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When it comes to desktop laser machines for crafting, Glowforge is one of the best options in the industry! And now, they’ve launched a brand new machine – the Glowforge Aura! 

I am beyond excited because Glowforge gave me the opportunity to test this desktop laser machine out for the first time before it officially launches! 

glowforge aura with the lid up

So, today, I am spilling all the tea!

I want to answer your burning questions about this new desktop laser machine from Glowforge. 

  • How is it different from their other machines?
  • Is it easy to craft? 
  • What materials can you use with it?

I am answering all of this and more in this blog post. So, let’s get into my review of the Glowforge Aura! 

top view of the glowforge aura craft cutter with Proofgrade materials sitting on top

What Is The Glowforge Aura?

The Glowforge Aura is the first-ever craft laser from the company Glowforge! 

Okay, cool. But what exactly does that mean? 

It means that for the first time, you can cut materials that your Cricut or Silhouette machines can’t handle. (And without the hefty price tag of other laser machines on the market!)  

Lasers are far more powerful than blades, which is why so many crafters turn to those massive desktop laser cutting and engraving machines. They make it possible to work with different materials or bigger projects. 

But the cost of those machines is ridiculous! 

I know thousands of crafters who do this as a hobby and would never be able to dish out multiple thousand dollars for a laser machine. 

Until now…

Glowforge has been listening, and they have delivered with the Glowforge Aura! 

Unboxing The Glowforge Aura

Unboxing the Glowforge Aura was a great experience! Not only did it come in a thick, padded box, but it was also strategically wrapped, so unboxing it was easy.

I had my Glowforge Aura out of the box in less than 5 minutes! 

Now, in all honesty, unboxing it took me longer than it needed to because I was in awe of how pretty this machine looked in the box! So you could probably have it out faster. But you get my point! 

My First Impressions

My first impressions were just wow. The Aura is so sleek and modern. And I love the orange color! 

I genuinely think the machine will look fantastic in any craft room! 

I also want to mention how practical the design of the Glowforge Aura is. 

The size and form make it possible to have it on your craft tabletop or storage shelves without taking up too much space. 

The weight is also great for any crafters who don’t have a dedicated craft room but still want to get themselves a laser machine! 

You’ve also got easy access to all the compartments needed. 

Setting Up The Glowforge Aura

Setting up my Aura machine was also a cinch! 

Glowforge has created a browser-based app to help you get this thing up and running in record time. 

I had my first cutout in no time.

The software was really intuitive, which I appreciated. Nothing frustrates me more than battling tech gremlins when I am in a creative mood. 

You honestly don’t have to worry about that with this machine! 

The Glowforge Aura Approved Materials

Great news; you can work with plenty of materials with the Glowforge Aura. 

Approved Materials List 

The Glowforge Aura can cut materials up to ¼” thick and engrave even thicker ones! Here is what is on the approved materials list. You can also use any laser-safe material up to that thickness that will fit in the Aura!

There are so many different materials that you can use, here are some ideas of things you can use with your Aura.

  • Wood products like hardwoods, plywood, and cork
  • Natural fabrics including cotton, denim, silk, and wool
  • Polyester and nylon
  • Natural leather
  • Vegan leather made from apple, mushroom, polyurethane, and pineapple
  • Paper products like copy paper, cardstock, and cardboard
  • Anodized aluminum, titanium, and some stainless steel
  • Acrylic, silicone, and delrin
  • Stone products like slate, ceramic, brick, tile, and marble
  • Natural products including shell, bone, bamboo, and leaves
  • Natural rubber
  • Foam made from polyester, polyethylene, and polyurethane
  • Food products like chocolate, tortillas, cookies, and steak
  • Thin Acrylic – Opaque Colored Acrylics Only (avoid clear or translucent variations)
  • Iron On – Laser Safe or Laser Ready
  • Peek and Stick – Laser Safe or Laser Ready
  • Thin Natural Leather – Laser Safe or Laser Ready
  • Light Plywood – Walnut, Cherry, Maple, etc. 

There are even more than what’s on this list and you have Glowforges Proofgrade materials as well. But, you ALWAYS want to check with the manufacturer of the material to make sure that it is laser safe before using it with any laser cutter.

Just an example, plywood is a very popular thing to cut with lasers. But there are some that contain glues that are very toxic and should never be cut by a laser.

See the user manual for more details on safety information.

Materials To Avoid

With that said, there are a few materials you should not use with your Glowforge Aura machine to avoid damaging it. Here is that list from Glowforge’s website. 

  • Clear or Translucent Acrylic
  • Chromium-Based Materials
  • Carbon-Based Materials
  • PTFE/Teflon-Based Materials
  • PVC-Based Materials
  • PVB-Based Materials
  • Beryllium Oxide

Proofgrade Materials

Whether you’re a complete beginner or don’t want to source the materials, you’ll be pleased to know you can purchase a Proofgrade material kit from Glowforge instead. 

But wait, what does that mean?

It means Glowforge offers materials with smart-coded sheets that automatically adjust your Glowforge settings for quick set-up and the best possible results. 

How cool is that? 

Those smart-coded sheets mean you can craft with different materials and save yourself a lot of time. 

These materials are also lab-tested and made from high-quality materials to ensure you get the best possible project results. 

Here is a list of Proofgrade materials you can buy from Glowforge to use in the Glowforge Aura.

  • Acrylic 12 x 12 ECO in the following colors:
    • Black
    • Red
    • Green
    • Orange
    • Purple
    • Teal
  • Thin Natural Leather 12 x 12
  • Iron On 12 x 12 in the following colors:
    • Black
    • White
    • Mix Pack
    • Shimmer Pack
  • Wood 12 x 12 including:
    • Light Basswood Plywood
    • Light Walnut Plywood
    • Light Cherry Plywood
    • Light Maple Plywood
    • Walnut Veneer
    • Cherry Veneer
    • Maple Veneer
    • Medium Walnut Hardwood
    • Medium Basswood Hardwood
close up of the top of of the glowforge aura craft cutter with Proofgrade materials sitting on top

Standout Features Of The Glowforge Aura

That’s quite an impressive list of materials, am I right? 

Well, that’s not all that is impressive about the Glowforge Aura. There are also built-in features that I have to mention!  

As someone who has used high-end laser machines, I was impressed that they could include these features in this machine. 

glowforge aura and the personal air filter sitting next to it connected to the hose


First and foremost is the improved ventilation technology they have! 

One thing I dislike about using high-end laser machines is the need for a window vent for the smoke. It makes it challenging to craft in different areas of my home when needed. 

While you certainly can vent outside through a window (they’ve even included a hose for you to do this,) you don’t actually have to! 

Glowforge has created what they call the Glowforge Personal Filter. All you have to do is attach the filter to your machine, eliminating the need for window ventilation entirely. 

How incredible is that!? 

Now you can craft in any room of your home without worrying about ventilation. 

If you want to know the more technical details of the Personal Filter, it’s a dual HEPA-grade and activated carbon gas filter designed for maximum air purification. And you can buy replaceable cartridges suitable for up to 100 hours of printing. 

Aura Vision

With a laser machine, seeing what is happening inside makes it possible to cut and engrave with high accuracy and detail. 

Now, you would expect an onboard camera in a high-end machine to do this. But it’s not normal to see cameras in affordable laser machines.

That was until now! 

Yes, the Glowforge Aura comes with a built-in 8-megapixel camera, which makes it possible to cut intricate details precisely. And the good news is that it works really well.  

I used it when making these little milk crates, and I was impressed with how well it worked! 

Fewer Tools Required

You can also look forward to skipping the weeding, the need for sticky mats, and the constant blade replacements because the Glowforge Aura doesn’t need any of these things, unlike a cutting machine. 

On my test, all I had to do was lift the cutout, and all the additional pieces fell away. It was incredible! 

This features saves me so much time and frustration when I’m crafting! 

Doing My First Project With The Glowforge Aura

I was really excited to make my first project, and thankfully, it was super simple. I used a design from the app and proof-grade materials from Glowforge. 

As someone with two other large lasers, I was so excited when putting the material in the machine, and it read the QR code. And then it showed me on the machine what the material was!

This feature takes the guesswork and trial and error out of the cut settings you usually have using a laser cutting machine.

Who Is The Glowforge Aura For?

So, who is the Glowforge actually for? 

Basically, it’s for any crafter who:

  • Doesn’t necessarily need the full power of a high-end laser machine. 
  • Wants a laser machine, but is also on a budget. 
  • Wants a smaller profile machine so they can work in any room at home.

Additionally, it’s also great for anyone who owns their own small business and wants to create with more precision and detailed product quality control. 

While high-end laser machines are great for many business owners, it is overkill for many hobby crafters. 

This machine fills the gap, making it possible for beginner, intermediate, and experienced crafters alike to use a laser machine. 

top of of the glowforge aura laser cutter with Proofgrade materials sitting on the side

Final Thoughts On The Glowforge Aura

I know this might sound silly, but this machine is so much fun! 

Being able to craft with different materials opens up a whole new world. You can try new crafts and techniques and enhance your creativity overall! 

And it’s got everything you need to create freely, like; 

  • An easy-to-use interface. 
  • Tools to enhance your creative skills. 
  • Essential features to make high-quality cuts and engravings. 

So, if you want to learn more about the Glowforge Aura, go here! 

Also, want to see how the Glowforge Aura stacks up against the Glowforge Pro machine? Check out my comparison guide here!

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