Proofgrade™ Materials FAQ

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What Are Proofgrade Materials?

Proofgrade™ materials are specially formulated for the Glowforge 3D laser printer and give you 1-click access to perfect settings and fuss-free prints. We offer bright, colorful acrylics, heirloom-grade hardwoods, plywoods, veneers, and full-grain leathers sourced with the highest quality standards.  

Take a look here for the full rundown on why we love Proofgrade™ and a list of available sizes, colors, and prices. You can also peruse the community forum for some great examples of what magical things people are making with Proofgrade™.

 

Can I Purchase My Own Masking?

Unfortunately, we don't have the protective layer available in our shop. 

Since we can’t support material from other manufacturers, I suggest posting for advice in the Beyond the Manual section of our community. Please note that the advice in this section is unsupported and is not reviewed by Glowforge.

 

Proofgrade Is Out Of Stock

Due to a combination of challenges with inventory due to COVID-19 and unprecedented demand, some materials are subject to stockouts from time to time. 

The Glowforge team works hard to replenish inventory quickly, but we don’t have any information about when materials will be available. You can sign up to be notified when we have them by clicking Email Me When Available on the page for a specific material at shop.glowforge.com.

In the meantime, if there’s a Joann or Michaels near you, they may have the Proofgrade™ materials you want in stock, and many locations are offering curbside pick-up.

In addition, your Glowforge can print on many materials, as long as the supplier can confirm for you that it is laser-compatible. We’ve heard of customers purchasing at Inventables, Johnson Plastics, TAP Plastics, Lowes, and Home Depot. Please confirm with the supplier you choose to ensure it’s laser-compatible, though, as we aren’t experts on other companies' products.

What's the difference between Hardwood and Plywood? 

The main difference between the two is that the hardwood is a solid piece of wood, while the plywood has a layer of wood over a plywood core. 

When you engrave hardwood, you will reveal the grain structure all the way through. With plywood, you reveal the core which doesn't have the same grain structure. 

Mechanically the plywood can be more consistent and is less prone to a natural warp than hardwoods. 

Can you take the masking off before printing?

Proofgrade™ materials are covered with protective masking that guards your materials through the printing process to keep them pristine. When the print is done, it peels off to reveal your finished masterpiece. It’s fine to peel the masking off before printing—some of the creators in our community really like the aesthetic produced by the light scorch marks left by the laser.

How do I get the masking off intricate cuts?

When your design includes tiny, intricate cut patterns, it can be time-consuming to peel off the masking. Some Glowforge owners have used various adhesive or gripping tools to assist with this task.

Can I Stack My Materials? 

Unfortunately, the manual recommends against stacking material. If you do, it could cause the material to catch fire, or material could be knocked free and interfere with the proper operation of your Glowforge. For that reason, it's recommended to only cut one sheet of material at a time.

 

My Proofgrade Did Not Cut Through

See this support article for more information on that. 

 

My Proofgrade Is Warped

When natural products like hardwoods and plywoods are exposed to temperature and humidity changes, they change shape. This is known as “warp.” It is especially common after shipping or during the Glowforge printing process. In both cases, the warp will diminish with time. However, improper storage can cause permanent warping. Your Glowforge can print beautifully on materials with some warp, but here are some tips to reduce it.

  1. Give your materials time to flatten
    • Humidity and heat from shipping and printing may cause your materials to temporarily warp. If this occurs, unwrap them and store them, per the instructions below. They will relax, and their warp will lessen over the course of about a week.
  2. Store your material carefully
    • Upon arrival, immediately store your materials in a cool, shaded, dry place
    • Stack materials on a clean surface. Stacking warped material on top of other warped material can make the problem worse.
    • To prevent discoloration or damage, keep them out of direct sunlight
    • If your materials need to be stored in a humid area, wrap them with plastic wrap or shrink-wrap to keep moisture out
  3. Set heavy objects on top of your material
    • To ensure your materials stay flat, stack heavy objects on top of your materials
    • Distribute weight evenly on top of the material. If possible, use a flat object like a textbook.

 If your material is so warped that it cannot print successfully and these suggestions don’t help, please email Glowforge Support and let us know.

 

Questions About Non-Proofgrade Materials

Please see our Non-Proofgrade™ Materials FAQ page. 

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