Can You Make Money With a Glowforge Laser?


Guides, Laser Engravers, Laser Guides

Can You Make Money With a Glowforge Laser Printer

At CNCSourced, we’re a team from across the world, united by our passion for everything CNC, laser cutting, and more! We try to publish at least once per week, and we’re always up for talking anything DIY and making! Altogether we’ve written over 150 technical guides, from how to wire stepper motors, to brand-new ways to CNC carve granite with $5. You can read more about us on our about page.

If you’ve just purchased a Glowforge laser cutter, you’re probably thinking about all of the amazing things you can create! Whether you’ve picked the Glowforge Basic, Plus, or Pro, all are capable of cutting and engraving intricate (and profitable) crafts.

Once you properly learn to use your Glowforge laser cutter, you can start making money!

In this blog, I’ll tell you exactly what you can do with a Glowforge to create a successful Glowforge business, so that your best-selling ideas can come to life!

How To Start a Business With a Glowforge Printer

First of all, can you even start a business with a Glowforge?

Yes! Buying a Glowforge laser cutter is an excellent opportunity to start a business. Once you are proficient at creating designs and you know what types of products you’d like laser cut and engrave your designs on, you can start selling and making money.

There are many great money-making ideas you can implement with your Glowforge laser cutter, but these are some of our favorites:

1. Start a personalized laser cutting and engraving service

Offering customers the opportunity to create their own designs is a great way to make money with a laser cutter. Either your customers can provide the item they want you to engrave on, like a cutting board, along with the design, or you can offer your own materials and products for them to engrave their designs on. 

You can then recreate the design in Adobe Illustrator or any other SVG software and laser engrave it onto the item. This is quite a quick and easy way to make money with your Glowforge laser cutter, as if you’re engraving their supplied materials, you don’t even need to purchase any inventory.

Laser cutters can also operate a lot faster than people with traditional engraving tools, and the engravings will also often be a lot more accurate. So, if no one in your area uses a Glowforge to make engravings, you’re in luck!

But you can only offer engraving services on flat sheet material, since Glowforge lasers are not compatible with tall or cylindrical materials. You can’t use any Glowforges with rotaries for engraving beakers, mugs, glasses, or anything else. If this is important to you, I recommend you read my article on the best Glowforge alternatives.

2. Create designs and products of your own

Glowforge laser cutters can cut through wood, leather, fabric, and many more materials, and they can also engrave on glass and various metals. This gives you the freedom to create almost any kind of product you can think of.

You could make leather bracelets, wooden ornaments, or even pieces of glass with special designs engraved on them. The business opportunities available to you with a Glowforge laser cutter are endless, so you should try to take on as many as you can manage.

Leather bracelets made with Glowforge
Source: Glowforge

But, if you need some more inspiration to come up with project ideas, we have also created an article of the best Glowforge projects you can make.

3. Sell digital design files

Once you get really good at making laser designs in Adobe Illustrator (or Inkscape, or any other software), you can start selling some of your designs for commercial and personal use. You can sell your own original designs that you’ve made on an online shop like Etsy, or you can offer to create custom design files for your clients.

This money-making method won’t require you to buy materials, as you will only be making use of your design skills. 

You may be thinking that this idea doesn’t even require you to have a laser. You’re right. But, having a laser helps you understand your customers’ needs. And plus, you can show samples of your designs if you laser engrave them on wood or other materials you have in your workshop.

4. Teach Glowforge workshops

Once you’re a Glowforge laser cutter master, you can make money with your Glowforge by teaching others your craft. 

Glowforge laser cutters are easy to use, but hard to master. So, find people willing to pay to learn how to use their new Glowforge 3D laser printer properly.

Understanding Copyright Laws

Copyright Laws

Before you start trying to make money with your Glowforge, you’ll need to be aware of copyright and licensing laws. Otherwise, you’ll end up in hot water when you try to sell products.

Copyright Laws

Unfortunately, you cannot grab any random picture from the internet and turn it into a design file. You will more than likely end up infringing on some copyright laws, which could lead to legal trouble.

If you choose to buy a design from an online shop, you must also check if it is for personal or commercial use. If a design file you purchase states it is for personal use only, then you cannot sell products using the design. To do this, you will need a commercial license, and some design file stores do offer this.

If you create your own designs and want to be protected, you don’t need to do all that much. The copyright laws attached to graphic designs state that for a design to have copyright protection, it must be an original work created by a human author.

So, ironically, if you’re using brand-new AI image generators like Midjourney or DALL-E to create designs, they’re uncopyrightable, as only humans can create protected intellectual property!

Your copyright protection exists from the moment you create your design, but you can also register your design with the US copyright office. This will make it much easier to take legal action if someone uses your design unlawfully.


If you want to protect any logos or product designs you create with your Glowforge business, you’ll need to register a trademark. There are some rules and regulations surrounding trademarks, and you’ll need to meet certain criteria to file one.

Firstly, you can only file a trademark if your design is unique enough. If your design does not meet the USPTO standards for uniqueness, you will not be able to trademark it. You will also not be able to trademark your design if it is too similar to another design that has already been trademarked.

A trademark, unlike copyright protection, needs to be registered in order for it to become active. To do this, you will need to create a trademark application with an image of your design and then submit it along with $275 to the USPTO.

Unfortunately, the registration process can take a few months to go through, so you’ll need to be patient.

Licensed Images and Fonts

You should always steer clear of licensed images and fonts unless you have to pay to use them for commercial purposes or personal use.

Designs depicting characters from famous movies should always be avoided. It will generally be difficult to get a commercial license for these designs, and it will probably cost a fortune to purchase one.

Most commercial use licenses do not allow you to alter the designs you purchase. You could end up in legal trouble if you try to sell items depicting altered designs when the license explicitly tells you not to.

Tips For Starting Your Business With Your Glowforge

Tips for starting your business with your Glowforge

Once you’re clued up on copyright laws and the types of designs you can create with your Glowforge laser cutter, you’re ready to start your business and make money.

Below, we have listed some tips to help you along the way.

1. Decide on a niche

Before you create your Glowforge business, you will need to decide what products and services you are going to offer, and whether there is a demand for them in that niche.

Try to choose a niche that you are passionate about. It’ll be so much easier for you to come up with ideas and create designs for a niche that you love! 

Once you’ve found a great niche you’re passionate about, you need to identify problems in this niche that your designs solve.

If you are able to fulfill a need or want that no other business in your area or niche can, then your business will automatically become the first choice. However, it will be much more difficult to break into a crowded niche unless there is significant demand for it, so you should choose carefully.

2. Research the market

Market research is extremely important for deciding what laser cut products you should make. It’ll also help you figure out who you are trying to sell your products to, and how to make them as desirable as possible to your audience.

One of the best ways is to research what’s popular. Go to local meetups for your niche, and check the forums online, Etsy stores that exist in your niche, and think about new angles or products that don’t yet exist.

Noticing a gap in the market is not enough, though. Also try to speak with people in your target market. You can do this in person, or join Facebook groups and other communities your audience hangs out in, and ask questions.

You should also compare your Glowforge designs with your competitors. If your competitors are struggling to sell similar products and services, then avoid – but if they’re racking up Etsy reviews then it’s probably popular. 

My internal data from my stores shows that for every 1 Etsy review, there are around 14 sales, so if you see 10 reviews on a product, it’s made 100-150 sales.

3. Establishing your business

Unfortunately, there is a lot more to starting a business than just creating products or offering services and selling them. 

Business plan

Start by creating a business plan. Your business plan will act as a roadmap for your business, and helps form your goals and targets. 

Though, if your business plan is literally just using your Glowforge to create products, it doesn’t need to be a traditional business plan.

In this case, a leaner business plan outlining the most important aspects of your business, any marketing costs to make money from your Glowforge (such as Etsy ads), estimated material costs (per sheet of acrylic or wood, or per item), profit margins, projected sales, etc, will be fine for most small businesses.

Business structure

The business structure you choose will have a large bearing on how much tax you pay, and whether you can hire other employees to help you out.

The easiest business structure to choose is a sole proprietorship. Unfortunately, there is no separation between you and your business in a sole proprietorship, so if you lose lots of money, or get sued, your personal assets are at risk. 

While it is possible to have employees in a sole proprietorship, you will be legally liable for their actions.

The best business structure to choose would be a limited liability company (LLC) in the US. This structure separates you from your business legally, so your personal assets won’t be at risk. In the UK, it’s called a Limited Company (LTD).

Final steps

The last few things you need to do to establish your business are creating a business bank account, obtaining a tax identification number, and setting up a website.

You can start with obtaining your employer identification number, which you can receive in minutes if you apply on the IRS website. You can then open your business bank account with this number. Once your business bank account is set up, you can start trading.

This is why you should open a website for your business detailing the products you sell, your location, and the contact details of your business.

Or, if you don’t your own site yet, you can start up on Etsy or other stores like eBay. These platforms have traction and users, so you’ll start getting your first sales trickle in faster here than on our own site. But, they take a fee, and you don’t own your audience.

For example, when a customer buys a product on your online store, you have their email to try to get future sales from, or build the relationship over time to upsell similar products. On Etsy you don’t have access to the same information, and they can take your store away from you at any point. There’s pros and cons.

4. Network

One idea is to follow home decor and art pages on social media and present samples of your work. You can then mention your website and Instagram page. Also, be sure to mention you offer laser services.

Another possibility is to contact local businesses and offer them laser services to reinforce their brand name. For example, workshops can benefit from offering engraved pens to attendees.

Though, Glowforges aren’t ideal for pens as they don’t engrave rounded objects as well without a rotary. Instead, if you want to engrave rounded materials, I recommend you read my article on the best lasers with rotary attachments.

5. Sourcing of materials

To create your products, you will need the materials, and if you want to produce quality products, you’ll need quality materials. While cheaper products will increase your profit margin, it won’t help if customers aren’t buying your products due to their quality.

You can purchase materials that will work with your Glowforge laser cutter from the Glowforge materials shop. Glowforge offer their own premium Proofgrade materials that automatically adjust so you have the perfect laser settings.

This saves you time, and assures you of a quality engraving or laser cut, but they’re more expensive than sourcing your materials elsewhere. Glowforge offers materials like leather, various types of wood, and some acrylic options.

If you don’t want to purchase from Glowforge or if one of their products is out of stock, there are still some options available to you. You can find a list of alternative suppliers on the Glowforge community page.

However, remember that if your Glowforge breaks while laser cutting third-party materials, your warranty is voided. Your warranty is not voided by the act of using them (you’re allowed to use whatever you want), but if these materials cause your Glowforge to become faulty, they will not fix it within warranty.

Where To Sell Your Products

Now that you know how to set your business up and what products you want to make, you’ll have to decide where you want to sell them.


When you’re just starting out, you should try to sell your products locally. To get people talking about your business, you should try hiring stalls at local craft fairs and markets. It will allow you to make some sales and get people in the crafts community to acknowledge your business.

Once word of mouth has spread, you can even begin selling products from your home if you don’t have all that many clients yet.

Etsy or eBay

If you want to sell your products to a wider audience as well, you should consider setting up an Etsy shop, or an eBay store. 

This will allow people to find and purchase your products seamlessly online. All you will need to do then is ship your products to your clients.

Your own online store

Some other great online storefront options include:

  • WooCommerce (on WordPress)
  • SquareSpace
  • Shopify
  • Amazon Handmade Seller Marketplace

I personally use WordPress for all my sites (including the CNCSourced blog, where I’m typing this now), but if you’re new, I recommend Shopify. 

It’s the easiest to get set up on, and you can install Shopify apps to help manage your store. There are apps for inventory management, social media, pictures, and even for setting up an affiliate program so influencers can send customers to you and get paid a commission of any sales.

Social media

Another great way to connect with like-minded people and find clients is to sell your products on social media. There are a number of Facebook groups dedicated to selling handmade goods, so you’ll be sure to find some customers there.

You can also sell your products directly through Facebook Marketplace while selling on these groups, as you will increase your reach this way.

Instagram also has a dedicated marketplace these days, and it is another great place to sell goods you make with your Glowforge.


How much do Glowforge laser cutters cost?

Glowforge offers three different laser cutters. The cheapest model is the Glowforge Basic, which costs $3,995. The mid-range model is called the Glowforge Plus, which costs $4,995. Finally, the top-of-the-range model, the Glowforge Pro, costs $6,995.

What software do you use to make Glowforge design files?

Most people use Adobe Illustrator to create design files for their Glowforge machine, but other software works just as well. These include:

Adobe Photoshop
Autodesk 360

Glowforge uses a browser-based software for laser projects that operates in the cloud. So, you can’t use it with typical laser engraving software tools like LightBurn or LaserGRBL.

Can a Glowforge laser cutter cut gold?

No. Glowforge laser cutters cannot cut through metal; they can only engrave it. However, Glowforge laser cutters do not work very well with soft metals, so you should avoid trying to engrave any precious metals with your laser cutter.

Final Thoughts

Glowforge laser cutters have become quite popular in recent years, but they are still very expensive. This means that a lot of people question “Is Glowforge worth it?” and do not have access to them, so there is still a lot of money to be made in the industry.

So, if you want to make money, create a business using your Glowforge and the tips we have mentioned above!