Frequently Asked Questions


  • Glowforge Laser Cutter: Choosing Between Raster/Engrave, Score, and Cut Options

    1. Raster/Engrave

    What is Raster/Engraving?

    Raster engraving, often simply called engraving, is the process of removing the top layers of the material to create a detailed image or pattern. The laser head moves back and forth, line by line, like a printer, gradually building up the image.

    Best Uses for Raster/Engraving

    • Detailed Images: Ideal for detailed work like photographs or intricate patterns.
    • Text and Logos: Perfect for engraving text, logos, or other graphic designs.
    • Surface Detailing: Great for adding surface details to a larger piece without cutting through the material.

    Things to Consider

    • Time-Consuming: Raster engraving takes longer than scoring or cutting.
    • Material Depth: Different materials will engrave at different depths. Test on a small area first.

    2. Score

    What is Scoring?

    Scoring is a lighter version of cutting. The laser traces a line on the material's surface, creating a shallow cut that doesn't go all the way through. It's like drawing with the laser.

    Best Uses for Scoring

    • Outlining: Perfect for creating outlines of shapes or text.
    • Fold Lines: Ideal for marking where to fold on materials like paper, cardstock, or thin wood.
    • Decorative Details: Adds aesthetic lines or borders without the depth of engraving.

    Things to Consider

    • Depth and Visibility: Score lines are less visible than cuts or deep engraving.
    • Material Thickness: Scoring works best on thinner materials.

    3. Cut

    What is Cutting?

    Cutting is the full penetration of the material. The laser follows a path and cuts all the way through, allowing you to create individual shapes or parts.

    Best Uses for Cutting

    • Shapes and Parts: When you need to cut out shapes or parts from your material.
    • Complex Designs: Ideal for intricate designs that require precise, clean edges.
    • Layered Projects: Perfect for creating components to be assembled or layered in projects.

    Things to Consider

    • Material Limitations: Not all materials can be safely or effectively cut.
    • Thickness: The effectiveness of cutting depends on the material's thickness and the laser's power.


    Selecting between raster/engrave, score, and cut depends on the specifics of your project. For detailed surface work, engraving is your go-to. For light, surface-level detail or marking fold lines, scoring is ideal. And, when you need to cut out shapes or pieces from your material, cutting is the operation to choose. Always consider the material you are working with and the desired outcome of your project. Experiment with small samples first if you're unsure. Happy crafting with your Glowforge Laser Cutter!

Table Saw

  • How to use Bypass Mode for Wet or Damp Wood

    The SawStop safety system may activate when cutting wet or damp wood, as it conducts electricity similarly to a human body. To prevent this, you can use the bypass mode, but exercise extreme caution as the safety system will be disabled.

    Activating Bypass Mode

    1. Check Material: Ensure the wood is not excessively wet. Bypass mode should only be used for minimally damp wood.
    2. Engage Bypass Mode: 
    • Locate the bypass switch or key. This may vary depending on your SawStop model. With the start/stop paddle in the off position, turn on the main power and wait for the red LED to turn off and a solid green LED light to stay on. This indicates that the safety system is currently on and ready.
    • Turn the bypass key (located on the right side of the control box) and hold it in the turned position until the green LED is blinking on and off.
    • Still holding the turned key, flip the start/stop paddle to the on position. The blade will start spinning and you’ll see the red LED blink once. Continue holding the key until the green LED remains on and steady (this should take another two seconds).
    • Release the key. 
    1. Confirm Bypass Activation: The green LED will begin blinking slowly again while the blade continues spinning. This indicates that bypass mode is active and the safety system is disabled.
    2. Conduct a Test Cut: Perform a test cut with a piece of scrap wood to ensure the saw operates normally in bypass mode.

    Safety Precautions in Bypass Mode

    • Extra Caution: Remember, the safety system is disabled. Use heightened caution.
    • Use Push Sticks/Blocks: Always use push sticks or blocks to keep your hands away from the blade.
    • Avoid Distractions: Stay focused and do not allow distractions while the saw is in use.

    Deactivating Bypass Mode

    • Turn Off Saw: Once you’re done cutting the damp wood, turn off the saw.
    • Disengage Bypass Mode: Switch off the bypass mode using the same switch or key.
    • Safety System Reactivation: Ensure the safety system is reactivated before proceeding with normal operations.