Glowforge’s new entry
By Emma Roth, a news writer who covers the streaming wars, consumer tech, crypto, social media, and much more. Previously, she was a writer and editor at MUO.
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Glowforge, the company that makes desktop laser cutters for a whole range of crafting projects, has revealed a new entry-level machine that’s a little less pricey than its premium counterparts. Priced at $1,199, the Glowforge Aura lets you cut and engrave various materials across a compact 12-inch workspace.
The Glowforge Aura comes equipped with a six-watt laser that can carve up hundreds of different materials, including fabric, leather, paper, acrylic, rubber, cardstock, paper, glass, coated metal, marble, and even chocolate. That opens up a vast number of potential crafting projects, which range from keychains and decorative signs to nightlight covers, jewelry, and a whole lot more.
If you don’t want to pay for a readymade project from Glowforge’s catalog, you can create your own by dragging and dropping a design from Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, or another app into Glowforge’s web-based printing software. Like Glowforge’s other laser cutters, you can also use the Aura with the company’s own AI-powered design software, called Magic Canvas. This software is built atop the text-to-image model Stable Diffusion, which lets you generate designs using just a description.
The Aura also comes equipped with a camera that faces toward the material placed inside the machine. You can see the live feed through Glowforge’s printing software, allowing you to ensure your material is positioned properly before you start cutting or engraving. While Glowforge offers its own material for sale on its site, you can also use your own. However, some materials aren’t safe to use with the cutter’s diode laser — as Glowforge warns, using the wrong materials can “damage your Glowforge” or cause “harm to you or others.”
Speaking of safety, the Aura comes with an exhaust hose that you’ll have to put through a window for ventilation. There’s also the option of purchasing Glowforge’s personal filter, which connects to the Aura and filters out particles without the need for a window, but that costs an extra $399.
Although the Glowforge Aura is nowhere near cheap, it still costs far less than Glowforge’s $6,995 Pro and $4,995 Plus machines. As you might’ve imagined, that lower price comes with some drawbacks when compared to the Pro and Plus models.
With the Glowforge Aura, you can only cut materials that are up to 12 inches wide and one-fourth of an inch tall. That’s a downgrade from the 20-inch width and two-inch height limits offered by the Glowforge Pro and Plus. Additionally, the Aura’s six-watt laser is less powerful than the 45-watt and 40-watt lasers that come on the Pro and Plus models. That means it takes longer for the Aura to cut through certain materials.
Even with these drawbacks, the Aura’s slightly less expensive price tag could make the cutter ideal for Etsy crafters, or for anyone who just wants to make trinkets for fun. Stay tuned for our upcoming review of the device, where we’ll be able to put the Glowforge Aura to the test.
Correction July 27th, 9:38AM ET: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated the Aura uses a CO2 laser when it uses a diode laser. We regret the error.
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