April 2020 Update

A week ago, I sent you some thoughts from our company - our past, our future, and how we all depend on you. This week, I come to you with an April update that is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by our team here. We’ve got a lot to announce, so I’m going to summarize the big pieces of news up top.

  1. We’ve launched MakeCovidStop.org to help connect hospitals with people who can fabricate emergency medical equipment. Dr. Therese Seldon, our COVID-19 response coordinator, is organizing the effort. Sign up now to help fight the pandemic!
  2. We’re renaming our free software service to “Glowforge Print”. You get a free membership to Glowforge Print for life. It includes all the features of our current software. In short, it’s everything you need to print on your Glowforge, forever.
  3. We’re announcing a bunch of free new features that are rolling out soon for Glowforge Print. That includes the precision positioning bar, dashboard improvements, a revamped visual design, and Pro Passthrough software for pro owners.
  4. We’re also working on a Glowforge Premium, a paid upgrade to Glowforge Print. We’re starting a free trial of it today. It has new features, like powerful and fast design tools, that we think you’re going to love.
  5. The Glowforge Air Filter is now on sale for US delivery in the Glowforge shop.
  6. We’re sharing our plans for things to do with your Glowforge when you’re at home. Let’s have coffee this Sunday at 11am PT!

Let’s get started!

Glowforge Owners Respond to COVID-19 Disaster

Across the country, Glowforge owners are seeing a disaster unfold and wondering if there’s a way to use their skills and tools to help. We were wondering too, until creative people reached out to us with the answer: we all have factories, in our homes, that we can use to help provide life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) to our medical staff on the front lines.

The impact can be enormous. Prof Martin Culpepper at MIT worked in his garage with his daughter on his personal Glowforge to design a face shield. It’s now been validated by clinicians and will be entering mass production of millions of units per day on industrial equipment within weeks.

At the same time, individual heroes are using their home Glowforge printers to fabricate and donate PPE to locations like Kaiser Permanente in CA, the East St. Louis Fire Department in IL, and the Nevada COVID Task Force.

We were inspired by you. Together, we launched MakeCovidStop.org. There, you can find PPE designs you can print at home, medical institutions in need of help, and other ways you can collaborate to help lessen the impact of the pandemic. Our response is being organized by Dr. Therese Seldon, our COVID-19 response coordinator, chief of staff, and an infectious disease expert. We’re lucky to have her help.

Please join us at MakeCovidStop.org.

Introducing Glowforge Print and Glowforge Premium

We designed your Glowforge so that we can continue to make it better, months and years after your first Gift of Good Measure. We’ve already improved your camera’s accuracy, sped up your prints, improved your wifi connection, and much more. Today we want to give this living and breathing service a name: Glowforge Print. As an owner of a Glowforge Basic, Plus, or Pro, you have a free, lifetime membership to Glowforge Print. Best of all, Glowforge Print will keep getting better with new features - with a bunch of them rolling out today.

At the same time, we’ve started work on a new membership tier: Glowforge Premium. Glowforge Premium will offer a whole set of new features. These features cost more to develop and operate, so we’re building them as part of a new membership product.

We were planning on launching Glowforge Premium many months from now. It’s not ready yet. But we find ourselves using it constantly, now that we’re all stuck at home. It makes it so fast and easy to create meaningful designs, we didn’t want to make you wait for it.

So even though it’s still very early, we’re going to launch Glowforge Premium now, as a free trial, so you can use it to start creating things at home. We don’t have pricing or a launch date yet, but we will let you know how much it will cost at least a month before the free trial ends.

In short, Glowforge Print is everything you know and love about your Glowforge, for free, forever. Glowforge Premium will introduce some exciting new features, and you’ll be able to get a free sneak peek of it starting now.

Pro Passthrough Software Beta

The first and most exciting new feature of Glowforge Print is our Pro Passthrough software, available free for all Glowforge Pro owners. This software makes it easy to prepare enormous, furniture-sized prints for your Glowforge Pro. It automatically slices your design so you can create something enormous with a series of individual prints. Depending on your machine, it may even align each slice to the previous one automatically.

Because we’re enabling new software and hardware on a variety of printers, we’ll be performing this beta rollout slowly. We’ve mostly tested with new machines from the factory, so we’ll be doing a gradual rollout of older machines to test compatibility.

If you’d like to be one of the first to use the Pro Passthrough beta, go to this forum post for opt-in instructions. This is a beta release, so you may have prints that don’t complete as you expected. Then again, you may have prints that come out more spectacularly than you could ever imagine… like this one from @evansd2 (50 feet long, made on his Glowforge Pro).

Precision position

The next new free Glowforge Print feature is Precision Position. With the new toolbar, you can now move and resize your artwork precisely. When you select an object, the new Precision Position tool appears. With it, you can:

  • Change the X and Y positions to precisely move it
  • Set its W (width) or H (height) dimension to resize it
  • Use the tic-tac-toe box to control whether the changes are relative to the center, edge or corner of the selection
  • By default, your selection scales proportionately. Click the link icon to make it stretch instead.
  • Hold down the shift key when resizing to reverse the lock icon behavior.
  • Try entering 6mm + 0.008in, or 2*0.125in for some extra math fun!

Design library improvements

The last new Glowforge Print feature for this week is some UI improvements for your Design Library. Based on your request, we’ve simplified the way you create designs. From the dashboard, you can create a new blank design.

Also new, your preview thumbnails will now get refreshed when you open, edit, or print a design.

Finally, your designs are now sorted with the most recently opened print first, so you can more easily get back to the last file you’ve been working on.

Glowforge Premium

While Glowforge Print gives you all that you need to print anything on your Glowforge, Glowforge Premium gives you the superpower you need to print everything with boosted creativity and efficiency.

It’s still in beta, and we have a lot more features in the works, and we were not planning on releasing this for a while.

But, recently, we found ourselves using its features a lot - at home - to bring moments of delight to our families. Our kids, our housemates, and our partners were designing garden stakes for some springtime planting, a customized bird feeder, a cat tag for the sometimes outdoors cat, and a logo for the cookies company they’re planning to start - all designed in the app in minutes using Glowforge Premium features.

We realized there are a lot of others just like us who are homebound. All around the world, we are all looking for ways to create, learn and inspire right at home.

So even though it’s not fully ready yet, we want to bring this out to you. And while it’s in beta, enjoy it for free - it’s on us!

Here’s what we have to get started with:

Millions of commercially-licensed vector graphics. You get unlimited access to a searchable graphics content library. Millions of vector images are now available for you to use in your own creations, including a full commercial license for you to print and sell the designs you create. Search for nearly anything (Octopus? Rocketship? Sushi?) and have instantly printable artwork.

  • Text - You can now create text in the app, with over 900 fonts! Your text is vector artwork that can be directly printed (all fonts will work with engraves, some fonts will work better than others for cuts and scores). Of course, they work with our existing scale and stretch tools, and you can even continue to edit the text after you modify it. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Sirin Stencil, set to cut, for stencil text with a distinctive look

Bilbo Swash Caps, set to HD Engrave, for flowing engravings on fancy invitations

Open Sans 700, set to draft stroke, for fast and legible text

  • Create outline - Create a flowing cutline around your design with just one click. Select a collection of bitmaps (it’ll ignore the white), SVGs, text, shapes, or anything else - then click. Drag the slider for a wider or narrower space between the line and your art. You’ll create beautiful jewelry like this in just minutes.

  • Shapes - We’ve added circles, squares, and lines to help you start composing in your workspace. Of course, with stretching as a new option (by holding down shift when you resize, or using the Precision Positioning bar), these become ovals and rectangles too!

Worldwide Laser Thursday (Laser Optional)

From the early days of Glowforge, when we had our first working units in the office, we had a tradition of Laser Thursdays – an event where everyone that works at the company can spend an evening sharing a meal, getting to know each other’s families, making prints, and learning from each other.

It is a tradition that we’ve come to cherish as a chance to relax, create, celebrate, and understand our product better so we can make it better for all of you. So when COVID-19 came along and sent us all to work from home, we knew we had to find a way to keep the Laser Thursday spirit alive.

And then we realized… many of you are stuck at home as well. It is so important that we all find ways to connect during this challenging time. So we’d like to extend an invitation for you to join us on Thursday, April 9th, for the first-ever Worldwide Laser Thursday. We’d like to use that time to create something to say thank you to all of the brave folks that are still working so the rest of us can stay home and stay safe – the medical personnel, first responders, delivery drivers, food workers and so many more.

We want to include everyone in the opportunity to create together, and to express gratitude, so you don’t even have to be a Glowforge owner to participate! Watch the forum tomorrow for the free Worldwide Laser Thursday design and learn how to get involved.

The Glowforge Air Filter is available in the shop for US delivery

If you’re venting to the outdoors and want a filter instead, customers in the US can now purchase the Glowforge Air Filter here! We’re continuing to work to make the shop and Glowforge Air Filter available in additional countries.

We’ve also finished notifying air filter pre-order customers around the world that their filters are available. If you pre-ordered an air filter and do not have it yet:

  1. If you are waiting for both your Glowforge printer and your Air Filter, go to https://glowforge.com/shipping to confirm your shipment.
  2. If you have your Glowforge and are only waiting for your Air Filter, check your spam folder for an email from Glowforge. If you don’t see it, write to support@glowforge.com and we’ll help you out!

You can read more in the air filter update topic and the international shipping update topic.

What should we do while we #StayAtHome?

It’s hard on everyone to be trapped inside, but it’s a lot easier with a way to create things for yourself and your loved ones. Here’s some of what our team has been doing lately.

  • Print stuff from Free Laser Designs and tag it with #glowforge to be showered with affection from fellow Glowforge owners
  • Create new designs with millions of icons and hundreds of fonts using the new design tools. Set up an Etsy account, list what you create, and supplement your income.
  • Interior redecorating with your Glowforge!
  • If all else fails… I made ShapiroSchool.org with my brother as a fun way to learn about the news (from the host of NPR’s All Things Considered), space archaeology (from someone who locates and excavates Egyptian tombs), music (from a Grammy-award nominated opera singer), and much more to come.

These are strange, strange times. I did not think I was going to become a manufacturer of life-saving equipment, nor that I was going to be thanking tens of thousands of people for my privilege to become that. But together that’s what we’ve made possible.

One last thing. Two weeks ago, I opened up a Zoom meeting to just hang out and have coffee with everyone. It was wonderful, but too small. We hit 100 participants five minutes in. I’m sorry!

I just sent Zoom a bunch of money so I could have coffee with even more of you. This Sunday at 11am Pacific Time, I’m going to be at my desk, probably with @bailey at hers, having a cup of coffee and chatting about Glowforge stuff with you. It would mean a lot to me if you could join us.

Here’s what you need:

When: Apr 5, 2020 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Please click the link below to join:

Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13462487799,201033624# or +16699006833,201033624#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 929 436 2866
Webinar ID: 201 033 624
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/atlKVjm1e

Thank you for everything. I’ll see you Sunday.


PS: You can find discussion of this update here!