concern that the company chooses not to offer suggested settings for non-Proofgrade materials?

There was some rather robust discussion on the forum over a year ago regarding concerns about the future capacity for a Glowforge to process non-Proofgrade material. We want to avoid a Keurig scenario.

From my own reading up on lasers in the last year and a half it seems that testing and working out custom settings are a given on any laser.

I understand that the OP seems to be concerned that there be an easy starting point for folks who have a Glowforge and need to process custom material. That is a very valid point. It does seem reasonable to expect the company to provide some basic starting settings for non-Proofgrade. My guess as to their reticence is based on safety and liability and responsibility and focusing on making the user experience as simple as possible for the largest number of people. Yes, they would like to see Proofgrade as a dependable revenue stream. Can’t blame them for that. Just as long as they don’t lock the user into their materials. I see no indication that 1.0 is going to do that.

At this time they choose not to do something like this. What they have chosen to do is provide quite a few prerelease Glowforge that have been given free rein to process whatever is possible and safe. They have also been clear that they are constantly upgrading and tweaking the software and that what works today might not be valid for the future.

So here is a good task for the community of users to work this out. Where should we start with non Proofgrade?


To be clear it wasn’t the @marc.simon1 post that set an all/or nothing tone. His original post, question and english were just fine.


Marc, those are very good questions.

No one is threatening to cancel the order, except the person who posted the original question.
(And if the original person who posted the question wants to cancel, that is his decision. We have to respect that.)

1. The reason that Glowforge will not post starter settings for materials that they do not control the manufacturing of, has to do with liability. The lawyers have said that they cannot.

Here in the US, people are very likely to bring a lawsuit over anything. Glowforge is a new company that does not have the money yet to fight off lawsuits. So they will not do it.

Other lasers are marketed to people who know how to use them. This one is not, it is going out to people who have never used a laser before. So Glowforge has to be more careful than other laser manufacturers.

2. You can use other materials in the Glowforge, as long as they are laser-safe.

So other manufacturers’ plywood, and acrylic, (and chocolate) can be used in the machine. The only thing that Glowforge will not give you is the guarantee that comes with their products.

And you can perform a few test cuts to determine what those settings are, very easily.

3. I am making video demonstrations and tutorials now to help beginners to understand how to use the Glowforge interface, and will be posting them long before the units ship out to everyone. There is no need to worry about that either.

It is a great laser.


Err - @marc.simon1 is the OP on this thread. @no_spam is the one who got all postal on the subject GF making available lists of typical settings for common materials.

That said, I would really like to hear @dan comment on why they don’t plan to make such settings available. It’s hard for me to believe that liability is actually an issue for GF so far as settings go. If anything, making a list might be reduce liability issues since they (might) have access to the settings selected by a user for any job. If GF got sued, they might be able to retrieve those settings as proof that the user selected inappropriate settings for the material in use at the time of the incident.

However, as @takitus, @jamesdhatch, and others have pointed out it is not at all difficult to come up with settings from other public sources, GF’s PG settings, or one’s own testing so the lack or availability of GF settings is not really an issue for me. I’d still like to read @dan’s input, though.


I use proofgrade settings on other non proofgrade materials ALL the time. Most of them are eerily similar. No big deal. I run a test on them first anyways just to make sure it works well.

I think people are getting too worried. The settings on the net for similar lasers should work for the gf too. I’ve had 0 problems.


Two points here - Proofgrade is a defined standard. As I understand it, the manufacturer has to meet the definitional standard of whatever product they’re making. That means variability from batch to batch should be minimized. At the same time each piece has a QR code. That will identify the material as well as likely the manufacturer and batch. Since the software is cloud based Glowforge can update the Proofgrade settings on the fly - possibly even by manufacturer and batch. That’s what allows for the “use Proofgrade and it will just work” promise.

Other materials are generally not manufactured to a defined and controlled standard. Here in the U.S. plywood is only nominally the size you buy, the types of glues are up to the manufacturer to choose and can change significantly, the interior plies can be almost anything and the piece you buy today may only be the same as yesterday’s in outward appearance only. That’s why we get different results from the same laser settings with the “same” material but from different manufacturers, stores and lots.

One of the reasons laser users like Baltic Birch so much is that there is a defined standard in the EU for that and it’s remarkably consistent compared to a home store’s plywood. The only real issue is the Baltic Birch manufacturing standard wasn’t designed with laser cutting as its intended purpose.

Any settings anyone has for materials that are not manufactured to a defined and controlled standard for laser use are estimates at best.


Sorry about that, @marc.simon1. Fixed where I incorrectly conflated the posts.


no problem.

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I’m afraid that we won’t be able to commit to fulfilling any requirements that weren’t a part of the specifications we’ve shared for the product.

That is mostly true - but not always. For example, some black acrylics (not all) require ~50% more power than others, depending on if they use carbon black as the colorant.

We spend a great deal of time and effort on sourcing so that we can reliably provide great results with every piece of Proofgrade material.

It is not impossible - you can find them all over the internet, and they’re just as good as any guess that we might make. Unfortunately, that’s not very good. No one setting works well for all materials. We won’t provide information that will lead to poor results, especially since that information is already readily available.

Fortunately, it’s very easy for you to enter those numbers yourself when you print.

You can source material from other suppliers that is laser compatible, and with some experimentation, you should be able to print reliably. Other forum members who have been doing this may be able to help.

We can’t find any recommendations for other manufacturers’ materials that reliably produce safe, high quality results.


So can you select or see the proofgrade settings for a material by name, even if you don’t have a piece with the barcode?

I was wondering that as well - but after seeing @takitus 's post ,it appears you can. It makes sense as you will eventually cut out the scan code when using your Proofgrade™. At lease with the current marking - @Dan I believe had mentioned at one point about possibility of using “invisible” codes covering the paper.

As of now you can search for proofgrade and select it. No way to say if this will be there at release.
My life on answering questions is so much easier than beta testers as I’ve only been ask not to reveal one thing. That makes it easy to remember.


You know we all are dying to know now.


Lol, right? Nothing big. Just one of of the many things that you know are coming is in beta mode and they don’t want 10,000 asking about it just now.


If it is in beta and you have a pre-release, how come you know about it?

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perhaps a poor choice of words, not ready for everybody? Anyway, gotta go, nothing to see here…


Hahaha… You can’t drop a bomb and run out now! Better turn off your phone. :slight_smile:


Oh it’s no biggie, just what they’ve been hiding all along…

They really live in a hollow tree and the production line is covered with cookie crumbs… Shhhhhhh!