Safe materials

I’d like to present a totally hypothetical situation that has implications on warranty coverage. Let’s say I go to a Glowforge recommended material supplier and purchase a material that’s safe for use in the Glowforge (ie. an inventables acrylic). When I print a design I get a dialog box that says if any damage occurs by using this material, the damage is not covered under warranty. Assume I only used a non-Proofgrade material once, and that printed fine and the machine continued to cut with no issues. Now let’s say at a later point I need to send it in for warranty repair.

Since I used a non-Proofgrade material, did I risk my repair not being covered under warranty?

How do you determine which parts of the machine are damaged by using non-Proofgrade material?

I get scared by that dialog and don’t want to accidentally damage it and I definitely don’t want to use the machine in a manner that will not be covered under warranty.

I’d love to print on materials like the ones shown in the promo video but as of yet there are no Proofgrade versions of those materials (ie. cardboard globe). Is printing on any materials other than Proofgrade essentially at-your-own-risk?

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No, that scenario would be fine. You can put non-Proofgrade materials in the machine if they are safe to laser. If you damage the machine using something that is not a laser safe material, the repairs to the machine will not be covered by warranty.

Vinyl for instance. One of the components can create a corrosive gas that will damage the machine. Repairing that damage is going to be on you.

But other laser-safe materials are fine to cut in the Glowforge. :slightly_smiling_face:



By understanding the chemical reactions that occur between the material and various metals, plastics and glass that make up the Glowforge.

Usually you get this from MSDS (material safety data sheets) if you can obtain them. And if you don’t understand the MSDS, speaking with a chemist or other professional.

Then don’t stick non-certified materials into your Glowforge if you’re unwilling to accept the risk your warranty will be invalidated.


Let’s expand on the idea of ‘risk’. It’s not illegal or against the law or in any violation of your life agreement for you to jump out of a plane. It’s a risk. There may be unintended reactions, there may not be. There might be repercussions if you willingly ignored the risks, and it later gets traced back to your careless use of materials that caused damage. If there is no damage, there is no repercussion. This is why skydivers continue to skydive.


As I recall Dan saying if you use proofgrade and use glowforge settings on proofgrade you are 100% covered under warranty. For it to not be covered under warranty you need to use non-proofgrade materials and those proofgrade materials have to cause the damage. For example, your own material catches on fire and the unit completely burns up or you use something with chlorine in it (think PVC) and the resulting acidic gas corrodes glowforge parts.

And of course, damaging your unit through carelessness (defeating the lid interlock) would not be covered.

But if a stepper motor fails while you have a piece of Inventables acrylic in the bed that is going to be covered.


Basically, yes. The warranty covers manufacturing defects and that’s it*. Any other laser cutter you can get will not cover any damage cause by the material you cut, same as the Glowforge.

*Not completely true. Unlike other lasers, Glowforge’s warranty WILL cover any damage caused by Proofgrade material. Therefore, if you use Proofgrade and it catches on fire using the Proofgrade settings and damages the machine, that is Glowforges bad and its covered under the warranty. I have not heard of any other laser manufacturer doing anything like this.


You received an explicit answer on this from Support. Were you not happy with the answer? Do you seek a different answer that supports your initial concern/interpretation that you are locked into Proofgrade materials or your warranty is null and void?


It was not sufficient. I understand all the responses here but the example was using a laser safe material from a recommended vendor. Basically if you click OK to the dialog that warns about materials and the material does not damage your machine, was a bit flipped on the back end that determines my warranty coverage ability.

Was there any damage to your Glowforge after you ran this hypothetical scenario?

Yes: The material immediately caught on fire and the flames melted my Glowforge head assembly. You’re in violation and out of warranty.

No: The material cut correctly and nothing happened. Congratulations, your warranty is intact.


Thank you. That actually answers my question. If this is the case I recommend not having a giant scary pop-up.

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The company is not going to weasel out of the warranty. Your are worrying about hypothetical situations. A little experience with the machine will ease your fears.
Bottom line is glowforge is extending their warranty beyond what any other manufacturers do by guaranteeing the machine and results with their own materials. One more time, no other manufacturer does that.


I don’t like that pop up either, but their lawyers are fond of it.


Not sure what anyone can do to make you feel better. It’s all very standard legal stuff for a limited warranty. There is both a common sense and a strict protectionist legal interpretation to warranties. So far GF is replacing units for almost any problem. They are not standing behind lawyers on the replacement policy so far. Almost all of the replaced units have used non-Proofgrade materials at some point.

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I’d like this to be confirmed by the company. So I can forge stress free.

Well then you are going to have to post in Problems and Support because staff does not monitor this section. The answer might be worded slightly differently but it will be the same answer as long as the material is laser safe.

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I think what you want is the last paragraph of this post by dan:


This is the best response I’ve gotten. Thank you for not assuming I’m an idiot and don’t understand legal protection and warranties.

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I believe the key takeaway here is that if you use something intentionally designed for CO2 lasers, it will be very low risk – but nothing is ever zero risk.

If you exhibit absolutely zero effort or care about what you attempt to lase, and expect Glowforge to shoulder the responsibility for your choices, that will never happen.

Glowforge believes Proofgrade provides the lowest risk of an unintended result, and they are willing to stand behind it by covering any damage resulting from using it. They cannot make that commitment if it’s not their own product. Any unintended results caused by third party products are not their responsibility.

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Essentially, there are two things to be careful of (not referring to the warranty). Don’t laser anything with vinyl in it, and be aware of the possibility of fire. Those are the most likely candidates for damaging your new glowforge.
Personally cardboard is the only thing I have used that looked like it could catch fire. I have experimented with glass, several types of stone, many different woods not to mention all of the proofgrade offerings. your laser can do some great stuff, so you should start enjoying your new tool - and don’t forget to share all the neat stuff with us!:sunglasses:

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“Totally hypothetical…”

Gotcha. :wink:



I had a small fire with corrugated cardboard. Lots of curvy vectors in a small area. I’ve read enough to know that cardboard is a risk, so I had a damp paper towel on hand. Opened the machine, smothered the roughly inch-square spot where the flames were. Didn’t do that again.

I’ve also had some destructive charring with closely spaced cuts on plywood – not really flames, but the roughly half-millimeter strip between the two cuts wasn’t there anymore. This is why you don’t leave the GF unattended while zapping.:hushed: