So I bought a laser cutter

Hi… Long time user and Monome 128 owner here, just re registered on the new forum… :slight_smile:

I realize this post may border on marketing spam, it is not my intention to spam but please remove if deemed inappropriate…

I am posting this because I have pre ordered a very slick laser cutter engraver from the folks at Glowforge
and they have a clever marketing campaign that gives both myself and anyone who orders through my referral link $100 US off their purchase.
I feel posting this here to be appropriate as this forum is frequented by many creative persons, some of whom may be interested in the possibilities that this machine offers at this price point.
From a gear related standpoint, amongst many other uses, I see this machine as being invaluable for designing custom enclosures for DIY synth projects etc, cutting and engraving face plates and or custom overlays for existing gear and such things as racks, risers and stands…

If anyone is interested in researching this further, there is lots of great open discussion at
If anyone is seriously considering a purchase, please use my referral link and save us both 100 bucks :slight_smile:

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I’d be interested in hearing your experiences with the glow forge. We were looking at possibly acquiring one but the fact that you need to send your designs through their service before being able to cut them is a bit of a turn off.

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I find the laser cutter world bewildering. You can spend anywhere from $400 - $5000 on a 45W laser cutter. I realize there are differences, but it’s so difficult to gain enough experience to appreciate the value of those differences.

But I’ve wanted to own one for many years now…

I will be sure to check back in when i have received the unit and had some time with it it. That will probably be some time as the first units wont be shipping until December and i am as a rough estimate 800th in line.
About the cloud connectivity requirements, i agree it is a bit of a limitation, but in other aspects it opens up a lot of powerful options that essentially make the unit much easier and more versatile to use than a standard cutter in that peice range, as well as cuts production costs to provide the more advanced features that it does. However Dan @ glowforge has stated that the formware will be supplied as open source for peace of mind in case the cloud server ever goes away and for people who want to have a go at making it run standalone.

yeah i’ve been actively trying to find an excuse to justify buying this. (still haven’t found a good enough one). with regards to @jasonw22 's comment - does anyone here have strong opinions about this device compared to competitors? or know of an online resource that compares models? i am totally uncalibrated.

I will ask this in the glowforge forums for you. I have seen lots of points made in favor of this model but am a still bit too much of a laser cutter noob to personally give a clear concise fact based answer I can be certain of.

Here is a direct link to the discussion I started on the Glowforge forum :smile:

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Not to nag, but if anyone has been tempted by this, the pre order phase is over at 6pm PST Friday and then prices will be going up significantly. Also not sure if my referral link that saves us both $100 would work after then. You know you wanna cut your own custom enclosures!
Yup, this link…

Cheers, thanks for putting up with my umm, spam? and I look forward to seing what comes from some more of these being used within the monome community :)grin:

(fyi, I have had three purchases through my link for a savings of $300, thanks to whomever it was! smile )

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@gurulogic did you receive you unit yet? curious to hear how it’s working.

@tehn shipping of the first units doesn’t start until December, and the majority of these will likely be going to US makerspaces and heavy usage locations so Glowforge can be certain the bugs are ironed out before ramping up production and shipping worldwide. By my guess best based on statements from Glowforge and my spot in the queue, I will hopefully have mine by late winter/early spring. I will be sure to provide some updates here as I see reports from production models and when I receive mine :slight_smile:

I’m considering a laser cutter purchase. Glowforge and Epilog Zing are currently at the top of my list. Would love to hear about experiences with either. I believe the biggest difference that I would feel on a daily basis may be speed.

I finally got the Glowforge after a couple of years of waiting. They have been struggling to complete it and ship, but units are starting to make it into the wild. At this point, they are trending ahead of their multi-reforcasted timeline.

Pretty impressive machine (I ordered the Pro variant). I’ve only done limited tests to date as I haven’t fully figured out my ventilation solution. External is a must; I’ve been trying using charcoal and HEPA filters while I mess around and it is grossly inadequate.

Cloud software is still in its infancy - but it is fine for setting up the job and positioning your design. I’ve also experimented with the camera’s tracing ability. That is pretty cool.

For this test, I made a quick doodle on the paper backing for one of the “Proofgrade” materials that the GF ships with. Then, I selected a puzzle design in the web tool and scaled it over my doodle. The results were pretty impressive and fast. Doddle to completed product was less than 15 minutes.

End result with the backing removed:

Again - haven’t really put it through its paces yet. I’ll share more as I learn about its capabilities. That is, once the hose is properly filtered and then ventilated outside.


We’ve made plans to do some engraving at a local maker space on Wednesday afternoon. Big high power yet low cost Chinese laser. Can’t do dithered or multi-power engraving so it’s a single shade palette. Limits the types of artwork we can engrave. But those machines are so much cheaper, tempting to start there. We are thinking of it as a potential basis for a business, so lots of scenario discussion is happening as we investigate the possibilities.

I’m getting the vibe from their forum that the GF is not necessarily a substitute for a commercial unit if you are planning to base a business around it.

And, yes, it was pricy - but I’ve found the quality of the device to be stunning for a first-generation, crowdfunded release. It certainly seems more consumer-friendly than the other laser cutters that I researched before taking the plunge.

It is perfect for my dreams of making my own currency:



How big is the bed of the laser cutter? Also do you have to set up files for the materials on your own or are there preset material settings?

Having experience of a few cheap/large Chinese lasercutters; they vary a lot. The software varies from dreadful to just-about-bearable. The hardware isn’t that bad, but it often feels like a variety of modules rammed together in a case. And spares can take a while to get hold of.

But they require maintenance and looking after: you need to keep that lens clean and the thing well-ventilated, and repairs in the co-working space I’ve been in have taken it out of action for a while. These are still fairly industrial machines, and I’ll admit, the attractive thing about (eg) an Epilog is that service contract: readily available spares and repairs in territory. Of course, an (eg) Epilog is very expensive compared to the cheaper ones, though. But finding one with good service and readily available spares feels important to me; if you have a relatively local cutter importer/sales place, that can help a lot.

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This is also true of an Epilog.

Yes, absolutely!

There are such folks over the hill (about an hour away) so, yes, when we’re ready to buy we’ll likely take advantage of that.

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Details are at

The Glowforge’s bed size is 11.5” x 20”; though the pro is 20” by ∞ using a passthrough.

Material settings are done in the control UI. It recognizes material sold by Glowforge (their Proofgrade matrials) and automatically sets up the appropriate configuration. You also have full manual control - which is needed for your own materials.

There is also a camera that can recognize depth and surface deformation. It is also super-handy for positioning cuts on your material - the UI let’s you visualize them on an image of your material.