September 2, 2023
*This blog post may contain affiliate links that help me earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. Read my full disclosure here.*
In the world of modern crafting and design, the Glowforge Aura 6W diode laser has emerged as a game-changer. With its precision cutting capabilities and user-friendly interface, this remarkable machine opens up a world of creative possibilities. Whether you're a seasoned maker or a curious beginner, the Glowforge Aura's ability to cut an array of materials is sure to spark your imagination. In this blog post, we'll delve into the materials that the Glowforge Aura can cut, igniting your inspiration for projects that go beyond the ordinary.
Proofgrade Materials by Glowforge are protected and formulated to be cut perfectly by your craft laser. They are made to work with all of the Glowforge family line up of lasers but the Aura in particular will not work with every Proofgrade material, which we will dive into later.
They come with a protective film which also has a generated QR code on it, your Aura can read these codes and set the perfect settings for the material. Takes all the guessing out of it.
Now this isn't saying you cannot use non-Proofgrade materials, you definitely can. But the ease of these is definitely nice.
Proofgrade materials include hard wood, leather, acrylic, and plywood, ranging in colors.
This seems like a given, but anything not sold and branded with the Glowforge Proofgrade codes etc, is a non-proofgrade material. So all your basswood from Amazon, clipboards, pencils, the list goes on and on.
The Aura has a max height for cutting at 1/4 inch and engraving at 3/4 inch with the plate removed. Now, also to state the obvious, you don't have a QR code for the clipboard from the dollar store and your pencils so you do have to play with settings. As someone who is just getting going in the laser world, I have been playing and guessing. Sometimes I hit it and sometimes I miss but hey, it's that the fun in creating. I make educated guesses by the type of material - for example my clipboard is about the thickness and texture of light basswood. Test out a small piece of your material before going all in. Cardstock too - they have a setting for 85lb pound but I also testing glitter and used the same settings.
Please as a disclosure - stay near your machine and be cautious, it is a laser and their is always a chance of a fire.
Keep in mind, you want to use materials that are laser safe, and even though something might engrave, score, or cut or even if you have a filter, there is still a chance of harmful chemicals going into the air or fire. Safety first crafty friends.
The Glowforge Aura excels at cutting various types of wood, including light plywood (≤ 3mm for cutting), and Proofgrade hardwoods like maple, cherry, and walnut. Whether you're crafting intricate wooden jewelry or personalized home decor, the laser's precision ensures clean edges and intricate detailing that would be difficult to achieve with traditional tools.
I have personally cut both Proofgrade woods and basswood from Amazon and the Dollar Tree and have been happy with all of the outcomes! Just be patient with yourself if you are adjusting any settings.
As for time with wood cutting - obviously all will depend on time and how intricate the design is but I have had some pieces cut in under 10 minutes and come up to 30-45 or more. Engraving will take longer - just prepare to be patient and work on another craft during this time.
This versatile material is a favorite among many creators. The Glowforge Aura's laser precision lets you cut intricate shapes, create custom signage, or design unique acrylic jewelry pieces with ease. The ability to achieve polished edges directly from the laser cutter saves time on finishing work.
The biggest question asked is does ther Glowforge Aura cut clear acrylic and the answer is no. The Aura is a diode laser so it's capabilities for acrylic are Proofgrade in teal, black, red, orange, green and purple. These are all dark acrylic colors. You can also use opaque but again, darker colors. From what I have heard, no pink, blue, or light pastels. No translucent either. This is a big thing to keep in mind, if you are looking to expand your business and want to incorporate acrylic items, you are going to be limited here.
Cut time and engraving for acrylic is going to be longer than wood, so again work on some other crafts while this works its magic.
Leathercraft enthusiasts will appreciate the Glowforge Aura's ability to cut intricate designs on leather. From leather patches and labels to delicate accessories, the laser cutter ensures that your leather projects are as refined as they are imaginative. Just keep in mind if you are not using the Proofgrade leather, you do need to use laser safe or a laser ready brand. You don't want anything going off in the air to harm you, your family, or your pets.
So far, I have only tested felt and I have to say I was a little scared... Make sure its laser safe, same as everything else. I used the cardstock setting and it does leave a burned edge but cut very nicely. Cut time is quick but I would stay away from trying to engrave this....
Invitations, greeting cards, and paper art reach new levels with the Glowforge Aura. Its ability to cut intricate designs out of paper makes it an ideal tool for creating eye-catching decorations and personalized stationery.
Cut time is quick depending on your design however, you may be left with some burn edges. I used the preset 85 pound cardstock and when I used 60 pound, I turned down the settings.
Artists and model makers will appreciate the Aura's ability to cut foam and foam core materials. Whether you're building dioramas, architectural models, or foam-based props, the laser's precision simplifies the process. I was able to test out my silicone Apple Watch bands and with a little tweaking had a successful engrave!
The Aura is also capable of cutting and scoring HTV and Glowforge makes their own Proofgrade version that you can purchase. In terms of cutting, if you want to cut and not have to weed be prepared for a long cut time, however - you can score much quicker!
From woodworking to crafting, the Glowforge Aura's 6W diode laser cutting capabilities span a wide range of materials, unlocking unprecedented opportunities for creativity. Its precision and versatility empower creators to transform ideas into tangible works of art. Whether you're a hobbyist, an entrepreneur, or an educator, the Glowforge Aura invites you to explore the boundaries of your imagination.
The Glowforge Aura's 6W diode laser is a remarkable tool that can cut a diverse array of materials, making it a must-have for anyone looking to take their creative projects to the next level. Its precision, ease of use, and versatility ensure that your designs come to life with immaculate detail and professional finesse. So, fire up your Glowforge Aura and embark on a journey of limitless artistic exploration.